Why does private industry always outperform government?

I was watching Interstellar on a plane the other day. It’s an awesome movie and if you’re a parent it’s a powerful representation of the love we have for our children, a love that transcends time and space. This line in the movie sums up not only why robots won’t replace humans (you don’t need to worry about that any more), but why business owners have an unfair advantage:

“You know why we couldn’t just send machines on these missions, don’t you, Cooper? A machine doesn’t improvise well, because you can’t program the fear of death. Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration. Take you for example; father, with a survival instinct that extends to your kids. What does research tell us is the last thing you’re gonna see before you die? Your children. Their faces. At the moment of death, your mind is gonna push a little bit harder to survive. For them.”

Private industry will always outperform government because we have a fear of ‘death’, and government has a fear of not being re-elected.

There’s no comparison.

The fact that you fear what could go wrong, what would put you out of business, the fact you are aware that only 4% of businesses are ultimately successful, the fact that you know you are many decisions away from success and only one away from total ruin; that is your strength.

Our survival instinct is one of our greatest assets, if we listen to it.

So embrace the fear, feel the fear let it take you to the depths of what you are capable of, then find new depths.

Government and people in large corporates don't fear ‘death’, they fear losing their jobs. That drives selfish behaviour to look out for themselves, not their country or their organisation, and that’s weak.

Your fear, your survival instinct, is powerful beyond measure if you allow it to be.