Business and politics have always been inextricably bound together; both are essentially systems of management. Business manages assorted resources (both material and financial), whereas politicians manage people. In a perfect world the bosses would all be well-qualified, benevolent, all-knowing paragons of industry or government. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world.
Naturally those two spheres of activity— business and politics— overlap. Unfortunately one of the great universal constants in our shared human nature is the existence of personal greed; Capitalism only works as an economic system because it harnesses the power of greed as the engine that makes the system go, whereas alternate systems (Socialism, Communism) try to deny human greed and appeal instead to human altruism as their motivating force. That’s a lofty idea, but it seldom works. Bad old Mister Greed eventually stumbles onto the scene like a drunken party-crasher, upsetting the dessert cart, overturning the coffee table and otherwise spoiling all the fun. Once that happens, expect a competitive free-for-all when those with the keys to the community chest start frenziedly lining their pockets at the expense of the system. Unless continually policed and held in check, the corrupting power of human greed will eventually show up like the Borg and assimilate the system. And once the infection begins, resistance is usually futile.
Enlightened self-interest need not be a bad thing, and is in fact a great motivator in moderation. Wealth isn’t inherently bad. Money itself is NOT the root of all evil, as is often misquoted. The actual proverb warns us that THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil. Once money becomes the sole motivator in a government (Third World despots, I’m looking at YOU) and the quest for endless money and power are the only goal beng pursued by its leaders, the people being governed begin to seriously suffer.
Once greed begins to unfairly tip the scales of a social system the names may change —Whig, Federalist, Democratic Republican— but little else does. Be it Starbelly Sneetches or Plainbelly Sneetches— the only real goal is to join the aristocracy atop the pile and get one’s hands into the communal till. Politics (civil or corporate) becomes a Rogue’s Gallery of talking heads and glib Lobbyists with a new “cause du’jour,” endlessly spouting whatever trigger-rhetoric slogan or trendy catch-phrase they hope will keep them on top of the heap… and little else.
One can hardly tell them apart without a score card. But if they were ever confined to an actual sports arena and organized into teams, no game could be played. There wouldn’t be any players— just an endlessly squabbling mob of self-proclaimed coaches, all refusing to touch the ball and demanding that others carry it for them.
It’s not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing, it’s a human nature thing. And there are still a lot of good people out there fighting against the rising tide of blind greed, if we would only listen to them (and elect them to office). The real shame is NOT that we only elect the people who tell us the most convincing lies; it’s that we have the nerve to act surprised at the outcome after we lazily entrust our future to the most facile and self-serving liars among us.