U.S. Lawmaker Wishes World Governments Would Run Like Apple

U.S. Lawmaker Wishes World Governments Would Run Like Apple

Is it fair to compare the progress of international deal-making among government policymakers to the innovation cycle of a technology company headed by a man known as the company despot?

Perhaps not, but fairness and logic are not things that have ever stopped a politician from using a statistic, image or number to make a point.

During a Wednesday morning House hearing on boosting U.S. job growth through free trade, California Republican Mary Bono Mack (yes, Sonny Bono’s widow) berated the U.S. policymaking community for dragging its heels when it comes to completing free trade agreements.

Bono Mack, a noted member of the Cult of Mac, used Apple’s production cycle as a yard-stick to measure the lack of progress in completing any free trade agreements in the past few years.

In 2007, Apple introduced its first iPhone and Congress finally approved the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement after years of give-and-take. Since then, there have been three new generations of iPhones, two iPads and several new nano iPods — but not a single free trade agreement signed into law. Not one. So while American ingenuity zips along at millions of bits per second, America’s trade policies are stuck in the fax age. It’s time for an upgrade. Our subcommittee has a unique opportunity to roll out a new model for the future and to demonstrate leadership on this critically-important issue. But time is running out.

The speed at which Apple’s management teams operate is the envy of all in the business world: Just the other day, I was having a discussion with a friend who was privately admiring the speed at which the small teams over there make decisions.

It’s a gift, and hard to pull off, but comparing it to policymaking that affects the fates of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world, not to mention the complex politics associated with these kinds of deals just seems a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps a more appropriate comparison might have been with the time it took to create the North American Free Trade Agreement. That took six years in itself.

The ultimate irony of the use of Apple in Bono’s opening statement for the hearing is that the manufacturing for Apple’s products doesn’t even occur in the United States.

  • GH

    2001 iPhone?

    huh?

  • imajoebob

    Peruvians are willing to pay steep tariffs to purchase certain Apple products, which helps both the US and Peru. And not a single American job had to be outsourced to Peru.

  • SavedByTechnology

    Just like “dragging its heals”. Could the ‘author’ verify the quote AND proofread her story?

  • Alex

    “U.S. Lawmaker Wishes World Governments Would Run Like Apple”

    Like secretive dictatorships ? No thanks, I think we already have a few too many of those …

  • GQB

    As much as I love Apple, what a typical load od crap from the republican queen of nepotism.
    Governments are not and should not be run as corporations. By definition, they exist to benefit everyone, while corporations exist only to make a profit. There arent 2 more diametrically opposed goals.
    I’m so tired of that old cliché.

  • FS

    Yes, a state-controlled economy runes by a führer (in the good sense) =)

  • Al

    Cough cough.

    I’m sorry, but knowing how incredibly complex and delicate is the process of ascending a state into the EU, the very idea of taking less than a few years to create something like a free trade agreement is bizarre. It cannot and should not be done!

    As Sarah correctly states in this article, Free trade agreements can influence the lives of millions, in countless ways you may not anticipate, and change the geo-political landscape in the process. If you get it wrong, unemployment and even war could potentially result.

    Somehow I don’t think the same was true of when Steve Jobs decided to move iPods onto USB.

    Sure, governments have their inefficiencies, and maybe they could learn a few lessons from private corporations. But I Mrs Mack perhaps could have used a more appropriate example.

  • chano

    digging in its ‘heals’?
    Really?

  • GHo5t

    There are numerous glaring falicies that run counter to Ms. Mack’s basis premise. However, the primary reason for her comparison is to gain face time and print for herself and her cause through the use of hyperbole.

    Imagine if you will the mess a Congress designed iPad or any other Apple product would look like.

    Naive, No. Calculated, Maybe. Typical politician, absolutely.

About the author

Sarah Lai Stirland

Sarah Lai Stirland is from the gadget and status-crazed island of Hong Kong, where even sampan drivers enjoy showing off their latest gizmos. Sarah's work has appeared in Congress Daily, National Journal, POLITICO, Portfolio.com, Red Herring, The Village Voice, and Wired.com, among other places. She now lives with her husband, cat and her young gadget-obsessed, button-pushing daughter in San Francisco. Follow Sarah on Twitter at @LaiStirland

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