Skip to main content

Today, we're facing moves towards privatization of public systems and opposition to new projects under public management.  It's sad, especially when you see examples such as scientific studies showing that Canada's single payer health care system provides similar care to that in the US at a far lower cost per capita.

Perhaps, even sadder: The Boston Globe published an article the other day about a debate over whether a city-wide service for Boston should be publicly or privately run.  The debate was over Boston's municipal water system - and it took place between the 1820's and 1840's.  That's right, the forces pushing for privately-owned general services for the entire citizenry have been going on for 200 years.

Nothing will stop them.  The fact that the businessmen wanting to own Boston's water supply and use a privately owned pond which was shown to be inadequate won't deter them.  They'll tell you businesses can run things better than government - no matter how many times big business has crashed the economy in the last 200 years.  The fact that there's only one company that was used in the Dow Jones index from the beginning and is still included - all the rest are either out of business or less significant - won't make them change their tune.  No number of Enrons or Bernie Madoff's will make them admit we can't rely too much on private businesses.

But as the Globe article says, it's more than just accounting that should guide our decision.  It's also a matter of what kind of society we want to be.  Do we want services for citizens to have decision made by a board of a handful of profit-hungry businessmen, or do we want them entirely and directly under the control of officials chosen by the entire electorate?  Do we want our services sold at the highest price the market will tolerate, or at rates a non-profit system can provide?  Do we want everyone to pay the same price - so it's a greater burden on the poor than the rich - or do we want it paid for at least partly using progressive taxation?  Do we want to live under a code of conduct in which members of society help each other, or do we want to promote a society where everyone is trying to make off with as much as they can from everyone else?

We can live in a dog-eat-dog world in which a significant part of society's resources is wasted on fighting between the "dogs".  Or we can have a more cooperative society where those resources are used to make life better for everyone.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    by workingwords on Wed May 08, 2013 at 02:07:18 PM PDT

  •  They can never be satisfied (0+ / 0-)

    Some services should be provided by private companies, and some services should be kept public.

    It's amazing that to some people, this is the radical position.

  •  The Profit-Motive's Greatest Hits (0+ / 0-)

    The terrible irony here is that a large reason for the public's waning faith in the ability of institutions of government to perform these functions is due to the influence and manipulation from these same business interests. Which is the whole point, of course. Tout the benefits of the "competition of the free market" while simultaneously using your amassed wealth to transform legislators into lobbyists and gut regulatory agencies. Then point to the incompetence of the government, advocate for privatization, and wait for the feeding frenzy.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site