Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Andre Burnett | The business of politics

Published:Friday | October 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM
André Burnett

A rudimentary definition of business could be any activity that involves the exchange of value for a service.

Is there anything in your life that could not be defined as a business? What do you involve yourself in that there is no exchange of value in?

I'm betting on nothing.

You might disagree at first and posit examples that support your disagreement, but it depends on how you define value. Time is valuable and your usage of time is directly proportional to the amount of money you make. And the amount of money you have and make are integral to every single thing in your life.

At a certain level, business becomes commerce and commerce is every single institution that exists.

Think politics, for example.

Running a country is a commercial activity, and political parties are simply two different management agencies vying for control. The main party itself could almost be called the marketing depart-ment and the various advertising agencies that they use.

Selling a vote is frowned upon, but giving it away for free is a long-term investment. If you're not benefiting from voting with a wad of cash, then you should be voting on which management agency has the most ability to repay your investment in the short, medium and long term.

If your major political actions are vigorous discussions and then voting for the same party, regardless of what those discussions put forward, then that's not a sensible investment. In my opinion, anyway.

But if you think of yourself as a shareholder who gets a chance to vote in a board meeting held every four years, then you realise a couple of things.

Your one vote doesn't actually mean much when it comes down to really making a difference.

The only way to ensure your investment - time, etc - repays you is to convince a bunch of other people to invest in the same thing as you. People who actively campaign are more valuable than your single vote that you're contributing just because you grew up that way.

Decide on the best way to be a part of the earning equation in the business of running the country by picking the most qualified people to benefit you.

To some short-sighted people, that will be the ones who take the cash. One party has a message about taking cash but still voting the other way. Those people might be the ones benefiting the most out of this whole thing with immediate gratification and a long-term investment that they believe in.

And if it sounds like I'm kinda not too opposed to people selling their votes, it's because I'm more opposed to the people who are providing the money to buy them. If we stop that guerrilla marketing and there is no money being offered, then no money can be taken either. Or no?

If we're going to live in a life defined by business and commerce, we should at least aim to not always be the customer.

Andre Burnett is a creative strategist and managing director of Muse 360 Integrated.