Thursday, 21 July 2016

Trump and the Bottom Line.

I once read a comment on YouTube which went something like ‘Mah daddy (I expect the writer came from Texas) always told me that the best way to run a country is to run it like a business.’

It’s a pretty damn silly thing to say. A business – at least a big business – is fundamentally a soulless money-making machine. A core aim of business is to run as efficiently as possible in order to maximise profit, because profit is always the bottom line in business. And the old maxim It don’t count ’less it sells is ever the watchword.

A country is an infinitely more complex organism in which efficiency has to be tempered with a whole range of social, ethical and humanitarian considerations. A country run like a business is not going to be a contented country; it’s going to be a troubled one.

So that’s why I was interested in Trump’s latest words of wisdom. He says that if he becomes President, the guarantee of all NATO countries to support each other in the event of conflict might not apply to America. His remarks are seen as being particularly aimed at the Baltic States, apparently. He asks why America should help those who don’t do anything for America. After all, it isn’t good business, is it? And Trump is a businessman. On a more general level, he argues that America can defend itself from home soil if it needs to; it doesn’t need to be in Europe. It would be cheaper that way, he says, more efficient. Good business thinking: cost is the bottom line and the other complex considerations can be swept under the carpet. I imagine there might be a few strategists rolling their eyes, but maybe Donald has enough self-confidence not to listen to strategists.

And the latest question I see being asked is:

Will the Trump family become the next great political dynasty?

To paraphrase another famous bottom line:

God help us, every one.

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