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LWT Puerto Rico.png

John Oliver Shows Us What Happens When A Government Is Run Like A Business (Spoiler: Civilization Crumbles)

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | April 25, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | April 25, 2016 |

The next time one of your asshole friends says they think the government should be run “like a business,” go ahead and play them this video.

Because this is what happens when things are run like a business. Through a lot of bullshit and tax code, we’ve managed to essentially destroy Puerto Rico. You know what happens when the government of an area either opts or is pushed into not protecting basic services for their citizens? That state ceases to exist. Because privatizing the form of these services doesn’t negate the nature of the services. Maintained roads, functioning schools and hospitals, protective police and fire services; we don’t have those just because they’re fulfilling basic human needs. We have them because those are the goddamn building blocks to civilization itself.

Which is the other big difference between businesses and governments: we can’t just decide to shut down civilization. I mean, clearly we can since we’re trying to do that. But shutting down a civilization isn’t the same as shutting down a division of a company. Namely that when you shut down the entire functioning infrastructure of a region people start dying and shit. And we as a species have spent the past few thousand years deciding that people just dying in the streets is a bad thing and trying to figure out how to prevent that. The real secret to all of this is that we’ve already tried running governments like businesses and decided that it sucked shit. We’ve improved the lives of normal citizens not because we’re bleeding heart liberals and not because we’re “losers,” but because it turns out it’s actually better for everyone this way.

Or consider it this way: if we tell the hedge funds to fuck off because they’re just not going to get this money, what’s the worst thing that happens? I mean the absolute worst. The hedge funds shuts down? The individual employees lose their jobs? If they’re highly in debt, they have to declare bankruptcy? And if they’re literally out of options, they need to take advantage of government programs that supplement their basic needs until they can find other work? Then that’s till a significantly better option than telling Puerto Rico just to get by with fewer hospitals.

And don’t forget, if you ever find yourself siding with hedge funds and against Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’ve done something really wrong.