When discussing politics, far too many people seem to have the same misguided thought that the country should be run like a business. It was an idea that was particularly well heard this year as a charlatan who was supposedly the greatest businessman in America made his way to the White House. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, the fact remains that business and government shouldn’t be run in the same manner.
The function of government and business are far too different to logically believe that they should be the same. The function of a business, speaking in purely economical terms, is to maximize profits for shareholders. That’s great – for a business. Using this definition, the definition of a business is rather narrow and it exists for a sole purpose, which is to make money.
I know that there are certain business that, by virtue of their existence, provide necessary goods and services on which we all depend. No one would dare argue businesses that deal in healthcare, agriculture, and transportation all fill a vital role in our economy. Without them, none of us is able to go to the doctor, eat, or get to work. However, at the core of the business model is the profit motive. Without this motive, regardless of the good works the business creates in the society, the majority of businesses would shut down. They have to make money.
There’s nothing wrong with the profit motive. Regulated capitalism has had a positive impact on our society. However, it’s when the system lacks proper rules and regulations that the system runs amok. That’s a topic for a different day.
So, how is government different? If the key function of business is to maximize profit for shareholders, then the key function of government must be to ensure the best quality of livelihood for its people. This means that the government should strive to create a system of fair and just laws, a safety net for its most vulnerable citizens, provide education for the nations students, and a perform a plethora of other activities necessary to the sound functioning of society.
What would happen if the profit motive were introduced into a system of government? Imagine that some person or group had a financial stake in any of the functions of government just mentioned? No one is to say for sure, however it is certain that the core function of government would be undermined.
I’m not arguing that no person ever has made personal financial gain from being related to government. However, it shouldn’t happen. Recently, we’re seeing it more and more. With Trump in the White House, we’re beginning to get just a taste of what happens when the government is treated like a business and of what happens when personal business enters government. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t happen. However, our world is far from perfect. All we can do is make our voices heard and fight for what we believe.