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Should a country be run like a business?

Written By: - Date published: 2:50 pm, June 22nd, 2013 - 102 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, class war, community democracy, democratic participation, Economy, equality, infrastructure, jobs, monetary policy, Politics, Privatisation, quality of life, referendum, socialism, sustainability - Tags:

Many business people say that a country should be run like a business.

Maybe they are right. It should be run like a SUCCESSFUL business.

It is appropriate for Government to take lessons from business success, and the reverse.

But when it comes down to details, right wing Neo-Liberal business does not want Government and country they govern to become too successful, or democratic. They are doing too well by taking advantage of slack regulation (regulation which favours them over the rest of society) and politicians foolishness.

In business a manager who fails to plan for the future would be sacked.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business say that Government should keep out of strategic planning. 

Successful business constantly plan advertise and strategise to “beat the market”.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business insist that Government should muddle along, leaving it to “the market”.

Successful businesses involve as many people in decision making as possible.

Successful businesses involve their staff in decision making,.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business want Government dictatorship, so long as they run the dictators, and oppose democratic moves like MMP and BCIR.

Even New Zealands, non binding, referenda, the only Democratic voice allowed in New Zealand, have such a freshold for a triggering petition that they are guaranteed to be very infrequent.

Successful businesses ensure they have a competitive advantage. Monopoly is even better.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business insists that we give up any competitive advantage with so called “free trade agreements”  and open licence for foreign corporate to plunder and selling profitable assets.

Successful business gets Government to bend the rules in their favour.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business insists that we remove trade protections and rules which work in our favour.

Management silo’s that only look at small part are known to be dysfunctional.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business says that every part of a countries infrastructure should be stand alone, dependant on individual profit and loss without regard to social and economic costs to the country as a whole. Giving small business and consumers inflated prices for utilities, so utilities make a profit, for example.  North Americans will remember ENRON.

Successful businesses work for the future of the entire company.  They know that if any one part cannot take excessive capital, or resources .

Right wing Neo-Liberal business oppose any attempt by Government to rein in unjustified excessive profit taking from the rest of the economy. There is a propaganda war in New Zealand from the right wing at the moment to prevent the extraction of excessive power profits.

Successful companies train, nurture and look after their staff.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business insist on dropping wages, and starving those who cannot work “pour encourager les autres” regardless of the costs in lost demand, (A cost to business also) welfare and crime.

Successful business has consistent and effective policies, procedures and rules.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business wants Government to refrain from regulation, except that which protects them, of course. (For example taking away workers rights and protecting big corporate rights to take as much as they can). Giving us leaky houses, worker deaths, finance company failures, wage cuts, full jails and tax payer bailouts.

Lastly, successful business use all their resources as effectively as possible and use the co-operative efforts of many people to meet goals.

Right wing Neo-Liberal business would rather countries do not have goals and that we are all turned into competing worker units.

Right wing propagandists pay lip service to the idea of running a country like a successful business. In reality they oppose Government being too good, because it would limit their ability to steal from the rest of us. They are happy to continue profiting from a Government that does what they tell them.

One famously wanted to “drown Government in a bathtub”, because it affected his profits. Several famous NZ business men openly gloated about how they profited from stealing tax payer owned infrastructure companies, and asset stripping them.

Good Government, real democracy, improving decision making by Government,  and  good effective regulation and protection, for the majority of a countries citizens, would destroy their gravy train.

Hence the hysterical overreaction to a minor piece of addition to Government regulation of power companies in New Zealand. 

Because it, if it is allowed to happen,  is the beginning of the end for the idea of “the market” and the mean spirited Neo-liberal,  consensus which has delivered so much wealth and power to a greedy few.

102 comments on “Should a country be run like a business?”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Lastly, successful business use all their resources as effectively as possible and use the co-operative efforts of many people to meet goals.

    That’s the one that’s always bugged me. On the one hand they say that competition is good while demanding that the workers all cooperate for the good of the business.

    They know damn well that competition is bad for society as a whole and yet still parrot the myth.

  2. Nitpick: Threshold has a th. :)

    And yes, I agree the government can learn SOME things from private business, but to be honest, business could learn a lot from government departments, too, as they’ve mostly been better-run and more efficient than businesses. (probably due to having to provide information to anyone who asks for it)

    • Rogue Trooper 2.1

      propaganda war…”to ‘continue’ the extraction of excessive power profits” maybe?

  3. Bill 3

    If a country is run as a business, then the market economy has to be taken as ‘a given’. And if the market is taken as a given, then we’re fucked….well, around 80% of us are from the social/economic policies that peak ‘everything’ will demand in a market context. And, since market driven production and distribution systems compel us to spew carbon like there’s no tomorrow and will absolutely ensure that there is no tomorrow….

    If we are at all serious about securing any type of worthwhile future, then business shouldn’t be run as business is run, never mind a country.

    • locus 3.1

      Running things in a ‘business-like’ way still carries some positive images, like efficiency, ethics, consistency, focussing on doing the best for your customer, nurturing your resources, employee involvement, teamwork etc..

      Running things like a ‘business’ now includes few of those ‘business-like’ positive images. The current paradigm is that buisness, particularly big business, has to survive and compete by whatever means it can. There’s no room for values (e.g. health and safety, building employee loyalty, environmental protection) if these appear to raise costs in the short-term or get in the way of cashflow or profits.

      The idea of a triple bottom-line, is sneered at, and big companies’ financial incentives and rewards demonstrate that short-term profit and driving up the share price is what business is all about.

      The draining of values and ethics in business is apparent in the increaing numbers of examples of companies avoiding or evading tax, ologopolistic price fixing, unethical lobbying, schmoozing and manipulation (and corruption) of politicians/governments to alter legislation.

      Let’s NEVER let a country be run like today’s big business.

  4. karol 4

    I don’t think countries should be run the same as businesses at all – not even as the best and most effective businesses do.

    It’s time we ditched the neoliberal business model for governance.

    Governments should focus on the whole of life, not juts productive enterprises. Education, healthcare, social services, etc, should be well-managed. But their focus should be on the good for all; on things like education and transport as resources; on the importance of cultural activities for community well-being, etc, etc.

    And what Bill said with this:

    If a country is run as a business, then the market economy has to be taken as ‘a given’.

    • locus 4.1

      Just a naive wish, but it would be good if we could ditch all political labels as descriptors of how we should run a country… neo-liberal, liberal, socialist, tory …. they so frequently end up in hair-splitting definitions, divisiveness and closed-mindedness.

      First let’s describe how we want everyone in our country to have a fair chance, and then discuss in simple terms what ethics, values and representative methods will take us there.

      As for the idea of ‘successful business’ providing an insight …. pah!

      How about we look at the diversity of successful methods applied around the world to governing countries and think about what they have to teach us.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        The fair chance equal opportunities meme works well in a growing economy. Now, we need to be talking about how we handle the pie shrinking. A lot.

        • ghostrider888 4.1.1.1

          and what to wash the crumbs down with.

        • locus 4.1.1.2

          the shrinking pie? yep you can’t avoid thinking that’s the state of NZ right now…. but even more reason for NZers to look outside their comfortable safe little self-set beliefs of what’s possible.

          NZ’s goegraphy, environment, south pacific culture, beauty, adventurousness, sense of fairness, can-do attitude etc. etc. has so much to offer, which scarily outsiders seem to be way more aware of than we are.

          And so much of everything our self-serving ‘business-oriented’ political masters are promoting or changing right now is poisoning the golden goose.

          • karol 4.1.1.2.1

            south pacific culture, beauty, adventurousness, sense of fairness, can-do attitude etc. etc.

            These are also “safe little self-set beliefs” as well, as being a bit mythical. And a way of avoiding the realities of 21st century life in NZ.

            They are just as much short-hand and over-generalisations as short-hand terms like “neoliberal” of which “self-serving ‘business-oriented’ political masters” is part. At least “left” and “neoliberal” stand for a political philosophy.

            • locus 4.1.1.2.1.1

              okay so call me a helpless romantic about NZ’s potential and what we can offer to the refugees of an over-exploited, cynical, over-populated world.

              The mythical things I mentioned about NZ are still realities for many non-NZers, and they carry a lot of weight in our dealings with the world.

              Though you’re right…..lazy use of labelling just when i was trying to get away from it….

              I guess I’m a bit aware of NZ’s 21st century realities, and the worst of these are to my mind the result of trying to ‘run a country as a business’.

    • UglyTruth 4.2

      Governments should focus on the whole of life, not juts productive enterprises.

      That is also what the progressives think, but their socialist doctrine is doomed because of its inherent conflict with liberty and the common law.

      The focus on the whole of life and the well being of the people has all been done before, it is called the law of the land.

  5. Tim 5

    Pretty well sums it up KJT! The whole concept is completely dishonest whether it be the ‘market economy’ (I notice that many now have the decency to drop the “free” from ‘free-market’), to the term “NZ Inc.” that’s now so readily taken as a given by generations that have never experienced anything else.

    If I ruled the world, ‘Treasury’ would be no more than an agency of a Ministry of Economic Development, and have no more weight in decision making than has various agencies of a Ministry of Social Development. I cannot see why matters economic should trump matters social. I’d also make damn sure that there weren’t ‘leaders’ (LOL) of these Munstries who base their recommendations on experiences from a different era because they often seem to confuse their fantasies with their out-of-work game playing.
    .. let’s play dress-ups
    .. I can feed my family on $20 a week
    .. no I don’t develop leaky buildings
    .. my neighbour is my friend (my special friend)
    .. I’m completely non-judgemental of others (some of my best & special friends are Murries and come from all [ALL] so-show plitkul bekgrens)

    .. Tim

    • Tim 5.1

      .. which is meant to imply that guy is one smart fella

    • karol 5.2

      Tim: If I ruled the world, ‘Treasury’ would be no more than an agency of a Ministry of Economic Development, and have no more weight in decision making than has various agencies of a Ministry of Social Development. I cannot see why matters economic should trump matters social.

      Exactly, finance and economics should serve the kind of society we want, not vice versa.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    For a sovereign, the ethos, power and influence of the state as well as the welfare of the citizens, is paramount.

    Businesses in comparison are weak, fragile, limited in views and goals, and extremely short term focussed.

  7. Tamati 7

    KJT – did you write this yourself? Swear I’ve seen something very similar elsewhere.

    • KJT 7.1

      It was originally published in my blog.

      Though others have posed the same question.

      Sometimes with similar answers, sometimes not.

  8. chris73 8

    I’ve always thought one of the problems with NZ is that we’ve only ever had a choice two parties (I mean that have any chance of actually leading the country) which are left and right so the balance of power is like a pendulum

    The problem here is that when the left get in they want to repair the damage done by the right and so the pendulum swings massively to the left and vice versa when the right get in

    Take SOE sales, the right want to sell them all off and the left want none of it sold but the best solution lies somewhere in the middle (no I’m not suggesting P Dunne)

    I’m sure most of us remember telecom and its awful waits for well anything…

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Fuck you’re funny bringing up old BS tropes about Left vs Right, Telecom waits etc.

      The only thing efficient about modern business is how quickly they cut staff to funnel more profits overseas.

      • chris73 8.1.1

        Which would strongly suggest the pendulum is too far in favour of the right, the problem being is that the left will swing it hugely back towards the left then the right will swing back etc etc

        Moderate seems to be a dirty word but sometimes its not bad getting a little dirty every now and then…

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Uh the international ponzi scheme is undergoing irretrievable collapse and you’re worried about cyclical swings left and right? You’ll be relieved to know there will only be a few more swings and by then it will be obvious that current social and economic arrangements are not coming back.

          “Moderate” sorry mate completely irrelevant since i believe you are using the term to justify business as usual. Which may happen a while longer, until it can’t.

        • Bill 8.1.1.2

          The pendulum is hung from a bent pin cobbled together from political and economic orthodoxes and its arc constrained by the narrow parameters of parliamentary left and right. As a result all we ever experience is something akin to the screeching of stressed metal and a dull clunking as the pendulum hits its imposed constraints.

          There’s a whole future of possible worlds being wasted and the potential of several billion contributory imaginations being denied. And you seem to want the pendulum to have an even smaller arc or to be brought to a standstill altogether?!

    • Tamati 8.2

      Some would argue the precise opposite

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      Take SOE sales, the right want to sell them all off and the left want none of it sold but the best solution lies somewhere in the middle (no I’m not suggesting P Dunne)

      No it doesn’t and yes you are.

      I’m sure most of us remember telecom and its awful waits for well anything…

      Which privatisation didn’t fix – it couldn’t. Privatisation can’t fix physical issues such as lines not being in place and the need to get someone there to put it in place when there’s a limited number of people and competing priorities.

      If you’re rural you get even longer waits than you did and the service is far worse if you can get service at all. If you’re a suburbanite then the service just sux and you’re still not getting the services that you’ve paid for most specifically an upgraded network.

      The privatisation of Telecom has done one thing – it’s proved the dead-weight loss of profit. Better than $17b taken out in dividends since the sale and now we’re paying tax dollars to get the level of service we should have gotten from those profits.

  9. Rhinocrates 9

    Maybe businesses should be run like countries? Ones with citizens, not shareholders?

    • chris73 9.1

      and how would that work?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Democratic collective enterprises.

        • chris73 9.1.1.1

          Sounds like something nice in theory buy impractical in reality

          • Bill 9.1.1.1.1

            Market economy – arguably dire in theory and absolutely horrific in reality.

            • chris73 9.1.1.1.1.1

              So start up a business (if you haven’t already) and run it as described above

              • Colonial Viper

                First its important to make the capital structures of the economy more friendly to the effort.

                • Gosman

                  This is par for the course for what I see from the left whenever asked why you don’t just go ahead and start doing the things you think are better.

                  “We can’t because the structures aren’t right”.

                  Whine, whine, whine. Life is so terribly unfair.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The structures aren’t right as they’ve been designed to propagate the capitalist dictatorship.

              • Bill

                @ chris73 Been there. Done that. 😉

                • Gosman

                  Good oh. Keep doing it then until you dominate the economy and can force the change from a position of power.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Don’t you recognise that the current top 0.1% players have a lock on political and financial leverage?

                    • Gosman

                      Nope. Someone like Steve Jobs highlighted that if you have a good enough idea you can revolutionise sections of society.

                      You on the other hand remind me of an eight year old kid complaining how unfair all the rules are and that you should be given lots of money and have no rules and then it would be so great.

                      It is a rather pathetic way of viewing the world in my opinion.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Steve Jobs started building computers in the 1970s, it was a different era then, pure neo liberalism and pre financialisation.

                      Further Apple has since become one of the biggest anti competition anti innovation patent trolls in the market.

                      Why shouldn’t I complain about the current set of rules? I learnt that behaviour from the Right wing business lobby. As for free handouts of socialised money, I learnt that behaviour by watching banks with their hands out.

                  • Bill

                    Why would I want to dominate the economy? What does that even mean in the context of my comment? Why would I want to force change when I’m referring to self empowerment? (It would make no sense whatsoever and be counter productive.) And why would I want to attain a position of power and how could I anyway, in a democracy?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It’s just Gosman showing his dictatorial bent that is inherent in all RWNJs.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Interesting perspective. In your view we must become dictators to force the change through. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised considering the anti-democratic actions of this government and RWNJs around the world.

                    • Gosman

                      I never stated that. I asked why don’t you do that if you want to bring about change.I’d say it is an easy way than trying to bring about social revolution.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.2

            Sounds like something nice in theory buy impractical in reality

            NZ has several of these of some description, so what are you talking about “impractical”???

          • Rhinocrates 9.1.1.1.3

            And there’s the Tory ethos in a nutshell. “Oh yes, democracy. A nice idea, I approve heartily, but in the real world, it’s a bit troublesome, isn’t it? It slows things down. It’s inefficient (efficiency being defined as that which delivers money into my pocket). Let’s play lip service to it while undermining it at every opportunity.”

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.3.1

              +1

              Well said.

              • Rhinocrates

                Worse, there’s the quisling suburban attitude of those who have recently acquired privileges and are terrified of losing them: “One has to to be realistic. Goff/Shearer/Wibble aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better and their critics and those extremists give us a bad name. They’re the real traitors, not us, the pampered capons. We’re true, and we have ashpirashuns.”

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capon

                Have a look at Brian Edwards and Russel Brown for examples. Supposed “liberals” who are in the end only concerned with their privileges and reassurance.

          • Molly 9.1.1.1.4

            … don’t despair Chris73 – there are some working models out there that have been around for a while….

            Mondragon Corporation in Spain comes to mind – started in 1956 and not only survived but thrived, although there seems to be some corporate creep recently.

            More recently is the creation, and legislative support (in some US states) for B corporations which have triple or quadruple bottom lines – economic, environmental, social and cultural.

    • Shaz 9.2

      In the 1920’s R.H. Tawney developed exactly this proposition in the Acquisitive Society. It hangs together pretty well as a proposition. The text is available as an e-book. and the post 1945 consensus in the UK ran many national businesses like this very effectively for 40 years so it’s a tried not a theoretical approach.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Talk about the mother of all straw man arguments. KJT, how about pointing to some sources to justify your statements on what you claim is the position of Neo-liberals before attacking a construction you have created yourself.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      You’re a neolib, explain it to us.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        KJT clearly doesn’t understand neo-liberalism. For example:

        Right wing Neo-Liberal business insists that we give up any competitive advantage with so called “free trade agreements” and open licence for foreign corporate to plunder and selling profitable assets.

        The statement above from KJT is clearly wrong. The purpose of free trade agreements is to eliminate artificial barriers that limit the opportunities for countries to utilise their competitive advantages. So, the objective of neo-liberalism is to ensure that competitive advantage is the basis for success rather than artificial distortions through subsidies and the like.

        For instance, the fact that some European countries subsidise their agriculture limits the ability of NZ to sell our agricultural products in those countries. The subsidies those countries use have nothing to do with competitive advantage, but create artificial barriers to our agricultural products where we would otherwise have a competitive advantage.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Artificial barriers are required to maintain sovereignty and economic integrity, and as a country we have forgotten that. The EU, as you have pointed out, has not.

          There is no such thing as a “neoliberal business” I agree, because neoliberalism is an ideology of political economic thinking.

          The main thrust of neoliberal political economic change IMO is to enhance and unfetter the power of corporate capital and capital flows, and particularly to advantage capital over potential constraints such as labour, regulations, sovereign governments, democracy, social and environmental concerns and citizens.

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.1.1

            You have missed the point. Do you agree with what I said about competitive advantage?

            • KJT 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Even Ricardo never suggested that Britain altogether give up making wine, and Portugal, cloth

              • Draco T Bastard

                I think it was Ricardo that said that the base assumptions of the free-market were unrealistic as well. Of course he expected economists to work on those but they haven’t probably because if they put in realistic assumptions the theory doesn’t work.

            • locus 10.1.1.1.1.2

              neo liberal economists are naive if they think that the world really wants ‘free trade’, and theat hence we’ll all benefit as a result of ‘competitive advantage’.

              There is no real commitment to free trade, anywhere.

              What does ‘competitive advantage’ really mean? is it good is it bad? for whom?

              ‘Competitive advantage’ to the current crop of neoliberal economists doesn’t just mean (ceteris paribus) having lower resource or production costs than your competitors, it means doing anything you can to beat your competitor. This approach could mean:
              – employing children, or prisoners, or the poor or desperate at minimal wages
              – sourcing from countries that don’t require as high worker protections as yours
              – cross-subsidising to drive out your competitors through a price war they’ll lose
              – dumping bulk lower quality product on the market
              – locking in your customers with expensive opt out contracts
              – schmoozing or corrupting officials to change the law or give you a better deal than your competitors
              – bending the rules or creating vehicles to avoid tax
              – etc. etc.

              and the end result…. if you have to compete against those kind of ‘advantages’ you must to do so at their level ….. or lose the competition.

              Or let’s think seriously about what we have to do to build the kind of ethical businesses we want to support and promote and protect in our country.

              Free trade agreements and blind belief in ‘competitive advantage’ are not going to do that for us.

              • tsmithfield

                If what you say is correct, then following through with KJT’s logic, neo-liberalism would be a good thing. Because, according to KJT, neo-liberalists insist we give up competitive advantage.

                • locus

                  strange, i took KJT’s logic entirely the other way… that we should be looking for

                  “good effective regulation and protection, for the majority of a country’s citizens, in order to destroy the idea of ‘the market’ and to remove the mean spirited Neo-liberal, consensus which has delivered so much wealth and power to a greedy few.”

  11. xtasy 11

    Hah, I find the title amusing.

    My observation has been for quite some time, that this country is already being run like a “business”. “Non productive” elements are either driven out of the country, similar to sacked or bullied away workers, or they (sick, disabled, “baggaged” with kids to look after) get shifted into marginal, paid employment (as from 15 July on), to use their “capabilities” in whatever “meaningful” and “productive” way, to generate profits, for those that are in control and run the show.

    So no point really in asking the hypothetical question “should” it be!

    • locus 11.1

      +1 If only it was humourous….the hypothesis of this little piece makes me want to throw up

    • KJT 11.2

      Note I said “successful” business.

      Businesses run on neo-liberal lines of short term profit and shafting their workers and customers are no more successful in the long term, than countries run that way.

      They make money for a few years until the lack of investment, disgruntled staff and unhappy customers, takes effect.

      But of course the Managers, Directors and often major shareholders have extracted the maximum short term profits for themselves, before they left a rotting corpse.

      • locus 11.2.1

        There’s a lot of very ‘successful’ unscrupulous businesses out there that will be around for a long time to come, and many of them will continue to shaft their workers and use maket dominance to screw their customers….

        If only there really was a truly equally competitive market

  12. cricklewood 12

    It’s not all despair, there are plenty of good little companies out there who pay livving wage or better. My wife after a year of rejection was finally given an opportunity to work as an office junior at one paying an Auckland living wage ie over 20 per hour… The difference to us and her mental health has been monumental. The place I work at us the same vut it is very hard to compete against outfits who pay minimum wage. We make clients aware we pay living wage henxe we cost a bit more some are recwptive some not so much…..

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Here is another point that demonstrates that KJT has created a completely inaccurate strawman.

    “Many business people say that a country should be run like a business.”

    I challenge KJT to come up with some quotes to support that assertion. From my perspective (a business man) and a neo-liberalist perspecitve, the country shouldn’t be run like a business at all.

    Central government should be focusing on core issues such as roading, law and order etc that can be managed most efficiently in a centrally planned, tax payer funded way.

    Government should be getting out of the way so that businesses can interact and transact without distortions that arise from government intervention.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1

      “Distortions that arise from government intervention”.

      Be specific, please, because we hear this line a lot from blind ideologues.

      What “distortions” exactly (bearing in mind that “the free market” is a wholly artificial construct)?

      PS: what about distortions arising from market failure, or corrupt Prime Ministerial sale of legislation?

  14. Gosman 14

    “Many business people say that a country should be run like a business.”

    Such as who?

    • QoT 14.1

      Every single right-wing commentator who ever complained about Labour “borrowing to spend”.

      • Gosman 14.1.1

        I think you are mistaking people arguing that the State should be run like a household in terms of finances. I would agree that meme is a tad trite and simplistic.

        I have been engaged in right wing political thinking for coming up to 30 years. In that time I don’t believe I have come across too many right leaning people, (if any), arguing that the Government should be run as a business, and certainly not as a profitable business.

        I have seen numerous people on the right argue that the State should get out of the business of business and stick to Governance.

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1

          If the private sector isn’t capable of providing what the country needs, which is much of the time, then the state should step in and get it done.

          • Gosman 14.1.1.1.1

            Possibly but the question that needs to be asked in my view is why won’t the private sector provide it.

            A huge number of expensive white elephant projects around the world, (and in NZ), have been funded because of the same reasoning you use.

            • Arfamo 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Possibly but the question that needs to be asked in my view is why won’t the private sector provide it.

              Because the private sector is about making a profit for owners and shareholders. Not looking after the interests of the population. That’s the government’s role. State-funded white elephants are an issue of bad management. It doesn’t follow that private sector management would be any better; they are shockers for overcharging and wastage when doing things for governments. Look at Talent2.

              • Gosman

                Ummmm… they were employed to do a job by a Government department. Technically the responsibility for the mess is the Education Ministry.

                There is no theory that states private businesses are always better than Government anyway. Just that bad private businesses get weeded out more often.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  There is no theory that states private businesses are always better than Government anyway.

                  Public Choice
                  It’s all BS of course.

                  Just that bad private businesses get weeded out more often.

                  No they don’t. If they did IBM would no longer exist. Neither would Harley Davidson. Actually, I believe GM would have collapsed if the US government hadn’t stepped in to save it very recently as well.

                • Arfamo

                  Looks more to me like the responsibility for the mess is the lack of IT expertise at management level in the Ministry – same as in the department I worked in. Managers signing off contracts and paying the bills from the private sector companies working with us had no idea whether what they were getting in the way of advice from their primary contractor was technically sound and represented industry best-practice and value for money. The end result of SSC or Treasury or whoever apparently deciding some years back that departments didn’t need to retain expensive in-house IT expertise as it would cost less and be more efficient to use private sector contractors.

                  • Tim

                    I replied, and lost the entirety of my comment (because I’d cleared cachies and was nameless and mail-less, and back tracking was useless). Probably a good thing really because there was a little too much detail.
                    At first I was thinking we maybe worked for the same ‘department’, then I realised the same shit goes down in most (with just a different stink at times).

                    The gist of the previous was that I look back and laugh my arse off.
                    .. The non-technical Middle & Senior management making technical decisions, DESPITE repeated warnings
                    .. Their wish to be everyone’s best friend by providing them with all the treats and trinkets (including laptops – often lost because they were “left on the roof of the car”, and all the jewlery); whilst at the same time utterly underfunding any decent sort of infrastructure that was supposed to support those little trinkets
                    .. their dangerous enthusiasms.

                    I find it funny (well I would if it wasn’t actually serious), especially since they seem to come out of the shit unscathed, and some ever go on to work with/monitor/supervise Hawaiian Princes.
                    Even when they fcuk that up, they just move interstate.

                    But then, such is the nature of a corporatised Public Service where the vast bulk of Public Servants actually work in spite of their management RATHER than because of them.
                    Its a recipe for things turning to shite in the overall scheme of things

                    • ghostrider888

                      found the forum then.

                    • Arfamo

                      We used to employ some IT professionals for testing on a part-time basis – a couple were regulars and were only interested in it as a bit of easy pocket money. I remember one of them, Chris, going down to contractors’ work-site for the day. During a coffee break after he returned, he said the contractors must have a lot of temp staff of their own and they must have thought he was one of theirs.

                      He said while he was doing “regression testing” or something like that he witnessed a conversation between some of the team working on our department’s next quarterly IT change rollout. It went like this: “Hey (our department) has refused to pay this $30,000 item charge because they said it was our mistake, not theirs.” The reply was: “Don’t worry about it, we’ll just split it up and spread it across other line items in our next invoice”.

                      Anecdotal, sure, but I suspect it’s common practice.

    • lprent 14.2

      Try the business roundtable. They have explicitly said that in the past (they appear to have disappeared from public view in the present).

      John Key of course has always referred to NZ Inc, usually to rapturous applause from his business audiences (I’ve heard him). However due to his poor (ie useless) performance at actually making it work, the audience response was been somewhat muted last time.

      But in NZ, Gibbs is your man. It appears to be his favoured mantra.

      I could look up the references but I need a haircut – off to the mall. But I’m sure you could find references from these brief notes.

  15. burt 15

    Successful business gets Government to bend the rules in their favour.

    Right wing Neo-Liberal business insists that we remove trade protections and rules which work in our favour.

    How myopic can you get. Socialist government insisted we put the trade protections in place creating artificial jobs at the expense of everybody else picking winers and losers playing the god hand of social engineering…,

    So … Socialist, unionists, gets Government to bend the rules in their favour – to the detriment of others.

    But let me guess, it’s good when the red team do it in the best interests of the red team supporters but bad when its done by the blue team in the best interests of the blue team supporters. Shit thank god politics and social issues are so simple that all we need to do is look at the colour of the party logo to just know what is good and what is bad.

    • Arfamo 15.1

      So … Socialist, unionists, gets Government to bend the rules in their favour – to the detriment of others

      What exactly is the detriment to others you speak of here? Who are the “others” and what are they deprived of?

      • burt 15.1.1

        Perhaps you don’t remember when tariffs came off whitewater and suddenly more people could afford a new washing machine rather than only being able to afford a worn out second hand one which had its second hand price held artificially high. Held artificially high by the tariffs adding hundreds of dollars to new ones.

        Cars were the same. While we had import tariffs supporting local assembly the average age of our fleet was so much older and cars were so much more expensive than after tariffs were removed/reduced.

        Of course we lost a few jobs along the way, jobs that were being supported by the inflated prices every consumer paid.

        • Gosman 15.1.1.1

          But that was okay because they were being productive assembling a car that the Japanese had disassembled for us and shipped thousands of kilometers so we could reassemble it here but not as well as the Japanese who assembled it in the first place.

          • burt 15.1.1.1.1

            Being productive indeed… Keeping the price artificially high so only special people can afford them… Perfect interventionist policy… Make everyone pay for protecting the jobs of a few,

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 15.1.1.1.1.1

              I bet you’d be happy to make everyone pay to protect some jobs if they were work-for-the-dole slave labour.

              • burt

                Yes yes let’s increase the minimum wage to make more employers look for subsidised labour … Doooh!

          • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1.2

            Yep, there were some really stupid policies. Unfortunately, they got replaced by even stupider ones.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.2

          Perhaps you don’t remember when tariffs came off whitewater and suddenly more people could afford a new washing machine rather than only being able to afford a worn out second hand one which had its second hand price held artificially high. Held artificially high by the tariffs adding hundreds of dollars to new ones.

          Destruction of local manufacturing and engineering

          Fine for the rich pricks who still had a good income

          Still fine for the rich pricks who have a good income

        • rosy 15.1.1.3

          While we had import tariffs supporting local assembly the average age of our fleet was so much older and cars were so much more expensive than after tariffs were removed/reduced.

          Linky thing for way back then?

          Cars may be so much cheaper now, but so a wage slaves without those stable manufacturing jobs. So we still have a comparatively old car fleet – and getting older by the year.

          The Average age of the vehicle fleethas increased from 11.57 years in 2000 to 13.35 years in 2012.

          This is compared to an average of about 10 years in Australia and the USA, and 8 years in Canada and around 8 years in Europe – where there has been a slight decrease in average age between 1995-09).

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      Every successful economy has strategic capital, trade and trade union protections, burt. The sector which needs to be severely downsized worldwide is the finance sector.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.3

      How myopic can you get. Socialist government insisted we put the trade protections in place creating artificial jobs at the expense of everybody else picking winers and losers playing the god hand of social engineering…

      Did you miss this governments’ picking of winners such as SkyCity? And all governments engage in social engineering. This government is presently engaging in making the poor poorer so that it can make the rich richer.

      So … Socialist, unionists, gets Government to bend the rules in their favour – to the detriment of others.

      Generally to the small detriment of the rich while being better for everyone else including the rich.

      Shit thank god politics and social issues are so simple

      It’s only you that happens to be so simple.

      • burt 15.3.1

        Draco

        No argument both teams do it. But that’s my point you are confirming – thanks.

        What I’m saying Draco is how myopic to assess ‘good or bad’ based on the colour of the logo of the party offering special favour for their backers. Both are self serving corruptions of the democratic process – both are the democratic process – depending on how you view it of course.

        A single coloured good/bad lenses serves the party’s best interest – not necessarily one in the same as the best interests of the people. Short term and long term implications are bigger than red = good and blue = bad.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.3.1.1

          how myopic to assess ‘good or bad’ based on the colour of the logo of the party offering special favour for their backers.

          You and others like you are the only ones doing that the rest of us use facts to asses whether it’s good, bad or possibly a combination of the two.

          Both are self serving corruptions of the democratic process – both are the democratic process – depending on how you view it of course.

          You may have missed it but that is one of the reasons why we dropped FPP and went to MMP with multiple parties.

          • burt 15.3.1.1.1

            Correction, we put some pretty red MMP lipstick on the FPP pig and called it an electoral system. It gives the party two choices how to order and place their MP’s such that they can optimise the vote. A full proportional system might have served the voters better than the parties – no wonder it took so long to have that second referendum…

            You’re a bit more sucked into this ‘for the people’ thing than i thought you were if you think MMP serves the people. Given the choice of electoral systems the only one the politicians seem to prefer is FPP… FPP & MMP are not the only two choices we could have…

            • Draco T Bastard 15.3.1.1.1.1

              There really isn’t any point in responding as you’re too stupid to understand an argument or to grasp the basic fact that our electoral system has moved on from the dichotomy of FPP. It’s been less than a generation which means that it hasn’t moved on far.

              Is it perfect? Nope, but it’s better than what it was.

  16. Absolutely NOT.

    When central and local governments are run ‘like a business’ – they end up being run BY business – FOR business.

    FACT.

    (I will be exposing how this is done during the 2013 Auckland Mayoral campaign.)

    It is CORRUPT crony capitalism, and it stinks!

    Penny Bright
    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncil appeal.org.nz

  17. Polish Pride 17

    In order to answer this question properly you first need to agree on what the purpose of government should be. Until that has been established and agreed. You can’t answer this question properly.
    ………goodluck :)

    The answer to the question is no….. but it is more to do with the fact that we need a change to the overall system including the monetary system.
    Awakening gives a pretty good overview of problem. So whether govt is run as a business or not is a moot point given the bigger problem.

  18. JonL 18

    A country is not, and never has been , a “business”. Anyone who thinks it is, is totally deluded and probably has no idea of the complex social structures in place and the amount of finesse that is needed to keep up a cohesive society.

    Parts of a country can be run in a “Business-like fashion”, but, the money people should always be kept away from control – that way leads to ruination of society!

  19. captain hook 19

    If this country was run like a busines then Key and co would have been fired long ago.

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