In the past, it was common for the people running for president to point to their military service. This did make quite a bit of sense. After all, the president is commander in chief and being a military leader can be good preparation for making tough decisions. These days people still mention their military service (if they have any) but there is an ever increasing emphasis on business backgrounds. Romney, for example, has been pushing his business expertise.
One obvious question is whether or not success in business means that a person would make a better president.
On the one hand, there are some reasons to think that this could be the case. First, being a successful business leader requires making good decisions (or being lucky). Good decision making is obviously important in a president. Second, business leadership obviously requires leadership skills and a president needs these. Third, much of politics revolves around money and finances. Someone who is a successful business leader would have such skills.
On the other hand, there are reasons to think that this would not be the case. First, business decisions are often quite different from the sort of decisions that a president needs to make. As such, the skills might not translate. Second, business leadership is often quite different from presidential leadership. Businesses are typically not democracies and business leaders are usually accustomed to simply telling people what to do (backed up with the threat of firing). The president has to deal with a rather different sort of leadership situation and hence a good business leader would not automatically be a good president. Third, much of politics involves factors other than money and finance and a business person might not have skills in these areas. Fourth, the goals of business and the goals of the state are rather different. The objective in a business is to make money and act in ways that are conducive to that end. While this can work in business, applying this model to government can be ineffective or even highly problematic. Companies engage in practices such as pump and dump, corporate raiding, firing employees, outsourcing, bundling derivatives, and so on to enhance the bottom line. However, having the state engage in such practices would be rather harmful. As such, a business person who has been trained to make money might not be the best choice to be the president. After all, the president’s job is not to make money for the state, but to lead America.
But, this seems to be rather a fit matter for discussion. So, does success in business make a person more qualified to be a competent president?