April 16, 2014
by Paul Craig Roberts
Libertarian ideology favors privatization. However, in practice privatization is usually very different in result than libertarian ideology postulates. Almost always, privatization becomes a way for well-connected private interests to loot both the public purse and the general welfare.
Most privatizations, such as those that have occurred in France and UK during the neoliberal era, and in Greece today and Ukraine tomorrow, are lootings of public assets by politically-connected private interests.
Another form of privatization is to turn traditional government functions, such as prison operation and many supply functions of the armed services, such as feeding the troops, over to private companies at a large increase in cost to the public. Essentially, the libertarian ideology is used to provide lucrative public contracts to a few favored persons who then reward the politicians. This is called “free enterprise.”
The privatization of prisons in the US is an example of the extraordinary cost and injustice of privatization. Privatization of prisons requires ever higher rates of incarceration in order to build profitability. The US, supposedly “a land of liberty” has by far the highest incarceration rates of all countries. The “free” US has not only the highest percentage of its population in prison but also the highest absolute number. “Authoritarian” China with four times the US population has fewer citizens in prison.
This article shows how well prison privatization works for well-connected private interests: http://www.globalresearch.ca/privatization-of-the-us-prison-system/5377824
It also shows the extraordinary shame, corruption, and discredit that prison privatization has brought to the US.
A few years ago I wrote about the conviction of two judges who were paid by privatized juvenile detention facilities to sentence kids to their facilities.
As Alain of Lille and later Karl Marx said, “Money is all.” In America money is all that is
important to the political system and to the bulk of the population. Essentially, America has no other values.
Another great libertarian fantasy is Wall Street. In the libertarian mythology Wall Street is the mother of entrepreneurs and of the start-up companies that blossom into industrial, manufacturing, and commercial giants. In actual fact, Wall Street is the mother of enormous corruption. As Nomi Prins shows in All The President’s Bankers, it has always been the case.