Privatization of Public Services ~30 Years Worth Of Skullduggery


“… the privatization of social services has transferred public monopoly power and authority to private monopolists…”

Someone asked Jeff Nguyen in his brilliant post A nation at-risk: American hustle – largely on the oppressive private prison industry – how long the privatization of public service has been going on. The answer: decades. In reflecting on the question I remembered long ago seeing a conference being advertised that was designed to teach the Warfare Companies how to get their greedy mitts on public service moneys – health care, welfare, etc. Failing to find any notes on this in my diaries, I did a little research:

John D. Donahue of Harvard was writing thoughtfully about this 25 years ago, so I assume it was being bandied about in neo-liberal circles since the seventies. The Chicago School “gave” us the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, among other travesties. This crowd hated publicly-run anything.

According to the Arms Trade Resource Center, Lockheed Martin was getting $105 from each U.S. taxpayer and $228 from each U.S. household. In 2002 the company was effectively taxed at 7.7% compared to an average tax rate for individuals of 21-33%. And 14 years ago they were running welfare to work programs in three states.

N.B. Canada, under our current, corrupt PM, is no slouch at the burgeoning prison industry. It gets Harper votes from his solid core of Cro-Magnons.

I know I promised not to do this anymore – but this stuff is for Jeff. He is one great writer who still has the pep to do it. There’s a link to his site, Deconstructing Myths,  on my blogroll.

My pep, whatever’s left, will hopefully be directed towards other hobbies that make me less of a grump.

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Author: mytiturk

Travelbug Minstrel: Strum for my supper, croon for my cuppa Search for a sign, write for my whine

9 thoughts on “Privatization of Public Services ~30 Years Worth Of Skullduggery”

  1. Thank you for the shout out, mightyturk. The ghost of Milton Friedman and his acolytes are still pushing forth the disaster capitalism template in whichever countries they can gain a foothold in.

    For what it’s worth, you clearly still have a little pep in your step as evidenced by your poetry, photography and other “non-whiny” stuff. 😉

  2. Last week, my doctor said that I probably qualify for “intensive case management services”, which means that I could use some help with transportation to appointments and errands, and with chores. I looked online for more information as I waited for the referral process to begin. I was stunned and then appalled to see that the “intensive case management services” that showed up in the first pages of my google search were offered by corporations, apparently contracting with local governments to do so.

    On the other hand, I was a service provider for the government when I was a self-employed career counselor. Somehow, I see that as being different. Maybe not.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful contribution on this issue. Agree that you, as a self-employed service worker, are radically different from a corporation whose cost/profit structure is likely to be far more expensive. It’s also likely that you haven’t sat in on the secret G-20 trade meetings making certain that your shareholders get their pockets filled. Correct me if I’m wrong here 😉
      My deepest belief is that Corporate Personhood was a huge mistake and “free” trade is anything but. Their right to sue for lost future profits under modern agreements stops countries from making good laws that, for example, protect the environment. The current political system that worships GDP and growth is unsustainable and suicidal for H. sapiens in the long run because we are using everything up and polluting all else. The transnational corporate tail wags the federal dog, making all democracies a bit of a farce at the moment.

      1. Yes, working out of my home and car was a lot less expensive than maintaining an office building and team of lawyers. Thanks for making me feel better. Really, I had no control over the government deciding to outsource. I am glad I was the one who got the contracts. I keep tossing between the pros and cons of civil service employees and contractors. Perhaps the real evil is when the contractor is a large corporation.

        The corporate power mistake goes back to the laws that require corporations to do what they can to make quarterly profits for their shareholders.

      2. And the current economic system and political system are totally geared to short term gains: making a profit this year and getting reelected next year. Sharing and cooperation on a world scale are the only sane future, but they aren’t part of the model. Leadership must come from the grass roots once our awareness has progressed to some critical level. Don’t ask me when…

      3. Just typed a response for an hour on my iPod and lost it by hitting the wrong button 😦

        Its a huge issue. Current political/economic model is totally wrong on so many levels. International cooperation, not competition, is the long term key and no one knows how we get there. One way not to get there is with secret, financially punitive trade deals and laws written in back rooms by private corporations and their “waiting boys,” our politicians.

      4. I understand the – frustration? fury? – of losing a comment. The Chrome extension Lazarus has become a great friend: it remembers what I typed into most form fields so I can recover such losses. In WordPress, I find that the Back key usually works, but that is on my laptop and desktop. I don’t know iPods, Androids…

        “the long term key” – that’s the key: to think long-term

      5. Thanks for the help. The iPod traps me when I expect to write something short and it grows and grows. Silly to type something long directly into a fragile comment window. If I know it’s going to be long I type it into Notes and then cut/paste when I’m finished or, better yet, boot up the desktop as I did a little while ago 🙂

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