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Old 03-09-2006, 09:08 PM   #1
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Running America "Like a Business"...

I've heard this phrase on-and-off for the last 20 years or so. "We should run the U.S. government like a business."

I was thinking about how it's really a horrid idea, in practice. Does anyone really think about how American business operates today?

Well, for one, it's bureaucratic and monolithic. We invent a lot of things, sure. But once we get that corporation going, we get just as monolithic and complacent as we accuse government of being. Like Atari, for instance. This was the company that, more or less, put video gaming on the map. So what does it do? It got fat and happy, and decided that it never had to change. Then the entire industry crashed, and if it had not been for the Japanese (Nintendo, in this case), video gaming would probably be as dead as disco.

As I see it, Atari isn't an isolated circumstance either. All the American automakers are fat, poorly managed, and behind the times. Sure, they like to blame their union workers for everything, but hey...union workers make whatever you tell them to make. It's up to management to come up with the ideas. Yet it seems that management is the only people who never suffer, and even get bonuses for driving their companies into the ground in bankruptcy court. How does that even make sense?

But speaking of "bankruptcy court," that's pretty much how "American business" operates. Let's rack up a huge debt, make crappy products, and declare bankruptcy. And if it isn't bankruptcy, it's the long list of mergers.

So, I guess, unless we want America to declare bankruptcy, which would decimate the global economy, or we start soliciting for someone to acquire us (a consortium of wealthy Middle Eastern emirates maybe?), why the hell would we want to run the U.S. government like a business?

Of course, we're already seeing the result of 30 years of businessmen gradually supplanting lawyers as the primary demographic in government. And you see what you get too: a bunch of shrill, histrionic idiots who haven't the slightest idea how run a government, but know how to run party fundraisers to get elected and reelected. After all, it's all about quarterly profit, right?

Melon
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:11 PM   #2
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And to further my point...



All these mergers, and, yet, we still have the same shitty product. Maybe we should start blocking some of these mergers for lack of results? Last I heard, less competition doesn't mean more diversity in the marketplace.

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Old 03-09-2006, 09:15 PM   #3
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I truly believe, Melon, that no business really believes in competition. From the smallest to the largest. And why should they? They want a field they can graze in. I repeat: no business really believes in competition.

Now, that's their interests. This is why we have governments: to prevent one bloc from running everything in its favour.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kieran McConville
I truly believe, Melon, that no business really believes in competition.

...

Now, that's their interests. This is why we have governments: to prevent one bloc from running everything in its favour.
Of course not. That's why I hate all these businessmen in government today, because they're there for three reasons: to undermine government as much as possible to let business roam free, to funnel government money to their corporate "friends," and to use the power and prestige of government to personally profit.

And who loses in the end? The rest of America. And goddamn it that they constantly get away with all these diversion issues like flag burning and marriage amendments to consistently keep their corruption out of public view.

Melon
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Of course not. That's why I hate all these businessmen in government today, because they're there for three reasons: to undermine government as much as possible to let business roam free, to funnel government money to their corporate "friends," and to use the power and prestige of government to personally profit. And who loses in the end? The rest of America.
aaaaah... wake up America!

(but its not gonna happen)
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:47 PM   #6
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Re: Running America "Like a Business"...

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Originally posted by melon
Yet it seems that management is the only people who never suffer, and even get bonuses for driving their companies into the ground in bankruptcy court. How does that even make sense?

And if it isn't bankruptcy, it's the long list of mergers.
http://www.musicdish.com/mag/?id=9913
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Old 03-09-2006, 10:31 PM   #7
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Re: Running America "Like a Business"...

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Originally posted by melon
, why the hell would we want to run the U.S. government like a business?
To become a Christian monopoly.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
And to further my point...



All these mergers, and, yet, we still have the same shitty product. Maybe we should start blocking some of these mergers for lack of results? Last I heard, less competition doesn't mean more diversity in the marketplace.

Melon
This is an excellent example of the market re-adjusting to government restructuring (the judicial breakup of Ma Bell).

The product is as good as or better than the original. It is far cheaper than the original, and new ventures have been created. This particular business is not without challenge. Wire line phones are a dead end business. Once all homes were connected, and the market satiated with services, the business plateaus.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:10 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Running America "Like a Business"...

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Originally posted by AliEnvy
To become a Christian monopoly.
So cliche FYM
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:19 PM   #10
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Re: Running America "Like a Business"...

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Originally posted by melon
Well, for one, it's bureaucratic and monolithic. We invent a lot of things, sure. But once we get that corporation going, we get just as monolithic and complacent as we accuse government of being. Like Atari, for instance. This was the company that, more or less, put video gaming on the map. So what does it do? It got fat and happy, and decided that it never had to change. Then the entire industry crashed, and if it had not been for the Japanese (Nintendo, in this case), video gaming would probably be as dead as disco.
A number of issues raised in your post. First, I would not say most businesses are necessarily bureaucratic and monolithic. Large business can maintain an entrepreneurial spirit, run efficiently and create healthy work environments. Some businesses do get so large over time that they stagnate.

If you see bureaucratic and monolithic elements in a business, perhaps we should examine possible causes. Government regulation can strangle a business and generate much of the bureaucratic nightmares. Regulation comes from all levels of government, can be inconsistent between jurisdictions and there is little sympathy for the cost of compliance.

The Atari case study is just that – the anomaly of the poorly run business. Businesses today learn from Atari’s mistakes. I’m not sure it is a good example of your “bureaucratic and monolithic” description because they didn’t start that way and you suggest “they never had to change”.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:23 PM   #11
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Re: Running America "Like a Business"...

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Originally posted by melon
But speaking of "bankruptcy court," that's pretty much how "American business" operates. Let's rack up a huge debt, make crappy products, and declare bankruptcy. And if it isn't bankruptcy, it's the long list of mergers.
I’d say bankruptcy court was traditionally abused by the small business owner, those who ran businesses into the ground while running personal expenses through the corporate structure.

Large businesses are far less frequent users of bankruptcy protection. There are some lines of business that the market demands an extremely thin profit margin, and the company can go under due to a simple spike in costs (like airlines and jet fuel).

Still, at the end of the day, far more business are created than seek bankruptcy protection.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
This is an excellent example of the market re-adjusting to government restructuring (the judicial breakup of Ma Bell).
By flaunting the intent of the judicial break up of AT&T and reforming it?

Actually, want to know why the Reagan Administration, of all administrations, continued forward on the antitrust breakup instead of burying it (like Bush did with the Microsoft antitrust trial)? AT&T, in the 1970s, had signed a consent decree with the U.S. government where it agreed to never expand into computer applications of telephony. AT&T regretted it almost as soon as it signed it, knowing the potential for such things as the internet (while it was still in its infancy, they likely saw the potential for large corporations to want to create wide-area networks or whatnot). So AT&T, wanting to cast off its slow-growth local telephone service anyway, wanted this breakup, in exchange for scrapping the consent decree. And it got exactly what it wanted.

Quote:
The product is as good as or better than the original. It is far cheaper than the original, and new ventures have been created. This particular business is not without challenge. Wire line phones are a dead end business. Once all homes were connected, and the market satiated with services, the business plateaus.
So consolidation is going to lead to lower prices? Yeah right. SBC (which is really what this "new AT&T" is) has had an abysmal service record. Where I live is an anomaly, where local telephony is covered by Verizon, while going about 30 miles in any direction will put you smack into SBC/AT&T territory. Most "new AT&T" users are frankly jealous that I don't have to deal with them.

Cingular Wireless (which AT&T owns joint with BellSouth, which AT&T now wants to buy as well) has worse wireless plans than when I was with AT&T Wireless. Of course, the prevailing attitude amongst economists is that the wireless industry is "too cheap" (read: too consumer friendly), so they wanted consolidation to raise prices. And that's exactly what everyone is going to get with these mergers.

No new products, fewer choices, fewer alternatives, and higher prices.

Melon
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:26 PM   #13
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Originally posted by melon


Of course not. That's why I hate all these businessmen in government today, because they're there for three reasons: to undermine government as much as possible to let business roam free, to funnel government money to their corporate "friends," and to use the power and prestige of government to personally profit.

And who loses in the end? The rest of America. And goddamn it that they constantly get away with all these diversion issues like flag burning and marriage amendments to consistently keep their corruption out of public view.

Melon
You paint an awfully bleak picture of the US for "the rest of us", yet I think you will find that most would not trade places with someone from another part of the world.

Given the rise of competiveness in other countries, you will have a hard time trying to justify an increasing standard of living with a decrease in work effort.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:41 PM   #14
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Given the rise of competiveness in other countries, you will have a hard time trying to justify an increasing standard of living with a decrease in work effort.
We will never compete with the rest of the world when the stakes are set to "which country pays its workers the worst." So if "free trade" is the great equalizer, are we prepared to have the average salaries in this country fall proportionately as they rise elsewhere? I'm sure banks aren't willing to forgive debts proportionately.

And besides...what's the incentive to working more? So I can work seven days a week, still being knee-deep in debt and making some jackass rich? I'll take the 35 hour work week and month vacation, thank you.

Some economists have said that as long as home prices continue to rise, the American public remains placated, as many people expect to use their home value as retirement. Even if this generation gets a free pass, it's going to be a problem for future generations, considering that salaries have not kept up with the rise in home values. And interest-only mortgages come with a rude awakening in seven years.

Melon
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:41 PM   #15
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Originally posted by melon
Cingular Wireless (which AT&T owns joint with BellSouth, which AT&T now wants to buy as well) has worse wireless plans than when I was with AT&T Wireless. Of course, the prevailing attitude amongst economists is that the wireless industry is "too cheap" (read: too consumer friendly), so they wanted consolidation to raise prices. And that's exactly what everyone is going to get with these mergers.
AT&T Wireless was a broken company. It was not destine to remain long in the wireless world.

Cingular cannot afford to raise prices unnecessarily, as Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile sit waiting for the net add subscriber.

And wireless is cheap when you consider that each company has to build its entire infrastructure on its own. And it is a continual project as new subscribers tax systems and force construction of new sites to handle traffic.
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