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Complete Historical Prospective on Public Control of Business

Business was an activity focused on the market place. As merchants bought and sold
merchandise, wealth accumulated throughout the realm. Parliaments were organized to help the
monarch collect taxes. Its members testified to the tax-producing capacity of areas which they
represented. This branch of government grew in power. The Puritan revolution of the mid 17th
century and the American and French revolutions of the late 18th century deposed the king in
favor of parliamentary government. It was the culminating act of a new civilization.

Where the king had derived his authority from God, the authority of parliament rested upon
popular elections. The democratic method of selecting a ruler reflects mechanisms of the
marketplace. The outcome - election to a position in government - is the result of a contest
between competing candidates supported by voters who exercise their individual judgment. In a
like manner, free markets allow individuals to determine prices and quantities of commercial
products by their separate decisions to buy or sell. Money and votes are the media through which
important decisions are made in the third civilization.

In the United States, the politics of the new democratic republic took the form of a struggle
between rich merchants, traders, and bankers on the east coast and farmers and workers who were
settling the western territories. President Andrew Jackson's decision not to recharter the national
bank brought this politics into sharp focus. During the period of "Jacksonian democracy", labor
unions arose as working people organized around the struggle for a shorter working day. In the
1880s, labor's campaign for the 8-hour day gave rise to the international holiday known as May
Day. Labor unions were organized at the level of the business firm to bargain with employers.
Also, a labor-friendly political movement appeared in the form of international socialism (or

Socialist politics represented an extreme tipping of the political scales against business.
Government used its monopoly of force to expropriate private property and put it into collective
hands. Government took over the ownership and management of business often without
compensating the previous owners. Worse yet, the communists used physical violence against
property owners as when Stalin liquidated the kulaks of Russia and the Ukraine. In the power
struggle between private businesses and government, socialism put the balance of power
completely in favor of government.

As we know, the socialist regime known as the Soviet Union became an ideological rival to
nations which had capitalistic economies and a democratic form of government. In the latter
nations, some balance was maintained between business and government. The Soviet bloc
engaged in a costly arms race with the western democracies which eventually led to the downfall
of the Soviet Union. President Reagan shrewdly pushed that nation into bankruptcy by its need to
respond to his "Star Wars" initiative. Communist society was also showing internal strains, both
economic and moral. The totalitarian government which resulted from destruction of the rival
commercial and religious power centers practiced brutal acts against its own people. Today this
form of government is largely discredited.
With the fall of the Soviet Union and other communist governments in the late 1980s, the United
States became the world's only military superpower. Our nation came to dominate the world
politically, culturally, and economically. In the power struggle between business and government,
the pendulum now swung the other way. The communist menace was defeated. Organized labor
also went into political decline.

I attribute this decline, in part, to the fact that labor abandoned the struggle to reduce work hours.
That had been its mission in a time when the unions were built. Those battles won, union
members saw the overtime provision as an opportunity to earn more money than a deterrent to
scheduling long hours of work. Also, labor hopped aboard the Civil Rights movement, the
women's movement, and the immigrant-rights movement, casting a blind eye on the weakening of
the solidarity principle upon which its strength had been based. A defining moment occurred
when President Reagan, himself a former union president, fired the striking air-traffic controllers
and broke their union.

At the same time, business began to squeeze government for favors. Changes in election law
allowed business to form political-action committees, undoing a previous rule that corporations
could not contribute to political candidates. Business lobbyists, as well as lobbyists from other
interest groups, swarmed Washington and the fifty state capitols seeking an advantage for their
clients. Public office was linked with this type of influence-peddling job in a revolving door.
Business influence increased with the increasing amount of money donated to political candidates
and the thick presence of lobbyists. Elected officials were forced to solicit campaign
contributions to keep up with the escalating cost of elections. They were begging for someone to
buy them. And buyers were not hard to find.

It used to be that the news media would communicate information about government activities
free of charge as part of their news coverage. As journalists have inserted themselves as
gatekeepers into the news process, political candidates have been forced to communicate with
their constituents through paid advertising. The high cost of television commercials explains why
political campaigns have become so expensive and why, consequently, moneyed interests have
gained such influence over government. The television broadcasters are using a public resource
free of charge. The private companies which control the broadcasting industry have, in effect,
exercised "squatters' rights" to monopolize certain broadcast frequencies. They are now making
political candidates pay to communicate with the voters in election campaigns.

Yet, elected officials are afraid to challenge this arrangement for fear of offending the powerful
broadcast industry. Newspaper reporters increasingly cover political campaigns from the
standpoint of how much money is raised or what television commercials have been run,
suggesting that only the best-financed candidates can win elections and therefore interest their
readers. So, this corrupt relationship between journalism and moneyed interests feeds on itself.
Business, which has the most money to spend on advertising, necessarily gains the upper hand in
political affairs.

Organized labor, the main political counterweight to business, has gained an entrenched interest
in certain business firms. Over the years, union members have gained in wages and benefits to the
point that labor costs in unionized firms are out of line with costs elsewhere. Meanwhile, business
has steadily invested in labor-saving technologies, allowing its operations to be handled by a
smaller complement of workers. Proportionately fewer workers are employed in the more highly
paid union shops. As a result, the labor movement is no longer seen as a idealistic effort to
upgrade the condition of working people generally. Instead, the public increasingly regards
The Process Evolution

The three waves of process evolution since its post industrial revolution inception. The timeline
illustrates that the shaping of BPM into its present state is the result of significant business
drivers, business tools, organization development methodologies, key technological
developments, technology and measurement tools, standards, and related controls.

The latter part of the timeline sees a shift from technology as one of the main process drivers to
technology as process enabler. BPM and BPM tools are evolving as a result of the innovation,
customization, increased one-to-one customer focus, and business growth that has been caused
by consolidation and 24-hour global manufacturing and service. Technology in the form of
evolving products, combined with Internet protocols, is beginning to enable the separation of
business management from systems management, the separation of process from systems, and
the development of the context-driven process models that are essential to BPM.

Processes can now be identified in context; measured, managed, and aligned to the business –
i.e., integrated with technology; and used, in turn, to drive technology. This has led to increased
interest in the “Enterprise as an Adaptive System” concept. From this point of view, the
enterprise itself provides internal and external visibility, agility, and adaptability, based on
feedback. From a standards and control standpoint, the combination of technology protocol
standardization, quality, international standards, benchmarking practices, and Sarbanes-Oxley
controls has driven requirements to model, evaluate, report, and integrate BPM.
As far back as 1911, Frederick Taylor focused on manufacturing tasks and time/motion studies,
which were measured statistically. In order to maximize profits, the primary business drivers
were efficiency and minimized cost. An organization would focus on training its workers to
specific steps that required narrowly focused skill and endurance. Standards and controls were
mechanistic. Process drivers were maximized around distinct, insular, repeatable tasks.

However, given the business environment at that time, the business areas were intentionally

In the 1960s, technology increasingly became a business driver and amplified the speed of
change. This launched the first wave of process orientation. International (Japanese) companies
became much more competitive, due, in part, to their focus on quality improvement programs and
reduced defects. US companies started to mirror the quality approach. The combination of
process scrutiny and technological superiority lead to technology as process driver. American
business changed its operational paradigm, and the process era began.
American business scrutiny of international competition changed focus to measurable processes
and to speed that could be combined into “Just in time” manufacturing. The growing use of
computers in the 1970s and 80s combined with procedure specialization that accommodated
technological precision in fields such as nuclear power, and led to quantitative statistical software
and related data gathering techniques that measured, gathered, and interpreted results.