Most people in this country make a living by selling their personal labor to business or government. That activity is called "having a job". Whether the labor consists of cleaning offices, constructing office buildings, working as a secretary in an office, or working in middle management for a company, most of us sell our labor in order to earn our living. There are two small groups of people who do not earn their living by selling their labor services. These groups are politicians and businessmen (I use the term generically...I recognize women are in business as well). For today I will define a politician as anyone who earns his living by creating and administering laws and rules that others are required to obey. On the federal level this activity was constitutionally designated to the Congress. Today, however, the process of creating and enforcing laws and rules is practiced by all three of the branches of government as well as by the vast bureaucracy that has been created to write most of the rules we are required to live by. Obviously, state and local governments also have rule making authority and would be classified as politicians as well.
Businessmen, on the other hand, are those who create, manage and own businesses. There are two types of businessmen: private and public. Private businessmen own private businesses. The businesses can be small or big but they are owned by the businessmen who create them. Public businesses are owned by the public via the purchase of shares of stock. Most private businesses, when it is decided to go public, will allocate the majority of the shares of stock to the private owners so that they can maintain control of the company but it is still the case that anybody who owns a share of stock is a businessmen, even if in a very limited fashion. So, what are some of the key differences between businessmen and politicians?
- Businessmen wake up each morning asking themselves how they can serve the public. They know that they will only get paid if they serve the public. Politicians wake up each morning asking themselves how they can raise revenues. They know that they will only get paid if they can raise taxes.
- Businessmen know that they can expand the size of their business by meeting the needs and wants of more consumers. Politicians know they can expand the size of their realm by creating and expanding the list of rules.
- Businessmen think about the general public as a group of individuals they need to know better in order to provide goods and services to meet their needs and wants. Politicians think about the general public as a source of votes that will serve the politician's needs and wants. Hence, we suffer from a process of round-the-calendar politicking for office.
- Businessmen provide goods and services to the public, and the public can choose to buy or not buy those goods and services. The relationship is entirely voluntary. Politicians make laws and rules that are enforced upon the general public. The relationship is entirely hegemonic.
- When the public does not buy a good or service from a businessman, he takes it as a personal failure and attempts to do better. When the public does not obey a law or rule issued by a politician (although the politician is never subject to that law or rule and the rules themselves frequently change or contradict each other), the politician takes it as a personal offense and arrests the offender.
- The businessman sees the public as individuals who can be befriended. The politician sees the public as "civilians" who need to be controlled.
- The goal of the businessman is to give you what you want. The goal of the politician is to give you what he thinks you should want.
- If you choose to not cooperate with the businessman, nothing happens. If you choose to not cooperate with the politician, you are fined and incarcerated.
- Businessmen see themselves as profit seeking providers of desired goods and services. Politicians see themselves as elite leaders of the inferior classes who are too stupid to know what is in their own best interest.
- Businessmen serve. Politicians rule.
- People who believe in freedom are drawn into business. People who believe in controlling the behavior of others are drawn into politics.
- Progress in business is measured by increased profits. Businessmen know that higher profits means more satisfied consumers. Progress in politics is measured by larger bureaucracies. Politicians know that larger bureaucracies means greater power and the ability to control the behavior of civilians.
- Businessmen desire to sell their goods and services to all people, regardless of race, creed, or anything else. Politicians desire to transfer the wealth of the minority to the coffers of the majority, in exchange for a vote.
- Businessmen do not kill their customers. Politicians kill people all over the world.
- Businessmen often pander to the materialistic instincts of the public (heh, they aren't perfect). Politicians often pander to the envy of the voters.