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GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS INEXTRICABLY TIED

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It is easy to forget how closely linked business is with the success or failure of government and how what the government does - or doesn't do - can affect business activity.

It is also easy to be cynical about government and government officials, since "politics" is the name of the game and often self-interest is taken to mean the best interest of constituencies.Or as Will Rogers observed, the American people have the best senators and congressmen that money can buy.

Others have taken note of government and its usefulness. Some have viewed that usefulness as limited.

An anonymous writer once observed, "Before this government came to power we were on the edge of an economic precipice. Since then we have taken a great step forward."

Yet most would recognize that government is necessary. The Greek philosopher Plato understood that when he wrote "a state comes into existence because no individual is self-sufficing. We all have many needs."

And the American revolutionary Thomas Paine believed that "government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one" - clearly the rule of King Geroge III was viewed as the latter.

In recent years, especially under the Reagan administration, the belief has been fostered that less government is good government. This is not a new idea. The 19th century English philospher and economist John Stuart Mill wrote:

"In all the more advanced communities the great majority of things are worse done by the intervention of government, than the individuals most interested in the matter would do them, or cause them to be done, if left to themselves."

Some have noted that government can be more a part of the problem than the solution and that in terms of economic policy, governments cannot be objective parties.

The 20th century economist James B. Ramsey has written that "government should see that the economic game is played vigorously and according to the rules. But the referee cannot also play, for who will then referee the referee?"

Does government do more harm than good in the areas of buisness, finance and economics? Probably not. The 20th century economist Os-kar Morganstern took the middle road when he wrote "Wisdom and stupidity in matters of economic policy are not linked with particular forms of government."

And the 18th century Scottish economist Adam Smith noted with relief that "though the profusion of government must, undoubtedly, have retarded the natural progress of England toward wealth and improvement, it has not been able to stop it."

When all is said and done, government will continue to exist and the business world will continue to work with them. But when things go smoothly, it should not be assumed that things are working.

Or as President John F. Kennedy observed: "My experience in government is that when things are non-controversial, beautifully coordinated and all the rest, it must be that there is not much going on."