© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Government Is Not A Family Business

Maybe government can be run like a business, but the conclusion emerges that it cannot be run like a family business.

Entrepreneurs like D?onald Trump run a family business, employing who they want, deciding what they want. They can appear to operate in a kind of vacuum.

Corporate CEOs operate in a context of wider accountability. They answer initially to a board of directors -- and ultimately to shareholders. In contrast to entrepreneurs, CEOs confront more rigid procedures and wider demands for accountability.

Then there is government, with formal restraints on authority such as separation of powers? and checks and balances. Power is a dangerous thing, so for the sake of safety and accountability, power is first subdivided into smaller, safer quantities, and then checked and counterchecked. The efficiency and latitude associated with entrepreneurs are sacrificed for the sake of restraint and deliberation.

As has been observed, no one can say "yes", while many people can say "no." Procedural restraints are rigid and may chafe, but they are designed to moderate decision making.

The owner of a family business can focus almost exclusively on results. Process may seem not to matter. But in government, it has been observed that it is not enough to do the right thing. We must do the right thing in the right way.

I'm Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.

Related Stories