There’s this ongoing myth in public discourse that being a successful businessman means you have what it takes to successfully run a country. I see a lot of problems with this, to the point where I’d almost argue that the very opposite is true – that it makes you potentially bad at running a country. Countries and businesses are just inherently different structures on so many levels. A company may not even own the land its offices are based on, whereas a country covers a specific delineated territory. A business’ main purpose is generally to increase profits (though some prioritise doing so in a manner consistent with social justice or environmentally friendly policies – often recognising, however, that doing this is good for business too), while a country usually expects its government to improve the lives of its citizens.
To me the most important feature is embedded in that latter point of difference. A company does not have a fixed population. If it needs to reduce running costs, it can fire people. A country cannot do that. The only act that’s even vaguely similar is deporting people, which requires specific circumstances – normally that they’re citizens of another country who’ve committed a crime, or that they’ve committed a crime in another jurisdiction serious enough for an extradition request, or that they’ve overstayed a visa. In theory people made redundant from a company will go on to find other jobs, but whether they do or not isn’t a concern of the executives. In a country, people who lose their jobs can’t just be ignored. Improving people’s lives and increasing profits are completely different goals with completely different executions, the former being infinitely more complicated as you first attempt to define what improving lives means and then attempt to find policy that will interact with pre-existing conditions in such a way as to provide a good outcome. Ideally reducing beneficiary numbers means creating more jobs, not simply finding ways to get them off welfare.
But that’s what a fiscally right wing government does. They have a disproportionate number of ex-business people or people who expect to take up a cushy director job when they retire from politics or business owners and investors. They know about money, not people. And so we get trains made cheaply overseas that are riddled with asbestos, funding cuts to programs that pay off in the long term, policies aimed at reducing waiting lists for housing or surgeries. It’s all about cutting numbers and it’s not what a country is about.