With Donald Trump now the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential candidate the time has come to take a look at the big picture. One of Trump’s main selling points is his skill as a businessman. He has amassed a fortune in business, but does that make him, or anyone with a similar background for that matter, a suitable country leader? I do not believe that anyone can ‘run’ a country or state/province like a business for two primary reasons: the concept of profitability and that nasty old democracy.
First the bottom line in business is just that, the bottom line on the balance sheet. Profit is all that counts, numbers, returns. And much like the system of determining the rankings of NCAA football teams if several have identical won/lost records by analyzing the opponents faced and the degree of victory, if it is a public company “The Street” will analyze and then determine what an acceptable degree of profit is. Just finishing in the black is not sufficient.
Trump has been criticized for bankruptcies in his past, but, odd though it may sound, sometimes declaring bankruptcy is good for overall business. Not for those left with outstanding payments or those who lose their jobs, but for the company. A subsidiary that is sucking cash from head office is better off being bankrupted. Unless of course you happen to be a supplier who is owed money.
Individuals are hired and fired based on their contribution to the company’s profit margin or lack thereof. If a worker is not pulling his or her weight, there is an action that can be taken: as Trump likes to say You’re Fired. The deadwood is cleared out and the streamlined company hums along making the most money it can.
In a societal setting there are those who appear to not be contributing to the bottom line for any number of reasons, valid or otherwise. These include but not limited to Illness, age, or just good old-fashioned laziness, but in the end the fact is these folks cannot be fired from the country. For those candidates who claim to be Christian, they are surely aware of the notion from the Bible that the poor will always be with us. What will a business-politician do, force them into domestic labour camps, organize covert actions to snuff out these leeches?
Secondly, a business leader who finds him or herself butting heads with a dissenting member of senior management over a project or plan can, if necessary, get rid of that person. Even people with contracts get fired all the time, it may cost the company money either in court costs or a cash settlement or both, but it can be done all the same.
A politician is constantly at odds with the opposition, it is the nature of the game. Even some on the leader’s side will from time to time go against the grain. Unlike employees these people are elected officials. Frustratingly for the business-politician, they are not going anywhere, nor are they likely to be convinced to back down given they are representing their own constituents back home and hoping to be elected again.
Business should be run by business people, but countries are better off with a human touch.