Experience gives you a visceral perspective on the lessons of history. Autocratic government is a prime example. I doubt that it ever starts out that way, where good intentions lose their purpose resulting in failed institutions. Government is especially vulnerable to this syndrome. Government is essential, especially in complex societies, as the means for ensuring socio-economic stability. Thus, government and other essential institutions exist for those it serves.

Institutions should exist at the appropriate level within a community. For example, it is impractical for individuals to support fire protection. Fire departments provide this public need. Fire protection resources respond to saving your house, and importantly protect the neighboring homes. This applies to agencies where the requirement cross boundaries and ensure to public safety, and agencies that cross product and services such as vehicle registration, taxation, etc.

Justification for private (for-profit) enterprises provides you with better solutions when you can choose among competitive organizations offering you value. Where these organization such as utilities are complex, a hybrid of private and public relationships ensure the success of these structures. Regulations avoid the inequities of monopolistic practices. It is not necessary to belabor the point! There is a need for a variety of organizational structures. When you have choices and time, private businesses offer the best approach. However, when your house is on fire, you have neither the time or choice for comparison shopping.

If we are to survive it is essential that we stop trying to fit square-pegs into round-holes. Admit the necessity for government and stop trying to profiteer these institutions. Unfortunately, legislators waste valuable time thinking that the management of these two disparate institutions is equable. This does not mean that you cannot apply management techniques from one to the other. It does mean that the objective – to make a profit or to serve the public – impacts the way you manage these organizations. It is time to stop demonizing government. Understand the purpose and enable the resources and structures that ensure an effective and efficient enterprise!