Privatization

”The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
‘The myth of private-sector superiority has three components that feed off and reinforce one another. First, that the private sector is always dynamic and best; second, that the public sector is costly and inefficient; and third, the conclusion that everyone benefits from the continual incremental privatization of the public sphere. All three elements are false.’ Andrew Simms, British author and campaigner
Privatization ideology softens people up to accommodate the rule of markets. It encourages them to welcome financial capital as a servant of financial capitalists and forget its role as a servant of democratic peoples and their interests. It reverses the traditional logic of social contract thinking on which America was founded and on which an international order must be founded as well. Rather than privilege the power of a common will and public goods over the anarchy of private power, it celebrates private power unencumbered by law, regulation, or government. It insists that freedom is secured not through cultivating justice and the law but by assuring their absence. It denies vehemently the traditional wisdom behind America’s historical devotion to multilateralism and international institution building. Thus, it ignores the “the secret of the United States’ long brilliant run as the world’s leading state,” described by G. John Ikenberry as “its ability and willingness to exercised power within alliances and multinational frameworks, which made its power and agenda more acceptable to allies and other key states around the world” Fear's Empire, War, Terrorism, and Democracy: Benjamin R, Barber
‘Privatization means you take a public institution and give it to an unaccountable tyranny. Public institutions have many side benefits. They’re not out for profit. They may purposely run at a loss because of the side benefits. So, for example, if a public steel industry runs at a loss it’s providing cheap steel to other industries. Maybe that’s a good thing. Public institutions can have a counter-cyclic property. So that means that they can maintain employment in periods of recession, which increases demand, which helps you to get out of recession. Private companies can’t do that in a recession. Throw out the work force because that’s the way you make money.’ Noam Chomsky, speaking in the film The Corporation (2003).
‘People often don’t understand the engine that drives corruption. Particularly in India, they assume government equals corruption, private companies equal efficiency. But government officials are not genetically programmed to be corrupt. Corruption is linked to power. If it is the corporations that are powerful, then they will be corrupt.’ Arundhati Roy, Indian author and public intellectual

Why Do Republicans Really Oppose Infrastructure Spending ? (5/15/2015)

Who's going to save the Post Office From Corporate Privatizers ? (3/2015)

Going Beyond Private VS Public (12/13/2014)

The Privatization Scam: 5 Horror Stories of Gov't Outsourcing to Greedy Private Companies (5/14/2014)

Deride And Conquer: Dismantling the USPS (5/4/2014)

Sheppard Air Force Base: Uncounted Costs of Privatizing Government Services (3/29/2014)

The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to  For-Profit Corporations (12/2013) pdf

Darrell Issa's Got a Plan to Put the Postal Service in a Death Spiral

Five Poisons of Privatization (3/2013)



Remember that 8 men own the same wealth as half the world. and income inequality corrodes democracy.

Republican's think privatization is good policy. What it actually does is remove functions from public accountability, and gives them to oligarchs...so it is anti-democratic. Result: Blackwater, Enron, prison-industrial complex, or, worst of all is privatized vote counting.

There is now considerable doubt about election integrity because right-wing corporations make the voting machines. Most vote rigging is computer fraud, but there is little to prevent it.
Privatizing vote counting makes elections untrustworthy.

Right wing propaganda (almost all corporate media) has largely convinced the public that the private sector is more efficient and more reliable than the public sector. This ought to be open to much broader discussion because we know that a single payer healthcare system is much less expensive and more effective than our privatized one. Privatization under the Bush Jr administration really was a cover for profiteering for companies like Halliburten, the Carlyle Group, and other cronies.

The deregulated financial sector devoured the productive economy and through its excessive speculation caused a major market crash. Now privatization threatens public schools, the post office, and even Social Security. There is massive funding for these efforts from oligarchs.

Many Republicans would privatize Social Security, and they are doing their best to privatize education as well.

It appears the Post Office is going to have to shrink for the benefit of private companies. When the Constitution was signed, the Post Office WAS the media...which is why it is written into the Constitution. Republicans have all but destroyed American media.

Privatized healthcare in the US is not only the world's most expensive, it does not cover a large fraction of the people, It is highly bureacratic, and it is not particularly effective in overall quality. Even so, it is about to be cut so that Republicans can spend unlimited amounts of money for war, and not much for our civilization.

American healthcare, for example, is the most expensive in the world, doesn't work well, and doesn't even cover everyone. Republians reject even the most minimal reforms.

Republicans are determined to privatize the public schools. They call it school choice and they will tell you that charter schools perform better than public schools. Except they don't. When confronted with the evidence, the Bush administration decided to stop collecting the data.

Compare other privatized sectors: find oligarchy, expensive services, downsizing, corruption, off-shoring where possible, ...

Although Republicans, particularly, like to believe that private institutions function better than public ones. Public libraries do well. Social Security is efficient. Public sector health care (Medicare) works pretty well, and, in my opinion a single-payer system would be much more efficient than the insurance bureaucracy controlled, expensive system for medicine that we have in the U.S.

So I think it is useful to decide where to draw the line between public and private.

Take, for example, software as a product. The first copy requires a large investment, but after that, the marginal cost of copies is near zero. Free software (as defined at fsf.org) is steadily improving, and it has the potential to be a public good. As a matter of public policy, every citizen should prefer it.

The New York Times (5/27/2015) reports that

Since President Obama took office, the Federal government has poured more than $29 billion into health information technology.
 
All that money produced proprietary, closed source, unauditable, software packages, covered by
non-disclosure agreements, of varying security.  Naturally, these packages don't talk to each other because
there was no standard.
 
So, most likely, the doctor's office can't share data with the hospital, and hospitals cannot share data with each other.

Free software (defined at fsf.org) is licensed to be shared, open source, auditable, improved, and built upon.

Software, like other information, is extremely expensive to produce for the first copy, but every new copy afterwards has close to zero marginal cost.

Think what 29 billion might have done in the public sector. If the medical community used free software, many of the demonstrated problems would disappear.

Since armaments are a major industry in the US, it is also a (government !!!) jobs program. Notice that when Republicans decide it is time to balance the budget that programs to get cut are always those that actually benefit people: like healthcare, social security, Medicare, or infrastructure...not the military

Privatization requires the profit motive that corrupts many industries including media, health care, elder care, pharma.

Capitalism knows no limits, and that is why it will destroy us.

Make no mistake, they have no particular regard for the public, only for their own self-serving profit.

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