Why Industry Hesitates to Partner with Government
Industry and government are not natural partners. The job of industry is to make money for shareholders. The function of government is to support civil society and, as a corollary, support the infrastructure industry requires so that the economy can grow and thrive.
But industry by its nature is rarely generous and sharing. And so government is almost always in opposition to the desires of enterprise to do whatever it takes to maximize profits so on the one side, industry is accountable to the shareholders and government is responsible to the electorate.
Industry wants absolute freedom to act, government needs to control industry to develop a fair and accessible economy and society.
Beyond this government needs to be elected and there are far more voters than there are shareholders. Naturally, when it comes to sharing costs such as electrical power or water or transportation, government prefers to load it on industry.
Industry feels that unfair overheads from government limit their productivity and reduce income for the whole nation. Let the battle begin.
Industry must have a long term view. It needs to anticipate what technologies would be needed and how markets would change. Government needs money all the time, exists at the will of the electorate and must reapply for its own job every 4 to 6 years. This does not led to comfortable relationships.
Industry is always looking for new markets and once the removal of all tariffs that limit its access to the growth markets in other countries. Voters think tariff walls protect their jobs and tariffs are set with international deals. You can't have high tariff walls in your country when you want low tariff walls in everyone else's so we have a constant debate between government and enterprise.
Industry wants the lowest input cost possible. Government needs input costs that reflect environmental problems, fair wages, reasonable revenue for government services, and surcharge to industry to share the social costs of living in a caring society. There is natural conflict in this area.
Industry requires a skilled workforce with constant support for changing technology and the major cost of workforce upgrading. Government must ensure the accessibility of the education system In Which the majority aspire to collars of white and not uniforms of blue.
Government is led by academics and lawyers and social activists. Industry is led by accountants, engineers and marketers. Finding common ground or shared understanding can be a battle field. In countries with strong cultures and a strong central ethnic tradition, cooperation between industry and government has a reasonable handed for success based on a history of shared values. Germany Japan or Korea.
Balancing social and economic components is a never ending chess game. There is no permanent balance in any country. The negotiations are continuous, usually invisible but sometimes marked with civil strife.
Economic communities come and go as the balance shifts. Treaties rise and fall. Economic philosophies gain power and are then shattered. The tale of government and industry is one of the most exciting contests in all of history.