Normally, this blog is dedicated to ideas that spring from writers whether they be authors, essayist, poets or columnists. Today, I digress to the spoken word instead. This is the political season, after all, where rhetoric takes center stage.
In the race for president, much of the debate is about which candidate can best put government on a business footing. The debate is interesting but, regrettably, I don’t see the relevance. A government is not a business. Profit margins aren’t the reason for a government’s existence, and human beings aren’t consumers; they’re citizens. Governments don’t serve shareholders. They serve all the people all of the time or try to. Economic downturns cause businesses to cut products or services or workers. The reverse is true for government. In economic downturns, government services expand to provide financial liquidity, work programs, unemployment benefits, and to feed the hungry. A business thrives on competition. A government promotes equality and justice for all.
(Courtesy of www.popsci.com)
For anyone interested, a book has been written which details these differences. The author is Michael Edwards and his book is, Just Another Emperor: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism. Edwards warns against confusing the goals of serving the people with “bottom lines.” The result, he warns, can be devastating, particularly to those who need assistance. Take, for example, the work of The Bill Gates Foundation. Their goal is to end world hunger. Their bottom line is to do it efficiently. Their method is to support genetically altered seeds which are draught resistant and produce bumper crops. Unfortunately, these altered seeds come from a laboratory, not nature. Farmers who use them don’t learn to become self-sufficient. They learn to become dependent upon chemical companies. What’s good for Monsanto, however, may not be good for the farmer and efficiency may not be the proper goal if we wish to help them.
No, to be honest, I don’t care which candidate for president can run a business. Someone who understands government’s purpose would be nice.