Those on the political right incessantly condemn government while, at the same time, promoting “privatization” – another word for corporatization. What they want is to eliminate all forms of public regulation and turn all of our government affairs over to large corporations.
They have a good start.
In the U.S., our health care and pharmaceutical industries have long been privately-owned and controlled. This despite the fact that taxpayers provide large research grants to these companies to help them develop their products. And over the past 30 years, weve seen increased privatization and control of the food chain, schools, prisons, even the military. The mercenary company, Blackwater (aka Xe), has become a household word for its role in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, some reports state that there are as many mercenaries working for the U.S. in those wars as there are government troops. Weve even seen our government award patents (and the resulting control) to corporations for genetic discoveries, including plant hybrids even though they were often subsidized by our government. Perhaps the greatest threat of this privatization nonsense is to our water supplies.
Appearing on Christiane Amanpours CNN program, Robert Kennedy, Jr. stated that this is becoming a very big concern throughout the world. He stated that water is one of the biggest bargaining issues for peace between Israelis and the Arab world. And, according to Kennedy, the issue were seeing in the Middle East is now becoming a very big issue in the western U.S. For example, as the result of urban and irrigation pressures, the Colorado River now runs dry before it hits the ocean. Lake Powell, which provides water for Las Vegas, is projected to be dry in 20-50 years. In addition, much of the prime farmland in California now lacks water for irrigation because of the demand on reservoirs. Of course, some suggest that the solution is to give control of water supplies to private corporations.
This is a very bad idea.
This privatization stupidity has gone so far that some want corporations to take over public lands, public parks and public buildings. In the state of Arizona, the Republican-controlled legislature has already cut millions from education, tourism and public safety in its attempts to balance the budget while simultaneously cutting taxes. Yet those measures havent been sufficient. So the Republicans are actually promoting legislation that would force the state to sell all state-owned public buildings to individuals or corporations and lease them back. The result would be to literally hand billions to the buyers at the expense of the taxpayers who paid to build them.
If the choice is between a well-regulated government and greedy corporations (think AIG, Goldman-Sachs, BankofAmerica, et al), which would you want to control your fate?