Why Don't We Manage Our Corporations
Like Our Governments?
Why don't we run our corporations, our government departments, our school systems, our charities, in the same way as we run our governments?
Why, in a large company, don't we force a separation of the management team on the basis of some ideology and let the two groups fight it out, with the winners taking control? Why don't we do that with our schools and hospitals?
The reason is that there is a purpose to all these things we do. Our schools are for educating our children, our hospitals for healing the sick. There is no room for ideology in these places; there is a job to be done and a focus on ideology will serve only to distract us from our purpose.
Ideological rifts will color our actions, create irrelevant agendas, marginalise probably half of the most competent people. They will work directly against the work we must do.
It is the same with government departments and corporations. The tax department exists to administer legislation and collect taxes, not to promote ideological biases. An auto company exists to manufacture automobiles, to make profits and create jobs and economic growth in the process.
There is no room for distracting ideologies if they want to be successful. In fact, we can find many examples of companies that have failed precisely because they forgot their purpose and substituted ideology for rational thinking.
So what is it about government that makes it different? Surely a government has a purpose too - to run a country, to manage an economy, to create jobs, growth, safety and security, to manage a military, to conduct foreign affairs, to look after the population and do what is generally best for all.
The demands for world-class understanding and competence are far greater than with any corporation. Where is the room for ideology in this? Why is government a special case?
I can think of no reason. There is nothing about this that appears rational from any point of view. It is true that any population will have a wide range of views, reflecting the differences in people and personalities, but we have that equally in schools, hospitals, corporations and charities.
In each case, these other groups are able to absorb these variations and cooperate sufficiently well to function without the partisanship and infighting that is typical of politics.
I see nothing to justify such a great departure from rationality for the purpose of government.
These ideas are not new. They have been presented before, but the ideologues try to dismiss them by saying "A country is not a company" - as if that obvious truth somehow negated the illogic of their position.
They claim that the rules of business and government are entirely different, that in business you must prove yourself by delivering to customers and stake-holders, while in government the responsibility is to keep your supporters happy. Or some such nonsense.
That foolish saying has been around for a while and is simply a way of trying to pre-empt rational people from coming to the correct conclusion and realise that a state or country is not a daycare where you must treat the kiddies nicely, but is instead an enormous management task far beyond the demands of most corporations.
These detractors apparently want us to believe that a government needn't 'deliver' anything, but just make 'supporters' happy. And those supporters would be whom, exactly? The other party members, those who share the same ideology? Those who paid the money and bought the elections?
Well, schools and hospitals are different too, as are grocery chains, mining companies and manufacturers. Their business, their purpose, their 'stakeholders' are all very different, but they function very well without the imposition of an ideological framework. And there is no reason that government cannot do the same.
The benefits are not difficult to imagine.
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