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Author Topic: What's the rap against public ownership anyway?
banquosghost
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posted 28 November 2003 02:32 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why and how has it become the accepted wisdom that public ownership of utilities, insurance programs and the like is a bad thing? Is there anything more to it than corporatist profit motives?

Corollary question would be: are there any examples of a formerly publicly owned company or Crown Corporation actually delivering on the better service/lower rates/greater efficiency assertion?

If there are no examples (and I can't come up with any myself), what have been the strategies/tactics that have been employed to keep the move toward less public ownership alive and keep us, the citizenry, from noticing the unclothed CEO?

What strategies/tactics can we come up with that can effectively counter the anti-public ownership crowd?


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 28 November 2003 02:48 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
I'm of the opinion that anything that we all need to survive should be publicly owned, operated, and maintained. This includes, of course, energy, health care, roads and rails, water, forests, and food production--at least of non-processed, fresh food like veggies and fruit and meats and dairy. We should have public ownership of our natural resources as well, so that we all benefit and weigh in on their mining, production, and sale.
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banquosghost
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posted 28 November 2003 03:08 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, yeah, me too. But how did the Canadian public get sold the notion that that's all a bad thing? For all intents and purposes a candidate or a party that says such things gets voted against and a candidate or party that in essence says that public ownership must end gets voted for. Why?
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
worker_drone
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posted 28 November 2003 05:22 PM      Profile for worker_drone        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Corollary question would be: are there any examples of a formerly publicly owned company or Crown Corporation actually delivering on the better service/lower rates/greater efficiency assertion?


Canada Post for one. NavCan for another.

I have a question though. It seems to me (and I'm making a big assumption here) that the people who tend to support public or crown corporations are also the same group who would most vehemently argue against the notion that "government should be run like a business".

Government should not be run like a business, yet Government should be running businesses. Should these businesses then be run like a government? *shudder*


From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 28 November 2003 06:27 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Canada Post...hhhmmm...maybe. I can still rememeber the mail being delivered twice a day though for a nickel per 1st class letter. Canada Post is operated by it's board "on behalf of the government" and has to report to the Crown so it's not as if it's been sold off. Same is true of NavCan. Direction and control of both remain in the hands of the Crown by way of their boards.

I don't think there is anyone who could argue against the notion that government should operate in a businesslike way. But saying that government *is* a business goes hand in glove with the notion that citizens are simply consumers of government services. It's part of the erosion of the concept of citizenship and we don't need any more erosion there. Citizen is not the same as consumer or shareholder.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 28 November 2003 09:44 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
BC Hydro. 5.77 cents a kilowatt-hour for ten years, and they've still managed to turn in a few hundred mill in profit every year to the BC government.

Re: Government and business.

Governments themselves should not be run like businesses. However, there is no reason why the things they own that operate in the economy have to necessarily be run like businesses either.

BC Hydro, for example, has a partly social objective as well as the pure business objective of making a profit and running efficiently; that social objective is ensuring that the cost of electricity is stable and well-known. This produces certainty for poorer residential customers who know their bill isn't going to go through the roof.

Similarly, BC Ferries was long operated with an implicit social objective as well - many of its unprofitable routes are operated because they link communities together. Of course, these days with privatization mania, I don't know how much longer that's gonna be.


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banquosghost
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posted 28 November 2003 09:48 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Doc you might be my best hope for some kind of background on the history of the attack on public ownership. If you got it flaunt it.
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 28 November 2003 10:07 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The modern attack on public ownership came from Reagan and Thatcher. The idea may have come from Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics. However, it's Laisse Faire all over again. The idea really isn't new.

What irritates me is that so many of our public companies started out as private companies: BC Hydro, BC Ferries, BC Rail, the auto insurance industry in BC. They all had problems that required government takeover. Now that they are up and running, "private enterprise" wants them back.

We go through cycles. Private enterprise will skim what it can until it is no longer to serve the public well. Then government takes it over (or provides necessary subsities) and builds infrastructure, buys new equipment, etc. When it's in good shape private business takes it over and skims off the profit and runs it down until there is a demand for government to do it all over again.

Canada Post does all right because of strict regulation. Remove the regulation and it will collapse.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 28 November 2003 11:17 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Canada Post
You think? I remember Canada Post touting its much improved efficency at meeting delivery targets immediately after they changed from next day delivery for first class mail anywhere in Canada to two days.

Seems to me anyone can claim greater success if you're allowed to move the goal posts.


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Anarchonostic
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posted 28 November 2003 11:52 PM      Profile for Anarchonostic     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What about the CBC? Hey, I LOVE the CBC (Zed, Brave New Waves, DNTO, After Hours.. damn, my favourites alone are worth the tax $$$ to me)

But I do understand how some could look at a government with suspicion for owning a media outlet (I know it doesn't come down exactly like that, but you know what I'm saying...)

I heard a good one the other day, on some rightie forum, about how the CBC news department should be abolished - because their journalism is sub-par. I then turned to Global News (aka the Fear Factory) and shook my head at the alternative, thinking "How could anyone...?"

This, I think, is a clear-case of public-ownership triumph. As for failures? Well, maybe supporting industries that just aren't there anymore - I don't think much of public bailouts of unprofitable companies, however tragic the circumstances were (see Skeena Cellulose)

My province has a long tradition of well-managed public concerns, and the BC Liberals hope we will forget why they were made public in the first place.


From: Vancouver | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 28 November 2003 11:54 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Friedrich Hayek. That's the guy. LSE. Thanks for the pointer to Friedman coug.

I think I may be on to a rant soon.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 29 November 2003 02:32 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hate to break it to you, but BC Ferries was quietly privatized recently (all behind the scenes). It helps explain the recent union troubles....

I have met many people who operate on(and have stated outright)the maxim that private enterprise is 'by definition' more efficient than public. Essentially that's what it boils down to, an ideologically based maxim that posits the superiority of private ownership and management styles.

Nobody can operate under the illusion that public ownership is without its weaknesses, but if it is carefully controlled it can be very effective at the various economies of scale needed to provide the core infrastructure services etc. that we all need.

Basic Alliance-esque neocon ideology denies this, and usually refers to some report by the Fraser Institute to prove the point.

I'd write more but my wife has just issued the warden's call. Perhaps tomorrow...


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 29 November 2003 05:44 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:

BC Hydro, for example, has a partly social objective as well as the pure business objective of making a profit and running efficiently; that social objective is ensuring that the cost of electricity is stable and well-known. This produces certainty for poorer residential customers who know their bill isn't going to go through the roof.

To amplify, this stability is also useful for business customers; predictable costs are good for business. When it comes to publicly owned companies, it is possible to balance the interest of running the company "like a business" to make a profit for that particular company, against the interest of running the company like an infrastructure, to enhance the whole economy.

The ICBC "bait car" initiative would be an example of the latter--if successful it'll probably save ICBC money on theft claims, but it will also make living and doing business in BC cheaper and more predictable, and allow ICBC to offer cheaper insurance.

I see plenty of articles where economists *say* that there is massive evidence for privatized companies becoming way more efficient. One would expect that this *ought* to mean that somewhere there are case studies of this happening, but I haven't actually seen any, or even a specific reference to a privatization that led to efficiencies.

Which is not to say that it couldn't happen. Public bureaucracies can be screwed up and dysfunctional, just as private ones can. In cases where that had gotten to the point where any major shakeup would lead to large improvements, a privatization could allow a lot of crap to be swept away, not because of any characteristic of the private sector, but simply because it was under new management with a broad mandate and the power to force change.


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Tackaberry
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posted 29 November 2003 01:02 PM      Profile for Tackaberry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Privitization never seems to make sense either;

a) its profittable in which case the public is selling a revenue generating operation.

b) its unprofitable, but delivers service or some other economic benefit whoch would be cut if its privitized.

Medicare is actually a good example last time I checked (Hurtig's book) for a crown system delivering efficiency via economies of scale. I dont have the book here with me (actually new #s might be in the CCPA Monitor, I havent read my copy yet) but the admin costs are much higher in the US.

Crown corps were set up when ppl were concerned with access for all cdns. With the huge debt, ppl now want to see an economic argument for crown corps, which the left should be preparing (outside of Hurtog of course, he is always swimming upstream alone it seems)


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banquosghost
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posted 29 November 2003 02:00 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So far no one has an example of a more efficient, rate/price friendly, better service privatized Crown Corp. The examples given are either still owned and operated by the Crown or are regulated by the Crown, like BC Ferries, NAVCAN, CanadaPost.

So, given the absence of real world examples they can point to, how does the corporatist/ governmental elite manage to maintain the myth of the superiority of private enterprise in delivering public services? Certainly, most of the media assist in this but the media are also comprised of citizens who must surely notice in their own experience the erosion of service and increase of cost that always seem to accompany de-regulation and privatization. What keeps them trumpeting it?


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 29 November 2003 02:13 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Many years ago, a retiring president of Xerox was asked what kind of background training a CEO should have. He replied that a CEO needs to be a student of humanities, because he/she needs to understand the larger picture; to see the organization as part of a whole.

Unfortunately, so many CEO's and aspiring CEO's come from either marketing or economics backgrounds, which provide very narrow views of the operation. Remember, it was Xerox engineers who invented most of what we associate with the personal computer and Xerox managers who quashed the project because they figured that it would never sell.

My point in this is that most private companies have a narrow focus that operates in a sort of disconnect from the society that nurtures them.


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DrConway
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posted 29 November 2003 03:14 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tackaberry:
Medicare is actually a good example last time I checked (Hurtig's book) for a crown system delivering efficiency via economies of scale. I dont have the book here with me (actually new #s might be in the CCPA Monitor, I havent read my copy yet) but the admin costs are much higher in the US.

Some quick numbers:

Canada generally spends about 9% of GDP on health care. The USA, 14%.

Also, in the USA, Medicare (government health care for senior citizens only) has an administrative overhead of about 3 cents on every dollar spent, whereas private insurance companies have administrative overhead of about 24 cents on every dollar.

I think it was worked out that just cutting out all the hassle of duplicate paperwork and conflicting health insurance guidelines alone would free up another $200 million in the health care system that could be used, well, for anything from lowering premiums to upgrading hospitals.

PS. You have private messages. Go read.

[ 29 November 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 29 November 2003 11:34 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Why and how has it become the accepted wisdom that public ownership of utilities, insurance programs and the like is a bad thing? Is there anything more to it than corporatist profit motives?

I don't have the reference for the next two examples as I read them in the paper years ago. One example in Ontario was that the average cost of housing units produced by non profit companies was $10,000 more than for-profit companies.

Another example would be accountability. In Halifax, years back, there was an example of public housing deciding to locate on environmentally contaminated property. Half way through the project when the contamination was realized, the gov't was on the hook for the entire cleanup, no one was held accountable. Cost them double to triple (which could have been spent on more housing) A for-profit company would probably had been more likely to perform due diligence as someone's ass would be on the line, and someone's personal money would be.

We saw what happened with the HRDC scandal, Gun Registry etc.... When gov't performs business there is far more likelyhood of political interference resulting in gross inefficiency
. Thats a start on the rap against public ownership.


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April Follies
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posted 29 November 2003 11:55 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by banquosghost:
So, given the absence of real world examples they can point to, how does the corporatist/ governmental elite manage to maintain the myth of the superiority of private enterprise in delivering public services? Certainly, most of the media assist in this but the media are also comprised of citizens who must surely notice in their own experience the erosion of service and increase of cost that always seem to accompany de-regulation and privatization. What keeps them trumpeting it?

For an example of this (also relating to the Medicare issue) see this thread's more recent posts. Despite ample evidence that Canada's health care system beats that in the US six ways from Sunday, us USians still labor under misapprehensions that the Canadian system is inefficient, unweildy, involves long delays, etc. It seems to be a matter of a lie repeated often enough becoming "common knowledge". The vast media influence of corporate interests helps that way...


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Bill Haydon
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posted 30 November 2003 12:04 PM      Profile for Bill Haydon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Saskatchewan NDP won an election a lot of people thought they had no business winning because they turned it into a debate over the future of public utilities.

Perhaps Saskatchewan is anomoly but the people gave pretty big "no" when asked if they wanted any of their crown corps. privatized.


From: Redchina | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 30 November 2003 01:52 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Markbo - out here in the land of unaccountable leaky condo builders we don't entertain very many happy thoughts of private sector builders at the moment. My first thought upon reading your post was, 'well sure, the private builders cut corners every way they can think of, no wonder they're less expensive'. (At first I typed 'cheaper' in place of less expensive. Probably true as well if 'cheap' still can mean sub-standard in our hyper fiscalized world.)

As to HRDC and the Gun Registry, huge, complex and problematic as they are, neither are an example of a *business*. And even if they were I would respond with NorTel, WorldCom, Enron and so on as counter-examples. Large organizations tend to be prone to human error and mis-deeds irrespective of the nature of the organization. But at least with publicly owned organizations some kind of citizen over-sight is possible at election time; ie. you can vote against the Party that you hold responsible for HRDC or Gun Registry. Yes, there can be political interference resulting in pork barelling or the imposition of social agendas many may not agree with leading to an electoral come-uppance down the road; there can also be CEO malfeasance, share price manipulation and insider trading all resulting in billions of lost dollars to the investing public with no possibility whatever of recourse or accountability of any kind. Of those two options I know which I prefer.

I trust the people. That's the mantra of the conservatives. Then why not trust the people's ownership. Because it works better for the politico-corporate elites when we, who are the people after all, forget that government is *us* not *them*. Divide and conquer. As long as we believe that democratic government, as we have evolved it over all the generations we've been struggling with the idea, is fundamentally a bad thing and counter to our interests then we will continue to conveniently forget that democratic government is *us*. And forgetting that, we will neglect our own self-interest.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tackaberry
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posted 30 November 2003 03:34 PM      Profile for Tackaberry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was having an argument the other day, and the person I was arguing with suggested that after the oil crisis, the fed govt in particular delliberately hired too many people into the civil service as a way to spur the economy. The civil service became deliberately bloated becuase it was better than emplyment insurance, because they create more value working than not working and they get new skills.
I had no idea if I was being BSed or not. Can anyone confirm this is true?

Another problem with privitization is that there may not be enough investment money out there to get market value. So you end up selling it for less than its worth, or have to open the sale up to foreign companies.

Anyway, privitization now is accomplished because our govt cant afford in the current budgets too undertake long overdo capital costs. Hence P3 hospitals, and I suspect we will see more of this kind of thing. the Ont tories were selling future earnings of the LCBO from my understanding, some of which should have be reinvested in capital costs.
The govt cant raise taxes to finance the capital expenditures needed, and deficits are out of the question, so the only political choice is to sell them. Now hospitals, and I think it only a matter of time until roads and public transit is also on the block (actually it already is in BC and some parts out east isn't it?)

I think the left will continue to lose the tax cuts/privitization argument until the debt is paid off. canadians are right, they dont get their tax dollar's worth in services. Because no one remembers that a third of their tax dollars are going to the debt. The right can cut taxes and privitize forever, because as long as there is a debt, Canadians will never see value in their tax dollars (from their perception, which never includes debt finaincing),
Unusual I know, but I really think the only way the left can start winning some arguments is to adpot a policy that pays down the debt immediately, not through GDP growth. Besides, we cant really reduce unemployment and protect the dollar as long as have to keep interest rates and inflation rates low, again necessary because of debt financing (go ahead Conway I know )

[ 30 November 2003: Message edited by: Tackaberry ]


From: Tokyo | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 30 November 2003 05:23 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tackaberry:
I was having an argument the other day, and the person I was arguing with suggested that after the oil crisis, the fed govt in particular delliberately hired too many people into the civil service as a way to spur the economy. The civil service became deliberately bloated becuase it was better than emplyment insurance, because they create more value working than not working and they get new skills.
I had no idea if I was being BSed or not. Can anyone confirm this is true?

I doubt that this could have been a visibly stimulative measure. The number of civil servants has remained at about 1% of the Canadian population since the 1970s.

quote:
Another problem with privitization is that there may not be enough investment money out there to get market value. So you end up selling it for less than its worth, or have to open the sale up to foreign companies.

This always happens. Governments eaher to "prove" that privatization was a success always underprice the shares.

quote:
Anyway, privitization now is accomplished because our govt cant afford in the current budgets too undertake long overdo capital costs. Hence P3 hospitals, and I suspect we will see more of this kind of thing. the Ont tories were selling future earnings of the LCBO from my understanding, some of which should have be reinvested in capital costs.

All they are doing is being penny wise and pound foolish. The BC Government booked $1 billion from the sale of BC Rail, a one shot revenue boost, when the oil and gas industry just rang down the chandeliers in royalty revenues at the same time. In short, the stupid bastards just made a needless sale, because other revenue sources are rising fast enough to fill the gap left by Gary Collins's tax cuts.

Also, I'm pretty sure Gordo promised he wouldn't privatize BC Rail. Lying bastard.

quote:
I think the left will continue to lose the tax cuts/privitization argument until the debt is paid off. canadians are right, they dont get their tax dollar's worth in services. Because no one remembers that a third of their tax dollars are going to the debt.

They're also not getting value for their tax dollars due to deliberate underfunding of the systems that make health care and education go.

quote:
Unusual I know, but I really think the only way the left can start winning some arguments is to adpot a policy that pays down the debt immediately, not through GDP growth. Besides, we cant really reduce unemployment and protect the dollar as long as have to keep interest rates and inflation rates low, again necessary because of debt financing (go ahead Conway I know )

We have the capability, in this country, to increase spending dramatically, simply by running balanced budgets, not surplus budgets. The national debt will go away over time as long as budgets are balanced because one of the line items is paying off on matured government bonds.

As for the Canadian dollar's value on international markets, forget it. An expansionary fiscal and monetary policy will make the dollar drop anyhow, so let it drop. We can't regulate the flow of inbound and outbound capital without cooperation from other countries, so we must let the exchange rate be the buffer.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 30 November 2003 05:49 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, if it's true that political trends in the US are always exported to Canada then national debt and deficit budgeting are about to become way less of an issue here that they have been recently.

Are we no longer capable of thinking of ourselves as citizens within a society?

Can we now only conceive of ourselves as consumers within an economy?

Could this be a contributing factor in why we no longer bother to turn out to vote?

How about if we tied the act of voting to specific percentages of tax reduction? Municipally, provincially and federally. So each ballot would not only have the foil for the returning officers records but one for the voter as well which would be included in that voters tax returns.

Could that get us thinking about the direct connection between particpation and effectiveness again?


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
clearview
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posted 30 November 2003 06:24 PM      Profile for clearview     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
yo yo yo,

check this out...

what the fuck is up with public ownership
just the thought of it makes me want to flip
don't these mother's realize
the shiznit's private enterprise?
can't these mother's recognize
that logic dictates: privatize?
private interests work for you and me
while public just spells: inefficiency!

Edited to add: that's not what you meant by rap is it

[ 30 November 2003: Message edited by: clearview ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rod Manchee
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posted 30 November 2003 06:48 PM      Profile for Rod Manchee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Regarding the cost of housing - housing costs what it costs and for the same product a unit or building will cost the same whether it’s managed by the private, public or third(some variety of non-profit) sector. It’s built by the same people.

The cost differences in particular circumstance are usually due to each doing a different job. For example, a public seniors building may be more expensive per person than a private one because more nursing stations were provided for or because oxygen is piped into half the rooms or some similar reason. What appear to be comparable buildings in the for-profit and non-profit sector may differ in subtle ways - for instance the non-profit may be design to allow ground access, minimizing stairs and facilitating wheelchair access. In the same way 5-10% of its units may be handicapped adapted with wheel-in showers and front control panel stoves(etc). Such things are not cheap but are necessary. Such a statement about costs must make sure it’s comparing macintoshes to macintoshes and not apple to oranges.

Sometimes the cost differences are due to malfeasance, incompetence and stupidity. We hear about the instances of this in the public sector because it’s subject to scrutiny. The assumption that it isn’t as common in the private sector is pretty Pollyannaish - we don’t hear about it too much, but it’s rarely subject to scrutiny(in fact there’s a motivation to keep it quiet, hush it up), and the nature of it may appear a little different(providing junk to homebuyers rather than to government, say) but at root it’s the same old song.

This tends to be the same with most public expenditure - it may appear costly, but it’s the most efficient way to do a necessary job.

R


From: ottawa | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 01 December 2003 05:14 AM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
alexanderplatz is the central square of east berlin and its nickname is "alex"

when i lived there for a month in 1999, i read an advert on the side of a yellow tram for the berlin public transit authority, "alex, ich komme, deine tram",

local slang, funny advert, public service,

it's all fine and good for BC Hydro to maintain cheap prices and make a slight profit ... but how does that make it feel public?

the CBC is great and all that, but how does the CBC consult canadians on what direction its programming should go, how it is doing? if it's a public body, shouldn't it have a consultative budget process, or a citizen's advisory board of 100 people selected from across the country?

we need to find ways so that people identify with publically-owned utilities, transport, crown corporations ... so that when they respond when they are under attack and proposed for privatisation.

the other thing about why public services are vulnerable to privatisation is the mantra by the right about better consumer choice if there are a number of competitors in the marketplace for a public good,

public services need to be more user-oriented and bottom-up. otherwise, they'll be continually vulnerable to this charge of faceless uncaring unaccountable bureaucracy. it probably means a sea change in most crown corporations vis-a-vis graduate recruitment and retainment, investment in employees, friendly surroundings (innovative design competitions for public buildings .. in toronto i'm thinking here of toronto reference library) and transparency.

[ 01 December 2003: Message edited by: Willowdale Wizard ]


From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 01 December 2003 06:53 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Willowdale Wizard:
public services need to be more user-oriented and bottom-up. otherwise, they'll be continually vulnerable to this charge of faceless uncaring unaccountable bureaucracy.

And indeed, they may in fact be faceless uncaring unaccountable bureaucracy. "Better than private" does not necessarily mean "good enough"; more public input and participation would be a Good Thing even aside from the political benefits of the public feeling a greater sense of ownership.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 01 December 2003 06:56 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I noticed at least one person on the thread wondering why neocons like privatization even though it produces lousy results.
I suggest The Privatization Putsch by Herschel Hardin as essential reading on this subject. Things by Linda McQuaig may also be useful.

From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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