Do we need a businessman to run the country?

My thoughts from two years ago:

I have heard lots of people say that. I disagree. We simply need someone to implement the provision of the necessities. We have already suffered mightily at the hands of those who view the country as a hierarchical structure with leaders bossing wage slaves about, rather than a recursively federal union of republican entities, meaning that each is free of itself, autonomous in its own domain and deciding interstitial concerns through consensus.

I realize that what people usually mean is that the chief executive will get the country to “live within its means” and successfully compete against other countries.

Here, also, they are wrong. The country is not a business. It is more in the nature of a market, laying the groundwork for the businesses within it. One of its foundations is the management of its fiscal and monetary systems, for which allowing a business person full reign is akin to letting the proverbial fox into the chicken coop. To be more precise about the danger we face, the maintenance of barriers of means would be of great benefit to the monopolists and great detriment to the balance of the people. That is precisely what “living within our means” would mean to our Union.

This, I should add, is irrespective of where the federal government spends it money or to what end. This is what Keynes meant by saying a government could spend money building pyramids, for all that matters to the question of providing a stimulus during a depression. He would view the Trumpian wall in the same way, that it is fine as long as the federal government does not try to “live within its means” but, instead, views it as a piece of public extravagance while the rest of the country is too stingy for its own good.

On the further point of mercantilist competition versus trade, I am in agreement with Keynes and economic luminaries going back to Ricardo and Adam Smith. Indeed, Keynes presented an eloquent defense of trade at the close of his “Economic Consequences of the Peace”, after showing that Germany could not pay the Versailles reparations and that attempting to force it to do so, in a perverse formulation of foreign competition, would sink all of Europe in a Great Depression. The gist of his defense of trade was that it is trade, not competition or conquest, which brings the luxuries to which we have grown accustomed at our breakfast table: our tea or coffee, our grapefruit or orange juice, the marmalade on our toast, the chocolate in our pastries, even our news from around the globe. And that is precisely what we will lose by trying to “win” an unnecessary and vainglorious global competition.

A scion of the Sherman and Delano families, C. P. Klapper comes from a long history of New England Communist Republicanism.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store