We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have been returning to the theme of government as enterprise over the past couple of years, but the Knish Man put more effort than I ever did in fleshing out the concept: The Business of Government.
Government is indeed a bubble, as much in the US as in Greece. Just two of many possible good quotes:
Like most non-profits the real business of government was creating profits for its board, employees and their friends. This core business was funneled through constant busywork and massive projects and programs that existed to conceal the real business of government. Layered around it was chaos and incompetence that prevented even those on the inside from being able to fully evaluate the real cost of its operations.
The monopolistic nature of the business of government had created a company immune to outside concerns. But that bubble was being challenged by the consequences of its mismanagement and the growing public dissatisfaction at the value of its services and their cost. The collision was as inevitable as its timing was unclear and it would change how the business of government was to be conducted.
“Like most non-profits the real business of government was creating profits for its board, employees and their friends.” BS, in mannered terms. As much as I grow weary of hearing governmental, non-business types make rules on how business should run, so, too, do I grow weary of non-not-for-profit types deciding how non-profits operate. The all-encompasing "Like most non-profits ..." has no basis or proof.
He really steps into it in trying to make his case by lumping non profits as entitlement gigs. They have missions and businesses. Some are well run, other not, just like any other business. His statement is drivel.
Of course people who work at non profits have self interest like any body else. But they are not monopolies, they need to stay afloat to accomplish their mission whether it be education, medical research, providing music, feeding the homeless, whatever.
Well, one problem with "self-interest" and non-profits is that non-profits are reluctant to close shop when their original purpose is either achieved, mooted, or plain old impossible. First thing that popped into my mind along those lines was Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). I'm not sure they're actually a non-profit, but I'm guessing they must be. Initially they worked to get the legal drinking age raised most places to 21 & strengthen penalties for drunk driving, and to raise public awareness about the issue. They pretty much got everything they wanted. And then for lack of something to do, started taking on an outright abolitionist tone towards drinking in general, advocate for even harsher drunk driving laws than were reasonable, etc.
well perhaps true enough but they need to raise funds to support their non profit so if they can't make their case, they go out of business, just like any other business. no one is forced to donate to them or fund them.
also true, but again not so different from various other businesses, say for example, anything linked to defense (and alas, health care to a large extent). and i'd rather have a non profit providing those types of gov't.services (social) than the gov't itself since at least there can be some change, not that there has been much movement in that direction to date but every budget (federal, state, local) is under pressure these days which works its way downstream.
my experience with various non profits is that they are quite budget conscious and often nimble in ways that may surprise those who vaunt the for-profit world's supposed monopoly of such attributes when it is also pretty clear that there are some really poor examples of corporate management. of course, having worked a long time in the financial sector, I may have a somewhat jaded view....Just sayin.
People used to say that if a service can be found in the Yellow Pages, government should not be doing it. The level of competition that government has waged against private industry, and mostly small businesses, coupled with the government-mandated fees for licenses, certification and regulations has nearly succeeded in putting the nation out of business.
The problem of government is, of course, business. That is, the problem which most people are complaining about currently - the issue of corporate welfare/crony capitalism.
It isn't so much that business itself is the problem. It's that government has decided that the best way to promote the system is for government to be involved in the system.
Which, of course, is simply impossible to do without government becoming corrupted and corrupting the system itself.
The "bubble" is self-originating and self-perpetuating. Government gets to pass the laws which get it involved, then votes to increase its role, then begins increasing funding to the point of excess, and when the business bubble bursts, sets itself up as the 'savior of the system'.
Yet those who are opposed to the outsized (and they are outsized) profits of large corporations fail to recognize the role of government in this charade. They believe government truly is the savior.
Monopoly status may indeed be one reason government is inefficient and ultimately corrupt. However, I'm not seeing a ready solution to that, even at a micro level. Bechtel-type entities that compete for the contract of providing a government for your town? Perhaps.
Bomber Girl states "Of course people who work at non profits have self interest like any body else." If that of course were indeed generally known, I would agree with her entirely. I applaud her for knowing that. Would that it were true of others. My experience is that people generally do not know that about any cause they come near agreeing with. I have had intelligent, cynical people challenge my assertion that WWF and Sierra Club are riddled with self-interest, shocked that I could not see how much they only have the best interests of all of us at heart, and the fact that they get paid for doing this - is only a small part of their motive.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
While we're cleaning house, let's move the nations capital to the demographic (not geographic) center of the U.S., to better represent all Americans.