Business: Economics
Government Business   (+3, -6)  [vote for, against]
I have been playing around with this idea for some time now.

The government gets its money through taxes. What came to me was, why hasn't anyone thought of this before?

Government develops business branches of the government, these branches create products to sell. The public buys these products. It's better than taxes!

Whole new technologies could be developed! Like what NASA has developed that has been used in commercial products.

All the porfit would go to the government, and help clear up that international debt issue. It's time the government stop relyin completely on the people for rebuilding, the production of vehicles and ammunition etc. .

There could be govenment contractors, that could build part of your house for you. Government toy companies, government electronics companies, the possibilities are endless!
-- EvilPickels, Oct 23 2005

The what?

There is a lot of tech transfer from dozens of US government agencies to companies.
-- bristolz, Oct 23 2005

Mixing government and business has a very clear time proven outcomes ... corruption and waste. There is nothing wrong with government providing services to the taxpayers - this works well in many countries as long as the balance between the private and public sector is just right. But you propose that government starts being motivated by profit ... that will lead to major problems.
-- ixnaum, Oct 23 2005

The generic term for this is "State-Owned Enterprises", SOEs.

For example, New Zealand owns six different power companies, one aviation information service company, an educational publishing house.

Postal and railway systems are frequently owned by countries. Sometimes, countries get involved with marketing their natural resources; for instance, Aluminum Bahrain. One reason that oil prices are currently high were riots in Ecuador over who gets to benefit from the money that comes in from the state's sale of the country's oil. (The government suspended sales in response.)

Many countries own banks that compete with other, independently owned banks. Countries also sometimes offer "bonds" that compete with other financial instruments.
-- jutta, Oct 23 2005

Lets say that the US govt owned a fast food chain. Would you trust the average govt worker to wash his hands? Do you think that you would get your food in a timely manner? Would the employees be motivated to give you good service?
-- Jscotty, Oct 24 2005

Hold on a minute - this thought has crossed my mind to. Why don't we have sucessfully run governmental businesses?

[JScotty], [Jurist] and others, you imply that because a business is owned by a government, that employees will have no motivation. Why is this? What motivation does an employee have when they are working in order to make someone else rich?

I think this could work (especially if the businesses were considered separate to the Civil Service, and wages and personell run on a private model) - Further, I think this could work fantastically well.

However, it might be a better bet if the Govt were to invest a bunch of cash in home-grown businesses. Were it to purchase minority shares in its top 1000 companies, it would have a natural interest in maintaining long-term growth in the economy, moving away from boom and bust tax hikes/cuts, keeping the business environment, the national debt, and other economic factors on the straight and narrow.
-- zen_tom, Oct 24 2005

For why this is so wrong, see under China.
-- DrCurry, Oct 24 2005

//see under China//

Too bad we (the US) will soon owe them $1 trillion USD.

I've pondered a min. or two the thought that it might save some money to have the Armed Forces actually build thier own stuff.

The Gov't Pickle company!
-- Zimmy, Oct 24 2005

Sorry [Jurist] my mistake - I've grown used to people using the words "China", "USSR", "Socialist" and "Communist" as inappropriate, derogatory or generally negative comments - and I'm transferring the ignorance of my colleagues onto you guys, for that I apologise, and am preparing to book myself in for a course of de-capitalistic propaganda therapy.
-- zen_tom, Oct 24 2005

My reference to China is as a post-Communist state (or whatever it is these days), where the Red Army owns many businesses and contracts are not worth a damn.
-- DrCurry, Oct 24 2005

//govenment contractors//

sp: government, but that’s besides the point. This designation is taken. It’s for non-governmental companies / people who perform work for the government, not the other way around.
-- Shz, Oct 24 2005

The government in the US, as it has evolved, is the "business" of managing the nation's money supply and of negotiating over national interests at the federal level, negotiating over accountability in the judiciary and in the local levels, and of delegating law enforcement power. This government has one product, money, over which it has productive (seinorage), operational (the Reserve), and distributive control. The government is responsible to its consumers, thus its product is warranted and carries other guarantees such as dividend imputation so that to tender or to bear it does not constitute a taxable exchange of goods.

No private company offers a product with these claims; but, if one did, the government could not compete against it in the free market because such markets eliminate the least efficient participant.
-- reensure, Oct 25 2005

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