2 thoughts on “Why Government Should Not Run Like a Business

  • September 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    The idea that BUSINESS is the paradigm institution infects more than our thinking about government. I see it in thinking about churches; it manifests in our educational leaders asking us “Who is our customer?” The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that reducing all our institutions to a business model is a profound mistake.

    But maybe our business model isn’t good for understanding businesses either. I heard Jeff van Duzer’s lecture (from Calvin’s January Series – http://new.livestream.com/calvin-college/TJS20130114) and liked his presentation of a Christian philosophy of business. I find it more amenable to what I think a business ought to be. It might even work better for our other institutions if we absolutely have to think of them as businesses.

  • September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I think the producers of this video are intentionally missing the main point emphasized by those of us who think the government should be run more like a business. As dumb as many of us capitalists are, we do understand the different objectives of private business vs. government. The obvious point ignored in the video is the idea that government should strive to be more efficient (like a growing business), strive to provide value (like a sustainable business), and make prudent fiscal decisions (like a lasting business). There are also many businesses that are considered not-for-profit (501c3’s, for example, Southern Methodist University for another) who do not have a profit motive, yet who raise billions of dollars and have an obligation to be good stewards. Wait a minute – as often happens with the small brain – the writing clarifies the thinking. It’s about stewardship. The business, the government, the institution of any sort, should be about stewardship. In a private business, good stewardship maximizes profit to the benefit of the owners / shareholders. In government, good stewardship maximizes the benefit of of the society in general.

    The major difference between business and government are the fact that only government can take money from people. Businesses gather money from people in exchange for something of perceived value. The fact that government’s money comes from taxes which are not optional (for the most part) makes the issue of stewardship even more important. The fact that government administrators (elected and bureaucrats) do nothing to earn that money (not saying they don’t work hard, but the money would come in without their effort) makes it difficult to feel responsible for its distribution and safekeeping.

    Thoughts from the mind of an nonacademic, unrepentant capitalist / proletarian. I’d much rather see the government run like a business than the reverse.


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