Corporate elites are pushing privatization to ensure that they control all of our means of subsistence. Healthcare, transportation, banking, communicational tools (i.e. internet and phones), prisons, consumer protection, and water are being privatized. Government is outsourcing and or letting the companies take over the previously mentioned areas on the federal level and the local level. Private business owners and high management are seeing the profits at the expense of the consumers.
For example, a 2009 analysis of water and sewer utilities by Food and Water Watch found that private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewer services. A more recent study confirms that privatization will generally “increase the long-term costs borne by the public.”
Increasing governments are blamed for, or called on to remedy, damages done by private industry. For instance, as recently as 2004, Monsanto had insisted that Agent Orange “is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.” Dow Chemical, the co-manufacturer of Agent Orange, blamed the government. Halliburton pleaded guilty to destroying evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Cleanups cost much more than the fines imposed on offending companies, as government costs can run into the billions, or even tens of billions, of dollars.
Buchheit’s report indicates that a number of the nation’s leading (corporate) news figures and organizations are beginning to acknowledge the shortcomings of the “free market” and privatization. Thus, Ted Koppel is on record as saying, “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another.” And US News & World Report ran an editorial on Hurricanes Isaac and Katrina indicating that, “private industry is not going to step in and save people from drowning, or help them rebuild their homes without a solid profit.”
Buchheit summarizes, “analysis reveals that privatization doesn’t seem to work in any of the areas vital to the American public.”
Source: Paul Buchheit, “8 Ways Privatization Has Failed America,” Common Dreams, August 5, 2013, https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/05.
Student Researcher: Brandon Karns, Sonoma State University
Community Evaluator: Michael McMurtry