Gravity and friction

Why are some resources (in the US, at least) managed by government, while others are managed by the private sector (that is, business)?  Simply put, some resources are public by nature—roads, for example, and the armed services—and are therefore managed collectively.  Other resources—manufacturing, for example—are best run by private enterprise.

Intelligence is conducted both in the public sector (by the government), and in by private sector (by businesses and other private organizations.)  Intelligence in the public and private sectors, though similar in many respects, operates under very different sets of “value” assumptions and rules, respectively.  In the public sector, it is the case that everything has been mandated or otherwise agreed to be in the public, collective benefit.  You must do it, it’s the law.  Although fiscal responsibility is certainly important, it is not the overriding goal of government to turn a profit.

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    COMPETING IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY is written by Timothy Powell, an independent researcher and consultant in knowledge strategy. Tim is president of The Knowledge Agency® (TKA) and serves on the faculty of Columbia University's Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) graduate program.

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