Author Topic: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing  (Read 2388 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« on: August 13, 2011, 04:02:04 pm »
ADDICTINGINFO.COM:

9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
July 28, 2011
By Wendy Gittleson


A couple of weeks ago, someone sent me an email. The gist of it was that Walmart is a wildly successful company, so why donít we hire them to run the government? Really? Walmart? Then I thought about it for a while. That email represented a very commonly held idea in this country, that a successful business is superior to government. We elect business people to office on the idea that they will run the government in a more cost effective manner than someone without business experience.

Despite years as a public servant, Mitt Romney is running for President on his business credentials, hoping Republican voters forget about his relatively liberal voting record. Herman Cainís only claim to fame is as CEO of a pizza chain. George Bush touted business acumen, despite being a very bad business man. To many voters that didnít matter. To them, itís better to be a bad business man than a good politician.

Itís easy to see why this idea tempts so many. For 30 years, weíve been told that government is bad. Grover Norquist (father of the Republican ďNo New TaxesĒ pledge) famously said that we should reduce government to the size where it can fit in a bathtub so it can be drowned. The idea attracted a lot of people, especially after being told that government is bloated and stealing our hard earned money.

Whenever we turn on the TV, we hear one thing about the government. It is broke. We have an outrageous deficit and a huge debt. Wouldnít it make sense to hire elect someone who knows how to handle cash?

As tempting as it might be, the answer to that question ďNo.Ē

1.Companies are in business for one reason and one reason onlyÖto make money. They are not in business to serve their employees or even their customers. A corporation is legally obligated to put profit above all else. This philosophy typically boils down to making the cheapest product the market will allow (or offering the least amount of service) and selling it at the highest price the market will allow. Itís one thing if your cell phone has a built in life span of six months to two years. Itís quite another for the electrical power grid.
2.Businesses do not care about their customers. I know. That statement is a little cold. They spend billions in advertising convincing us that they care about us. They truly want us to have clean clothes. They want us to have a clean environment. They want your children to frolic in fields. They sell you that toy just so your child can see you as the hero you are. They want you to be happy. Actually, no where in the corporate charter does it talk about customer happiness or even customer satisfaction. Sure, if a competitor is making their customers happy, there might be some incentive to go in that direction, but ultimately, itís about the shareholders and only the shareholders. Itís easier and cheaper to improve the marketing than it is to improve the product or service. In other words, itís fine to sell defective products, as long as they can manipulate a certain percentage of the people into believing they are buying a good product at a good price, their shareholders are happy. If the marketing campaign is really good, they will convince their customers that product defects are normal (as with many electronics) and that they should pay to replace their defective product with the next generation of the very same defective product.
3.The government is not in the business of turning a profit. Letís use the post office as an example. Granted, the post office isnít doing that great right now, but the reason for that is pretty simple. They arenít charging enough. But letís say they were doing well. Letís say they were profitable. Customers would be screaming. We would want that money back in the form of cheaper postage stamps. In fact, wasnít that the entire premise behind the Bush tax cuts? The government had a surplus of funds. Bush and the Republicans felt it should go back to the taxpayers.
4.The government is not in the business of creating demand. By and large, government services are services deemed necessary for our society to function. Businesses spring up every day by creating new demands for new products. Pharmaceutical companies invent illnesses. Clothing manufacturers convince us that we are somehow inferior if we are caught wearing last yearís styles. Governments pick up trash, teach children and put out fires. They have no incentive to have us create more trash, make dumber children or start fires. On the other hand, if those same services were run by business, the more trash they picked up, the more money they would earn. The more work they had to put into educating our children, the more money they would earn. The more fires they had to put out, the more money they would earn.
5.The cost cutting measures taken by businesses can backfire on the government. Since the age of free trade agreements, one of the most common cost cutting measures has been to outsource jobs. In fact, Mitt Romneyís company taught businesses how to save money by outsourcing. Personally, Iím a little uncomfortable with foreign nationals running the CIA. Say what you will about government employees, at least they pay American payroll taxes.
6.The government is directly accountable to us. Post-Citizens United, this might sound somewhat naive, but we do still hold elections and only the people are eligible to vote. A corporate CEO, on the other hand, is controlled by a small group of people known as the board of directors. If we, the customers, wish to fire our President or Congressperson, all we have to do is show up at the polls (something Americans are notoriously bad at). If we, the customers, wish to fire the CEO of a multinational corporation, well, good luck.
7.Business people tend to do a very bad job at governing. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney both came from business backgrounds. They left the country in the worst financial shape since the Great Depression. Mitt Romneyís Massachusetts was 47th out of the 50 states for job creation.
8.Business is by definition, amoral. Morality is not part of the corporate charter. The US Constitution is a moral (not to be confused with religious) document. It is a code of conduct for all government officials. It states that government officials must answer to We the People. If We the People donít like the Constitution, we can change it. Business people have no such codes of conduct, unless it is to instruct them to not embarrass the corporation and its board of directors. We the Customers have absolutely no input into any such code of conduct.
9.Finally, businesses can, and do do something that would be unacceptable for the US GovernmentÖthey go bankrupt.
In all fairness, government runs best when represented by a variety of backgrounds. Business people do have a place in government as do trash collectors, artists and even community organizers. It runs best with a variety of perspectives. It runs best when it is run by We the People.

Article Originally Published At; http://thepragmaticprogressive.org/wp/2011/07/20/why-business-people-are-terrible-at-governing/


Offline Battle

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 09:35:12 pm »
Quote
2.Businesses do not care about their customers. I know. That statement is a little cold. They spend billions in advertising convincing us that they care about us.




I agree with most of the article, however...
That sentence in bold is a contradiction;  Businesses actually spend billions in advertising trying to convince their potential customers that they posses something you lack  <thirsty, bored, hungry, tired, unattractive, hot, cold, stupid, ugly, etc.>.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 12:57:42 am »
Quote
2.Businesses do not care about their customers. I know. That statement is a little cold. They spend billions in advertising convincing us that they care about us.
I agree with most of the article, however...
That sentence in bold is a contradiction;  Businesses actually spend billions in advertising trying to convince their potential customers that they posses something you lack  <thirsty, bored, hungry, tired, unattractive, hot, cold, stupid, ugly, etc.>.
Maybe they both could be true? They convince you that they have something you need, but that you shouldn't go to someone else for it, because they care about you more.

"Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going."
-Harriet Tubman
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Offline Battle

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 01:31:08 am »
Maybe they both could be true? They convince you that they have something you need, but that you shouldn't go to someone else for it, because they care about you more.




Possibly... but I doubt it.

Let's use an example of the most recognizable [American] business that spends millions and millions in advertising because (by your definition) 'they convince you that they have something you need, but that you shouldn't go to someone else for it, because they care about you more':

The Coca-Cola company is betting on that if you are thirsty,  and you see the imagery of Coca-Cola enough times throughout the day, week, and month that you would choose to buy Coca-Cola over any other brand cola drink.
Coca-Cola ads whether they are print, television or radio ultimately want you to drink thier brand of soda however you and I both know that soda isn't good for you at all.
Still believe that business cares about you?

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 09:40:05 am »
I didn't think Wise Son (or the author of the article) was arguing that businesses actually do care, just that they try to convince you that they do. In other words, they spend billions to convince us of a lie. What they actually care about is making money. (says Sir Evident, patron of Captain Obvious.)
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Battle

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 10:45:46 am »
I didn't think Wise Son (or the author of the article) was arguing that businesses actually do care, just that they try to convince you that they do. In other words, they spend billions to convince us of a lie. What they actually care about is making money. (says Sir Evident, patron of Captain Obvious.)




You got that right...   and there's nothing wrong with a business wanting to make money, however, it's when businesses become excessively greedy is what bothers me. 
Ever notice that when businesses lose revenue (or profit) that  the goals suddenly change from 'wanting to make money' to 'wanting to stay in business'?

Offline Wise Son

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2011, 04:04:14 pm »
The Coca-Cola company is betting on that if you are thirsty,  and you see the imagery of Coca-Cola enough times throughout the day, week, and month that you would choose to buy Coca-Cola over any other brand cola drink.
Coca-Cola ads whether they are print, television or radio ultimately want you to drink thier brand of soda however you and I both know that soda isn't good for you at all.
Still believe that business cares about you?
No, but like Curtis said, I think they want you to believe that they care, which is why they try to draw your focus away from the nutritional crap in their drink, and make you think they care about the same interests, singers, political views , etc that you do. One of their most famous ads is the I'd like to teach the world to sing, where they try to make it seem that their sugary syrup is a key to solving world injustice.

You're right, I don't think they care for a moment, but sometimes they want you to believe they do, and sometimes they just want you to think that you need what they're selling.

"Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going."
-Harriet Tubman
http://yo

Offline Battle

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Re: 9 Reasons Why Business People Are Terrible At Governing
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2011, 06:45:21 pm »
No, but like Curtis said, I think they want you to believe that they care, which is why they try to draw your focus away from the nutritional crap in their drink, and make you think they care about the same interests, singers, political views , etc that you do. One of their most famous ads is the I'd like to teach the world to sing, where they try to make it seem that their sugary syrup is a key to solving world injustice.





Oh, you remember that television commercial, eh?    Ha Ha Ha HA! ;D
Definetely a commentary on the post 1960s era.


Trying to tie this discussion in with the original poster's article, businessmen aren't the best people at governing, I agree with.  Take republican candidate Herman Cain, who was a CEO of Godfather's Pizza...   GODFATHER'S PIZZA!!! That right there is an indicator that he doesn't give a fu(k about people by the junk food product he peddled to unwary customers.  How in the world is anyone to trust that he could make the right choices that benefit American citizens as U.S. president?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 06:48:48 pm by Battle »