“Politics is a kind of island in the evolutionary stream—isolated, unchanging, incapable of learning because it is insulated against going extinct. Politics is the last monopoly, the Immortal Corporation. You’ll never see a capitol building with a GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign hanging out front—even genuinely bankrupt, undeniably insolvent political regimes from Argentina to Greece for the most part go on about their business, even after defaulting on their financial obligations. If the bees in a particular hive make a bad decision about relocating to a new tree, those bees die, and if enough members of a species make similarly poor decisions, that species goes extinct. Consumer products follow a very similar pattern. And if a firm offers enough bad products or makes a sufficient number of bad financial decisions, it vanishes, too (unless it is a politically connected Wall Street bank or an influential manufacturing concern—more about that later). Firms learn from their mistakes and from the mistakes of others. And, like individual human beings, they learn by copying more successful efforts. Individual companies come and go, entire industries rise and fall, but the store of knowledge embedded in our aggregate economic practices continues to grow and to become ever more refined: We really do know how to make much better cars, telephones, and refrigerators than we did in 1960. But we do not have better politics. And politics here means both the formal structures of government and those nongovernmental institutions closely enmeshed with them, for example, the ethanol industry, which is a private, for-profit enterprise that by the industry’s own account simply would not exist without a federal mandate that all gasoline contain a minimum percentage of ethanol in the blend. Government-supported firms such as General Motors and General Electric are properly considered part of politics, as are the specific operations of other private firms that operate through the power of government, for example, Lockheed Martin’s defense-contracting wing.”
Excerpt From: Kevin D. Williamson. “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome.” HarperCollins, 2013-05-01. iBooks.
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