While idealogues from the left and right argue that their respective biases toward more government control, or more corporate control (aka less government) represent a coherent world view, I see them both as intellectually bankrupt. It is not a government bad, corporation good or visa versa characterization that really matters. A major move in either direction would not adequately address the issues we face in retirement, jobs, healthcare or many other problem areas. It would only change the players, but not fundamentally change the system. That type of opinion is really not about a better system at all, it is just about who is in control. My people, not my people, as simple as that.
I believe that large organizations, both public and private fail or succeed to deliver with equal likelihood. They grab power and control with equal tenacity. The problem is that whether or not an organization is public or private, large organizations are controlled by too few people and as such have too few ideas that can be tried, evaluated and then discarded or promoted. Too few people with too many biases, needs and objectionable opinions of their own. Or perhaps narrowly guided opinions, opinions appropriate for one context but not another. Too many bureaucracies public and corporate are run by the person with the highest salary or highest rank. Most large organizations have too much inertia to change in spite of an army of consultants, authors and academics that exists to try and correct it.
We need to be mindful of a basic tenant of mine:
be wary of central control and single points of failure
Yes, this comes from the software and systems part of my brain.
What we need is continuous improvement of systems, not just shuffling control to nearly identical large systems to different people. By this I mean systems of government, systems that run our economy, systems that run our healthcare and so on. I do not mean the current systems with control changed from one party to another, public or private, left or right. I am talking about the structure of interactions between the participants in the these systems in ways that promote efficiency without overloading key parts or key participants. Flow and predictability are good. Being able to adapt and change flow is good. Requiring a lot of management of that flow comes at a very high cost and should be scrutinized very carefully before accepting it.
I wanted to write this down as I have referred to it often in conversation and writing. Hopefully I can improve it and articulate it better over time.
[note that this page will be updated over time!]