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Thread: Difference between a government and a corporation?

  1. #1 Difference between a government and a corporation? 
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    I mean in terms of the way they function, what distinguishes them from one another?

    If something about what I'm asking is unclear I would certainly be happy to try and explain better!


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Corporations lay people off when times get tough in order to save on costs. Governments cannot "outsource" citizens to reduce costs. That's one example.

    A recent comment below I've read. Your OP reminded me of it:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...mpetitiveness/


    Which also references the following:
    http://www.pkarchive.org/global/pop.html
    http://robertreich.org/post/2863461038


    the idea that broader economic performance is about being better than other countries at something or other — that a company [erm...never mind, I mean] country is like a corporation –is just wrong. I wrote about this at length a long time ago, and everything I said then still holds true.

    The hopeful interpretation of Obama’s embrace of the idea that he’s the CEO of America Inc. is that it might help fend off right-wing attacks on government action as a whole, helping him sell the need for public investment of various kinds. On the other hand, as Robert Reich says, this could all too easily turn into a validation of the claim that what’s good for corporations is good for America, which is even less true now than it used to be.


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    Thanks a lot! Those links were very helpful.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Corporations lay people off when times get tough in order to save on costs. Governments cannot "outsource" citizens to reduce costs. That's one example.
    Well, they can lay people off in a sense. When they do, it is called "genocide". If they need some cheap labor, and they're a first world country, then they can just increase immigration quotas to attract desperate workers to work cheap.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Well it depends, are we talking about a dictatorship government, a corrupt fake-democracy plutocratic government or a transparent direct democracy government?


    A corporation can be ruled by one person or a few people, if Rockefeller controls 6 edge funds and 3 conglomerates that control the majority of a corporation he rules. If he has an iternal report he can keep it secret claiming its confidential, even if it affects the well being of the poulation living near the factory, the people working there, etc.

    A govenrment is usually hierarchic, but with lucidity, luck and vigilance, a population has a theoretical fighting chance of ruling a self-proclaimed democratic government so that it is of for and by the people (in theory). If its a government by of for the people and it claims to be democratic, no public information should be secret, so that the people who are the boss know what the government is doing, if you are the boss of a store the cashier cant keep secret where he puts the money customers give him of else hes fired, it should be the same with government imo.
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  7. #6 Re: Difference between a government and a corporation? 
    Forum Professor arKane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m84uily
    I mean in terms of the way they function, what distinguishes them from one another?
    Well as much as they might have wanted to do this, every company I ever worked for never taxed me.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Another difference is that corporations are accountable to their board of directors, and are measured based on profit margins. Governments are only accountable to their voters if they are a democracy (some governments are not accountable at all), and are measured based on the subjective and arbitrary needs of the people governed.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Another difference is that corporations are accountable to their board of directors, and are measured based on profit margins. Governments are only accountable to their voters if they are a democracy (some governments are not accountable at all), and are measured based on the subjective and arbitrary needs of the people governed.
    Of course, the dominant one of those needs is the economy. Failing in that area is the quickest way to get un-elected, unless it was already bad when you started.

    The more I analyze them, the more they look alike. The only difference I see is the powers they are granted. A corporation doesn't have the right to put you in jail.
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  10. #9 Difference between a government and a corporation? 
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    A corporation doesn't have the right to put you in jail. A corporation can have you charged for a crime or not charge you for a crime. A corporation can influence a government how big of an offence the crime is, what the punishment is, and how the punishment is dealt out.

    Look at Shell Corporation in South America http://crimefreeworld.wordpress.com/

    Edison and the electric chair http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_chair proving how dangerous alternating current was.

    What government needs are more people like Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Taft. http://www.fdic.gov/about/learn/lear...n/19-1919.html
    Corporations need to be kept in check and it is the government duty to keep them in check. It does not work the other way around.
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    Forum Freshman jsloan's Avatar
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    I don't know if it's still in print, but Bureaucracy by Economist Ludwig von Mises explains the fundamental differences between the two.

    [Addendum: The book is available online as a free .pdf download: http://mises.org/Books/bureaucracy.pdf
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsloan
    I don't know if it's still in print, but Bureaucracy by Economist Ludwig von Mises explains the fundamental differences between the two.
    I realize you dont want to spoil the surprize, but a few words or phrases to recap the basic idea would be appreciated.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman Retromingent's Avatar
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    Governments are entities designed to represent the interest of their citizens. Here in the U.S., the framers knew that governments cannot always be trusted so created a specific framework to limit consolation of power (i.e. checks and balances), so that makes for many of the differences. Business has no such framework. Many would argue that competition serves as a better check and/or balance, but this is not true. Competition does not expose a wrongful market (say, one where tap water is being marketed as a cancer cure), it seeks to share in its profits not correct any unethical behavior. Thus, competition in many cases makes a given problem worse. This is because business is profit motivated and so is its competition. So, competition merely seeks to find its own slice of profits. If that market happens to be harmful to the public, competition does not provide any kind of check against it.

    Government is public service motivated. It seeks to provide a parental role to its citizens. From protection (e.g. defense, police, fire fighters, food and water inspectors, product safety inspectors) to support citizens in areas that business does not such as during unemployed times. Government also seeks to be the arbiter of business and provides many court systems that give citizens a forum for challenging not only the wrong doings of other citizens and business', but of the government itself. It also attempts to create an equal playing field for all its citizens where business fails to do so on its own.

    Government is a representation of public interest. Business is an exchange of private interests.
    Cogita ante salis
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  14. #13  
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    The basic different is Public corporations are formed under Various Acts of Law like Companies Act, Societies Act etc..The main purpose is to have effective control by framing separate rules, codes etc., which can not be implemented in Government Departments. Also because of separate set up decision making is also faster,Government departments are not held responsible for overspending, No individual is held accountable for screw ups, Public corporations and individuals are,But..... These are all only theoretical. In practice all evils of Government department enters these corporations through political interference. Because of assured job security Productivity is also as low as in Government set up.
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