Most people believe that our political system is a public institution with high-minded principles and impartial rules derived from the Constitution. In reality, it has become a private industry dominated by a textbook duopoly—the Democrats and the Republicans—and plagued and perverted by unhealthy competition between the players. Tragically, it has therefore become incapable of delivering solutions to America's key economic and social challenges. In fact, there's virtually no connection between our political leaders solving problems and getting reelected.
In The Politics Industry, Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter take a radical new approach. They ingeniously apply the tools of business analysis—and Porter's distinctive Five Forces framework—to show how the political system functions just as every other competitive industry does, and how the duopoly has led to the devastating outcomes we see today.
Using this competition lens, Gehl and Porter identify the most powerful lever for change—a strategy comprised of a clear set of choices in two key areas: how our elections work and how we make our laws. Their bracing assessment and practical recommendations cut through the endless debate about various proposed fixes, such as term limits and campaign finance reform. The result: true political innovation.
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About the Authors
Michael E. Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School. He was named a University Professor by Harvard’s president in 2000. Porter is the author of nineteen books, including Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, On Competition, and Redefining Health Care, as well as countless articles in both scholarly and non-scholarly publications. He lives in Boston.
Katherine M. Gehl is a business leader, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. She is the founder of the Institute for Political Innovation and the CEO of Venn Innovations, focused on new thinking about intractable problems. Gehl was formerly president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250 million high-tech food manufacturer. She holds degrees from Notre Dame, Catholic University, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Wisconsin with her two children.
About Stephen R. Thorne
Stephen R. Thorne, winner of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration, is a professional actor and member of the resident acting company at Providence’s esteemed Trinity Repertory Company, where he has played Hamlet, Henry V, and Tom Joad.