HARBESON: How to run a business like a government
By DEBBIE HARBESON
Because of Clark County government’s money-management problems and the resulting new income tax, some citizens are grumbling that “government needs to learn to run like a business!”
I used to think that too, until I realized I had it completely backward. I want to use this revelation to help others, so with that in mind, here are some tips on “How to Run a Business like a Government” for anyone who wants to give it a shot
When you choose your “services” to provide, don’t concern yourself with market demand. This is irrelevant because you are going to initiate force against people in order to fund your service. However, if you want to lessen the chance of skepticism, find one person who’s struggling with an issue and use this anecdote as evidence of a “crisis” which your service happens to “fix.”
Hire someone to hold your gun for you. Oh, come on, don’t look so surprised. Remember, this advice is geared to running your business like a government. See, what you are going to do is force people to pay for your service, but you want to have some semblance of illusion here that what you’re doing isn’t threatening violence to ensure compliance.
Therefore, I recommend hiring someone to stand behind you, holding the gun. For added effect, give him a spiffy uniform. Now all you need to do is talk about the wonderful service you provide.
Another important element for success is creating a board of elected officials who vote for your various price increase schemes. This will make your “customers” feel like they have a say in your pricing decisions. In addition, the elections will keep people so busy that they stop thinking about that gun you have in the background.
BONUS TIP: Make sure you find people who are good at wringing their hands and saying how sorry they are, but in order to keep providing the service, they simply have to increase the price.
You will run into people who don’t want to pay because they don’t need your service at all, or would prefer to use a competitor. Just smile and tell them they are free not to use the service, all they need to do is fund it.
BONUS TIP: It’s often very helpful to instill guilt by inserting abstract phrases like “social contract” and “common good.”
Besides the guy with the gun and the elected officials, you will of course want to hire other people to administer the service. (Unless you’re in Jeffersonville, in that case just hire Republican elected officials.)
Don’t worry about ability; you’re developing dependency not competency. These people do the work of silencing and ridiculing those who continue to question the efficiency, validity and moral legitimacy of your actions.
Warning: Don’t let this group get too big or you will ruin your business because no one will be creating wealth for you to take.
Keep information flowing on the importance of your service and how well it works.
Warning: Don’t fall into the trap of trying to determine whether your service really does work well. You can’t figure this out because this information only comes from using the voluntary market and again, this is about running your business like a government.
Looks like that’s all the room I have for now, but this should get you started just fine in operating your business without having to concern yourself with persuading people to voluntarily trade with you for something they consider to be valuable and worthy.
Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson wondered why her new bra was bothering her when writing this column, until she realized she had it completely backward.