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Government as Business

The idea of having a businessman run government is an old one, but not a good one. This is because government and business are two separate and distinct entities. As taught in schools, government provides services to make society better. Business provides a service only to make a profit. Mixing the two will create a massive amount of problems.

Running government requires compromise and appealing to people with opposing points of view. Business as a form of government resembles a kingdom or dictatorship because whatever the boss wants is not to be challenged. Whoever signs the paycheck is infallible and no one will disagree if they know what is good for them. Government makes the rules of the game that government and business must abide by. Business seeks to manipulate the rules of the game to their advantage. Although business and government often overlap, clear lines must be drawn so society can thrive.

The Flint water crisis is a good example of when business takes over government. For the purpose of saving money, an entire city was poisoned and the people were not told that they were drinking poisoned water. Externalities far outstripped any possible savings by switching the water source. As is their wont, businesses seek to evade responsibility and thus far only myrmidons were punished, no one at the top. The people who made the decision that caused the problems are unlikely to be punished.

Giovanni Gentile wrote about the merger of corporate and state interest as a good thing. Due to profit motive, a business could complete projects faster and cheaper than government. However, the cost of taking short cuts could lead to lower quality work. Efficiency does not mean the work will be high quality or cost effective. Government, being focused on the public good is more likely to get the job done in a competent manner.

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