Is there a Steve Jobs of government?

Larry Ribstein —  6 October 2011

No, at least not in the U.S.

And this is a good thing, rather than a reflection on the quality of people who enter the two fields of business and government.

In business, investors want to delegate power to executives, especially to imaginative executives like Steve Jobs.  Letting investors do this entails potential costs.  But Steve Jobs’s life reminds us why the costs of the occasional error are worth incurring, particularly given efficient markets and portfolio diversification.

In government, the people want to make sure that government works for them.  This hampers creativity, but democracy is more important.

Imposing more bureaucracy and investor democracy on business will mean fewer Steve Jobs’s.  As we celebrate the incredible amount of value he created, let’s remember the other influential entrepreneurs and try not to forget the conditions that enable them to flourish.

 

 

 

Larry Ribstein

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Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law