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Author Topic: Why do 'we' have $$ for buildings and not for programs?
fern hill
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posted 31 March 2006 12:18 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post
I'm putting this in politics, because it is politics in a broad sense, but if a mod wants to move it, feel free.

I just heard that friend of a friend got a commission to do some kind of art project at a hospital. OK, that's great for the friend and probably amusing for patients and visitors.

Also today, skdadl started a thread on the relationship between semi-public agencies, like Children's Aid Societies, hospitals etc., and govmint.

And lagatta started a thread on beauty and pleasure and progressive thought.

Here in Toronto, we're having a building boom -- not just condos, though lordknows there are zillions of those -- but also cultural (ROM, AGO, new opera house), educational (UofT has more money than brains) and hospitals.

So, here (finally) is my question: How come 'we' have so much dough to spend on this stuff and apparently so little to keep tuition down, shorten waiting times, lower ticket prices to cultural venues and like that?

I realize that there is 'private' money involved in these projects and I also know that donors prefer to put their names on capital projects. But these donations are generously underwritten by the rest of us in the form of tax breaks.

Can someone explain this, beyond 'well, the system is fucked'?


From: away | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
rici
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posted 31 March 2006 12:34 PM      Profile for rici     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by fern hill:
Here in Toronto, we're having a building boom -- not just condos, though lordknows there are zillions of those -- but also cultural (ROM, AGO, new opera house), educational (UofT has more money than brains) and hospitals.

It's the well-known Edifice Complex

Seriously, it's just clientilism in action. Who benefits from the building boom? Construction companies, banks, landowners, construction workers...

I don't know a lot about CASs -- I've never lived in Ontario -- but that sort of "out-sourcing" of social services is often a form of clientilism, too. The "volunteer committees" are politically-active, socially-active people, generally well-intentioned, and with social status as a result of their commitment to good deeds. Their relationship to government is tightly focused on the support provided for their voluntary work; the government's investment -- which comes at no cost, since it is comparable to, and quite possibly less than what would be paid if the government were directly providing the services -- is paid off by creating a useful army of supporters.

I do not in any way mean to denigrate the people who are involved in the charitable activities -- being, in a way, one myself -- but we always need to be aware of the danger of co-optation.


From: Lima, Perú | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 31 March 2006 12:53 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As soon as cabinet ministers figure out a way to have ribbon cutting ceremonies in front of programs we will have $$$ for programs.
From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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Babbler # 3582

posted 31 March 2006 12:57 PM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post
Ha. Clientilism. Never heard of it.

quote:
Clientelism1 refers to a form of social organization common in many developing regions characterized by "patron-client" relationships. In such places, powerful and rich "patrons" promise to provide powerless and poor "clients" with jobs, protection, infrastructure, and other benefits in exchange for votes and other forms of loyalty including labor. While this definition suggests a kind of "socioeconomic mutualism," these relationships are typically exploitative, often resulting in the perpetual indebtedness of the clients in what is described as a "debt-peonage" relationship. In some places, patrons employ coercion, intimidation, sabotage, and even violence to maintain control, and they frequently fail to deliver on their promises. Moreover, patrons are generally unaccountable for their actions. Thus, clientelistic relationships are often corrupt and unfair, thereby obstructing the processes of implementing true sustainability.

link


From: away | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 31 March 2006 01:28 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
Something about failing to get "superbuild" money at Trent

I basically saw "Superbuild" as a gift to the construction industry. Apparently to qualify, public institutions had to get private-sector sponsors. So, the construction industry gets money and wealthy individual and corporate donors get an ego-gratifying symbol of their munificence.

It is scam politics. And I would very much like to see the NDP engage in it. Fleece the financial sector, destroy the fortunes of the wealthy, regulate the shit out of these big media assholes, and reward its allies, the poor, unions, environmentalists, and artists.

Leave the middle class alone. Build up the cities. This has become a zero-sum game. Harris's puppet-masters (even the shit-head himself!) understand this. It's time the Left did as well.


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
CWW
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posted 31 March 2006 02:07 PM      Profile for CWW     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In my experience (as a commercial construction project manager) large scale construction projects are directly tied to the economy... during recessions, projects are deferred or cancelled, and when there's money available they go ahead. Take Calgary or Edmonton for instance... the commercial and public buildings in these cities are almost like the rings of a tree... you can tell exactly when there was a boom in the province by the age and quantity of the buildings that were erected during that time. Construction tends to be cyclical, and in Canada (Well, western Canada is all I can comment on as I haven't been east in quite some time) we're on the upside of the cycle.
From: Edmonton/ Calgary/Nelson | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
ravenj
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posted 31 March 2006 02:08 PM      Profile for ravenj     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's in the difference between capital & operating budgets. A government can allocate a capital budget (buildings would fall into this category) on a year-to-year basis. All the universities & colleges have been building like crazy for the last five years, obviously awashed in capital money.

On the other hand, funding programs would require year-to-year operating budgets. Governments would be committed to ever-increasing budgets. When they have to cut back, people would notice.

Part of the internal criticism within advanced capitalism is the fact that CEO's of listed companies only focus on the next quarter & not necessarily planning for the longer term. This is filtering down to the public sector, as the funding horizon is getting shorter and shorter.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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