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Schumpeter: Fixing common affairs

January 31, 2013

KARL MARX dismissed ?the executive of the modern state? as nothing more than a ?committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie?. To which the only sensible response from a bourgeois perspective is: if only. These days most businesspeople have to stand in line with other supplicants for an audience with their political masters. And when their time finally comes they discover not a sleek ?committee? cunningly representing their interests, but an antiquated shambles. Too many governments cannot cope with 19th-century problems like rail routes let alone 21st-century ones like cyber-security.Bad government is one of business?s biggest problems. In the rich world it is too burdensome. In the poor one it is too patchy. And everywhere it is too slow and inflexible, hogtied by vested interests and red tape, or hijacked by ideological zealots. What can be done to turn government into Marx?s admirable ?committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie?? Business folk have a long list of reforms in their back pockets. But three ideas deserve particular attention.One is to focus on fixing the most dysfunctional institutions, which...

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