One of the major conflicts of the era that is not often highlighted for public debate is whether we want an economy that privatizes government services and public resources and continues to concentrate wealth; or whether we want to develop an economic democracy that invests in the public interest and creates shared prosperity.
Journalist Ted Koppel summarized the privatization trend: “We are privatizing ourselves into one disaster after another…. We’ve privatized a lot of what our military is doing. We’ve privatized a lot of what our intelligence agencies are doing. We’ve privatized our very prison system in many parts of the country. We’re privatizing the health system within those prisons. And it’s not working well.”
The alternative, also growing rapidly albeit more quietly without corporate media coverage, is economic democracy. This is based on new models that give people greater control over their economic lives, share wealth in an egalitarian way and allow people to have more influence over the direction of the economy.
Privatization vs. Public Ownership
Privatization versus public ownership of services and resources is one aspect of this debate, but there are also a host of other issues that beg discussion. We will delve into many of these in detail in the Economic Democracy Conference of the Democracy Convention in Madison, WI from August 7 to August 11. Presenters who are deeply involved in their subjects will speak about big picture topics such as what money is, ending debt and creating a new economy to more hands-on topics such as creating socially-responsible businesses, alternative currencies, affordable housing, public banks, saving the post office, local investment, cooperatives and publicly-owned renewable energy. We encourage you to attend the conference (the price is low to make it possible for many to attend) and will provide reports and videos from the conference on It’s Our Economy for those who cannot make it.
The United States is moving on an aggressive, disastrous path of privatization of government services. Some recent examples include the Air Force considering the privatization of Cape Canaveral, NOAA privatizing satellite weather services and schools across the country privatizing education. Everything is on the table to be given over to private industry – airports, roads, health services and water.
Just think how capitalist profiteers’ mouths must be watering at these opportunities. The taxpayer spends hundreds of billions developing Cape Canaveral and space exploration or weather satellite technology, and then big business buys-in cheap and gets long-term profits.