"The average American doesn't realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists" to protect incumbent interests, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Atlantic editor James Bennet at the Washington Ideas Forum. "It's shocking how the system actually works."
In a wide-ranging interview that spanned human nature, the future of machines, and how Google could have helped the stimulus, Schmidt said technology could "completely change the way government works."
"Washington is an incumbent protection machine," Schmidt said. "Technology is fundamentally disruptive." Mobile phones and personal technology, for example, could be used to record the bills that members of Congress actually read and then determine what stimulus funds were successfully spent.
Schmidt pushed back on the claim that the White House doesn't understand business. He acknowledged that the American business community distrusts the administration, but he said the criticism are mostly about tone. He also brushed off the idea that the White House needs more business executives as an argument about "symbolism" rather than substance.
On the hot topic of China versus America, he made an pithy distinction between what makes the world's leading powers uniquely successful. America is a bottoms-up entrepreneurial engine, and China is more like "a well-run large business."