Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Businessman Versus a Politician, and You

Both a businessman and a politician have that which they are trying to get us to ‘buy.’ A businessman has a literal product to buy – a good or service – and seeks to earn monetary commensuration for what was sold; a politician doesn’t have a good or service to offer, but does offer legislation and wants to get your vote. Let’s analogize; whether as a businessman or a politician, what they have to offer is to be pictured as a bowling ball.

A businessman being in the market, not only wants you to buy the bowling ball he offers, provides quality bowling balls in order for you to purchase the ones he offers. He’ll let you take your new bowling ball as it is your property now, but he will also offer a bowling alley from where you’ll be able to bowl, to keep you as a paying customer. To keep you as a customer, the businessman will maintain his alley so that the alleys themselves are in good repair, services in the building are good and that you continually get your bowling back in good shape as to want to keep bowling. A businessman wants not just a customer, but a returning customer. A returning customer does so because he is a happy customer. If the product fails to be what the customer wants, there will be another businessman offering something better, or he’ll try and make better. Different businessmen sell varying types of bowling balls for their respective customers.

A politician wanting to pass legislation wants to create something new that will be static: a new law. A law once put into effect the law remains, until (more importantly if) it is repealed. A law now in effect, continues in the manner its nature requires regardless of the unintended consequences. The politician’s bowling ball is a glossy one, designed to make it look appealing in order for you to vote for it. After he has enough votes and has been able to get his law passed, it is his standing atop a hill and throwing the bowling ball down a mountainside – the ball rolls, bounces and careens according to its necessary consequences. It exists and cannot be brought back without great effort of many more to get in front, stop and bring back the bowling ball (repealed). Otherwise, it is gone, hitting what is in its path, and damaging that which it strikes. If the law fails or has negative unintended consequences, the law still remains. The same politician will be working on new, and may have passed other, similar laws.

It is up to us in the market, in the audience to remember that these two: the businessman and the politician, though they both come with offers of something for us, what they offer are not the same. A businessman creates wealth that we may partake and exchange with; a politician creates a law that imposes limitations. The businessman is constantly part of the process of his product, the politician is not. The politician will have left the area when the damage his actions are felt, and he will be trying to create again that which he may initiate and leave others to feel the consequences. The businessman continually wants and needs to try and keep his customers; the politician just needed the vote for the moment, and after he throws the ball down the hill the ball exists and continues on without further effort from him and he can leave. A businessman can be held accountable for fraudulent claims about his product, and the customer may be held accountable for misuse of the product. A politician cannot be held accountable for the harm his law may have caused, and the law will still remain as a law to continue harming society.

Bad as it is for someone to release a bowling ball to let it cause damage, and not be accountable for it as the damage will be caused after he has left, there is something worse. What is worse is when the politician teams up with a businessman; that is the politician creating that which remains but also has to be maintained and only maintained through what the co-conspirator businessman is selling. By threat of punishment, that is government fine or imprisonment, the people have to pay for a product not necessarily even wanted, that the businessman doesn’t have to maintain quality of good or service, have a low price as he’ll sell anyway. Other businessmen may even be prevented from competing from the co-conspirator politician.

Let us recognize exactly who is doing what and not allow those who create the damage we feel to get away with it.

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