I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.
The irrational fear of Ebola has thrust the competence of our government into the spotlight. While some conservative voices would point at the failing of government, I believe their aim is both spot on, and completely wrong. We don’t have a failure of government, we have a failing of governance both private and public. The problems with Ebola are exemplars of incompetence from both government and business with both contributing greatly to the debacle in Dallas.
The greater issue is the general crisis in governance in our country. No one seems to be able to do anything right. Government is ineffective and wasteful. Business is amoral and unethical. Neither should be acceptable. The only thing we are doing with any competence is directing more and more of our societal wealth into the hands of a very select few. This is being done in an intrinsically amoral and unethical manner despite its explicit legality since the laws are basically for sale.
It might be nice if the key issue in politics were associated with fixing our society-wide incompetence. We need competence and effective governance from both private and public entities. I would argue that the problem is an unhealthy focus on the individual rather than the overall society. The narrow definition of success associated with the combination of short-term gains and organizational locality are making every decision tactical. This tactical decision-making benefits very few and leads to outcomes that hurt society at the large scale.
In business this produces choices that give shareholders the option of cashing out while destroying jobs, and the future of companies. In government this looks like buck passing and the CYA culture. Together they equal the web of mistakes that made the Dallas Ebola case so much worse. Make no mistake this case is the combination of profit focused medicine coupled with a lack of proper government execution. For example the profit motive is one of the main reasons we don’t have more effective medicines for treating diseases like Ebola. There is little or no profit to made there despite its potential importance to society or its destructive potential. The core problem is a lack of outrage about the overall lack of competence in governance. This is the thing we should be fixing and it is a completely bipartisan problem.
We should be demand competent thoughtful governance from both the private and public sectors. The outcomes need to balance the good of the individual and society as a whole. We need to explicitly reject the governance that only benefits a precious few. In the long run a more balanced approach will lead to a far better future for everyone including those few who take nearly all the benefits today.
Selfishness and greed, individual or national, cause most of our troubles.