Backers of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump often point to Trump's success as a businessman as evidence that he would make a good president. After all, if he can run the country the way he runs a business, everybody wins, right?
Yeah, not so much. Jules Suzdaltsev thinks it through in today's Seeker Daily report.
Countries and businesses cannot by run the same way for the simple reason that each pursues a different ultimate goal. Simply put, businesses seek profit by any means necessary. Profitability comes first, which might mean layoffs, inferior products, unethical practices and even outright bankruptcy.
In fact, one of Trump's established moneymaking techniques is to strategically file for bankruptcy to extract maximum value out of a company. Countries, on the other hand, cannot casually declare bankruptcy without causing chaos both internally and internationally. Nations also cannot simply lay off civil servants and soldiers when the bottom line is threatened.
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Countries are not about profitability, nor should they be. Public schools and parks don't make any profit, but are nonetheless funded. The ultimate goal of a democratic nation is to benefit and represent its people. A government run like a business would be beholden to its shareholders at the expense of the consumer. But in governance, both shareholders and consumers are the taxpayers. It just doesn't work.
There's also the pesky tradition of the competitive market, which businesses rely on to operate in the first place. Governments represent a monopoly in virtually every way. As a citizen, you can't comparison-shop for a different form of government. ("Hey, look! Constitutional monarchy is on sale!") Well, you can, but you have to leave the country to do so.
The differences are simple and fundamental: Businesses are about making profit. Governments are about promoting social value. If America were to be run like a business, it would soon be out of the nation-state business entirely.
-- Glenn McDonald
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The Atlantic: Government Should Run Like a Business-but Not in the Way You Think
Forbes: Why Government Should Not Be Run Like A Business
Washington Post: Look out! Donald Trump promises to run the country the way he runs his business
CNN: About 70% of voters say Trump should cut business ties while running for president