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Small Enterprise Test

No, not quite the Kobayashi Maru test, but close.
  (+3, -2)
(+3, -2)
  [vote for,

Those individuals aspiring to the higher levels of public office (regional and above) must, before taking office, pass the Small Enterprise Test.

The candidate is given control of a small enterprise, capable of being run by one person. This will typically be a small general store or corner shop, which is currently well run and self-supporting.

This establishment will be leased for a period of 6 months from the normal owner/enterpreneur, who will be guaranteed an appropriate income during the period in question.

The aspiring politico has to run the shop for six months, supporting themselves on the income, and definitely not making a loss.

At the conclusion fo this period, the owner resumes control. Should business have declined, a compensation scheme will ensure that the establishment resumes profitability.

Any candidate who proves incapable of running a small enterprise for six months at at least break-even is permanently disqualifed* from standing for public office.

Allowance will be made by the asessment committee for circumstances beyond the control of the candidate. However, an economic downturn or a sudden change on customer pattern is NOT grounds for special treatment; the candidate must demonstrate initiative and flexibility in the face of such problems.

*by being shot in the base of the skull with a 12-gauge shotgun.

8th of 7, Jul 03 2011

Kobayashi Maru http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Kobayashi_Maru
Starfleet training exercise [8th of 7, Jul 03 2011]

Whelk Stalls: http://www.democrat...0643&mesg_id=251095
Is this not what they are for? [pertinax, Jul 09 2011]

rendered stateless http://m.bbc.com/news/uk-30091265
[not_morrison_rm, Nov 19 2014]


       "So, professor Hawking, your bid to help shape the future of science in England was rejected?"

<Stephen Hawking voice>"Of all the challenges which lie before us, that of maintaining an adequate supply of baked goods in the face of stochastic consumer demand in a finite and bounded retail environment is perhaps one we shall never conquer."<\shv>
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2011

       This Idea won't work, because many successful businesspeople too-fully embrace the part of capitalism that involves borrowing (to raise capital). They will then use that capital to earn income to pay back the borrowings. But governments are NOT businesses; they do not earn their income. Which means there is nothing except gathering-of-taxes to pay back the borrowings.   

       You need a completely different test, to keep both the business failures and the business successes out of office!
Vernon, Jul 04 2011

       I agree with [Vernon]. A government is not private enterprise, and problems arise when it tries to behave as if it is.
spidermother, Jul 04 2011

       What concerns me about this is that i think a concern which folds due to incompetence is permanently lost to the owner. They might be able to build something up but it'd be pretty soul-destroying for that to happen.
nineteenthly, Jul 04 2011

       //Any candidate who proves incapable [...] is permanently disqualifed from standing for public office.//   

       I'm not sure about this. I can see the wisdom of making sure we've got a decent supply of public officials who understand small businesses, but there are other things in a typical country too, such as (here in the UK) public transport, education, health services etc, and we could do with a few experts on these other things too.   

       (It still gets a [+] though.)   

       //A government is not private enterprise//   

       But a government has to govern a country containing many things, one of which is private enterprise. Surely that government will be able to do its job better if it has a better understanding of the things it's trying to govern?
Wrongfellow, Jul 04 2011

       Definitely, but I don't want my government to have (for example) a profit motive, or a desire for growth. Governments are useful in that they can do things that are not profitable, and therefore would not be done by private enterprise.   

       I think it would be great to have more politicians who have successfully run or even started a small business; but an organisation that has a business mentality, has the law on its side, and can demand money without the need for a consensual contract, is a nightmare.
spidermother, Jul 04 2011

       [Vernon] & [spidermother] are right to question whether government is like business. It seems even more doubtful (pace Margaret Thacher) that government is like *small* business.   

       (Harry S Truman was an *unsuccessful* small businessman. Famously described by his critics as a "failed haberdasher.")   

       Following [Wrongfellow] one could require that electoral candidates exhibit prior experience in *some* field other than politics (or the law). Business is hardly the only one meeting the //able to do its job better if it has a better understanding// criterion. But this is already true: those who posess such experience tout it, and the voters can attach whatever value they like.
mouseposture, Jul 04 2011

       //I don't want my government to have (for example) a profit motive, or a desire for growth.//   

       But wouldn't you like it to understand the concerns of those who do?
Wrongfellow, Jul 04 2011

spidermother, Jul 04 2011

       [Wrongfellow] following your lead, I was going to suggest that the government include not only more business owners, but also e.g. more generals, farmers, engineers & doctors. And I got to thinking about doctors, and realized that they don't merely *understand* the needs of their profession, they also *sympathize* a great deal with those needs. Bias would be inevitable. The same for other professions, prolly. In general, the problem is with separating knowledge of a subject from identification with it. But this leads us in the direction of professional managers, professional lawyer/legislators, and professional politicians generally.
mouseposture, Jul 04 2011

       How will this help us get politicians who really understand the environment, justice, crime, policing, prison reform, terrorism and foreign policy?
hippo, Jul 04 2011

       There are already a few restrictions on eligibility for standing in the (UK) Parliament, and a couple of them (criminals and bankrupts) are related to your past behaviour. It might, therefore, not be too much of a stretch to create a list of "past behaviour" exclusionary criteria (or positive requirements) designed to stem the flow of chinless PPE grads/semi-literate unionite rabble-rousers and forge instead a Daily Mail-approved Parliament of the middle-middle class.   

       Q1: Are you now, or have you at any time been:
an oik
riff raff
calum, Jul 04 2011

       Re: Harry S. Truman --it happens that Abraham Lincoln also failed in business (possibly more than one, but I don't recall for sure) before he became a lawyer. Perhaps I should amend my prior anno, so that, while the successes are prohibited, the failures might be given a different test. After all, why did they fail? Were they too compassionate to not take advantage of their customers, like the successes do?
Vernon, Jul 04 2011

       Failure in business is no bar to high achievement in politics, clearly. In fact, it's no bar to high achievement in business.   

       What Lincoln and Truman may have had in common with successful small business owners is persistence, optimism, and the flexibility to try something different next time.   

       (And, by the way, no "." after the "S" in Truman's name. Sorry, couldn't resist.)
mouseposture, Jul 04 2011

       What Lincoln & Truman had in common, along with almost everyone else who attains high office (even at the point of a gun), is the ability to bore everyone else to tears with their opinions and persuade people that they were worth voting for or, at least, that voting for the other guy was a waste of a vote. This seems to me to have a lot in common with the small shopkeepers (that is, the keepers of small shops not shopkeepers who are physically small) with whom I associate on occasion so, if you remove the pointless financial targets from this idea, + from me as this idea effectively keeps politicians out of office for another 6 months. And hoorah to that, I say!

//How will this help us get politicians who really understand [etc]...//

Nope, you've lost me there, hippo.
DrBob, Jul 04 2011

       A business can fire unproductive employees. A state cannot fire it's citizens.
MechE, Nov 19 2014

       ^ Oh yes it can...see how to be rendered stateless...
not_morrison_rm, Nov 19 2014

       I thought the point of the Kobayashi Maru test was that it was done, at least in simulation, with a full- size Enterprise?
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 20 2014

       Yes. Which is why this isn't the Kobayashi Maru test, just a derivative.   

       We did say that right at the start.
8th of 7, Nov 22 2014


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