Donald Trump US president is appointing people with a business background to key posts in his administration because he believes government would be better if it was run like a business and who better to do this than people who have run successful businesses. For a number of years management gurus have told us the public sector should learn from the private sector about how to be efficient, competitive and customer focused. Governments of both the left and right have for years stated the public sector should be more business like. It seems logical then for local government to follow Donald Trumpt's example and recruit people with a background in industry and commerce to fill senior posts. Of course you would have to pay them more!
The most efficient, competitive and customer focused industry in Western Europe , North America and probably probably the rest of the world is the drug trade. The illegal drug trade is very profitable. Exactly how profitable can only be estimated as "companies" don't publish their performance figures or pay taxes. But there is evidence that every stage of the business offers sufficient profit for people to take considerable risks with their own safety and liberty? Despite the industries high mortality rate there is no shortage of young ambitious people keen to get involved.
The business is made up of those who produce the product and those who those who distribute and sell at a local level. Production costs are low and whilst transporting the product requires creativity and high levels of security distributors are prepared to pay a heavy premium for top quality products. Distributors operate within highly structured and localised hierarchies and they protect their local markets furiously. Complex and highly efficient distribution net works ensure that the product is available in every neighbourhood. The industry is know for incentivising staff. Industrial relations are rarely an issue, the workforce is not unionised and there are no formal contracts of employment, however hostile take overs and mergers are frequent. Management styles are typically autocratic and dissent is taken as personnel disloyalty to the boss, frequently resulting in termination. Strict rules on confidentiality and an obsession with commercial sensitivity contribute to a culture of secrecy where information is on a strictly need to know bases. Profitability is further increased by very effective tax avoidance schemes. Whilst legal problems are not uncommon high profit margins mean substantial sums are available to the top players to resolve issues.
It is clear that these "business" skills would transfer to the public sector given the right climate and a brief to do deals. Many major players would be very interested in moving into the public sector in areas like waste disposal, building maintenance, property management, construction projects and road repairs
If we truly want the public sector to be run like a business, be ruthlessly efficient and ferociously competitive as well as customer focused then there are " business men" out there who could get the job done.