Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Is Government Incompetent? Is Business Soulless?

Two claims I've heard one time too many are that the government is incompetent or suffocating and that business is ruthless or soulless. I've had dealings with both the public and private sectors, and I found no such thing.

Many people who responded to President Kennedy's call for public service were creative-minded, idealistic people. Many of the people who bought into 1980s Reagan's championship of entrepreneurial capitalism were also people with good intentions and good values. I've seen competent people in government, and I've seen good people in business.

Certainly governments can be incompetent, and certainly businesses can be unethical. When my mother told an INS employee that she came from USSR, the INS employee asked, "There is such a country?" When I was involved with Amway, they were teaching people about how to evade questions that people had. However the businesses for which I worked were all transparent, and the government people with whom I've had dealings were all competent.

Is government suffocating or incompetent? I have not found that in Australia, nor did I find that in America after Clinton's overhaul of the government. Governments can be run inefficiently, they can also be run efficiently. Governments do not have to be incompetent. They can be as competent as any private enterprise if they implement correct management practices.

Similarly businesses do not have to act like jerks. I've worked for companies both large and small that treated their employees right. They learned their historical lesson from the worker's revolts of earlier decades and do not behave in a ruthless or unethical manner.

Idealism and pragmatism do not have to be things hostile to one another. There are practical ways to achieve idealistic outcomes, and it is also possible to inform the ideal to be consistent with practical reality. Both government and business can conduct themselves rightfully; and I've seen the examples of both in America and Australia.


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