Manual Hidden Markets: The New Education Privatization (Critical Social Thought)

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Their access by all may be in the public interest. Take, for example, the use of roads. These can be tolled, and many are toll roads. Tolls contribute to the expense of maintaining roads, and can even pay back their construction costs. Yet, many besides the users of a road benefit from it — the businesses on its route to name just a few.

These would be hurt along with its users if its tolls reduced traffic flows, so that while tolls can be charged, and the maintenance expense of the road depends on its use, fees for its use must not impede its use. They must be affordable, within the income constraints of users, and in some cases no tolls should be charged at all as is the case with the interstate highway system of the US. Commerce, of course, increases the income in a nation, and thus could increase tax revenue. But that rise in tax revenue is not, for Smith, the reason for the promotion of commerce.

They are decided on the basis of their contributions to the public, and the interests of the public are not just an agglomeration of individual or competing interests either. The public has interests in common, such as the extension of markets and protection of persons and their properties, and the justness of laws and law enforcement matters too, as do educational opportunities. Smith highlights the importance of an educated public in his discussion of the functions of government.

The government must facilitate the instruction of the people as well as the commerce of the nation, and this was the case even though that instruction could be provided privately, as the charges for it could be, and were, exorbitant. The wealthy could afford them, but the public at large could not. Discussions of the advantages of education usually focus on its economic benefits, to both the educated and the nation. They had to have some minimal understanding of the world, and ability to learn about it, to act intelligently within it, and respect the others in it.

They can vote against their interests, voting for candidates whose actions would hurt their interests or the interests of all. Governments have found new ways of privatizing services. The private concern would finance, design, and construct the facility in exchange for a monthly payment over a specified time usually 20 to 30 years. While public-private partnerships are contractual agreements in the case of infrastructure partnerships, they need not entail contracts.

Henry A. Giroux | Barbarians at the Gates: Authoritarianism and the Assault on Public Education

But, although public-private partnerships take a variety of different forms, the objective of all is the same: making the public investment or service profitable enough to be provided privately. Public-private partnerships separate the provisioning of government services from their funding. The private enterprise provides the service, whereas the government provides the funding.

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But, if the government covers the costs of the service, why not provide it itself? Why spend the time and money forming the partnership, and monitoring its outcomes, if it is going to pay for what is done anyway. The answers to these questions center on the greater efficiency of private enterprise and the consequent cost savings of public-private partnerships.

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Yet, studies of their use in infrastructure investment provide little support for this presumed cost saving, and, as the critics of these partnerships argue [6] , there is little reason to believe that they would save money. Governments can finance investment at a lower cost than private companies can, and, unlike the investments of governments, those of private concerns must earn a profit. And since private enterprises can fail, and some of those partnered by governments have failed, [7] bail out money has to be factored in as well.

The government, as Malcolm Sawyer emphasizes, cannot allow the disruption of essential services such as air traffic control , and thus must bail out the firms providing them. Private enterprises may be more efficient than governments, but for a public-private partnership to save taxpayer money, the efficiency of the private firm has to be high enough to offset the higher capital costs of its investment, as well as the cost of enforcing its contract and risk of its failure. And, here, we must remember that the cost savings of private firms can come at the expense of employees and suppliers — governments generally pay more — and at the cost of the services provided as well.

Costs can be reduced in ways other than through productivity increases. Their reduction may have more to do with the reduction of services or incomes than with efficiency gains, and the profit that drives the economizing of private firms is not received by the people that actually fulfill the government contracts either. The engineers and architects that design the new public facility, and managers that organize its work, are employees of enterprises, as are the construction workers that build it. They can work for the government also, and work as well for it as they do for private employers.

For, their performance on the job depends more on the rewards of doing it, and the regard in which the job is held, than the fear of job loss. Indeed, that fear can be counterproductive. The cost savings of public-private partnerships are certainly doubtful; yet, their effect on the government budget is not the critical consideration.

What is more worrisome is their effect on the ends of government. Governments acquiesce to those interests, and do so if for no other reason than livelihoods depend on the wellbeing of businesses. They provide the jobs. Private interests dominate the affairs of nations, and public-private partnerships not only reflect the influence of these interests, they also increase it. Government is run more like a business. And since the profitability of a service depends on the relation between benefits and costs, values have to be placed on benefits to the public.

The worth of these, in monetary terms, has to be determined, and this requires valuing such invaluable products as clean air and water, healthy and cultured lives. Of course the means of government are not unlimited, and the services have to be decided. But the means depend on taxes, and taxes can be levied for public purposes such as they are for health care in many countries , and in the capitalist nations, at least, there is no reason to believe that the resources available would not be sufficient for those purposes.

The government spending would not necessarily draw resources out of the private sector, or be inflationary, for, resource scarcity is not, and probably never has been, the central economic problem of capitalist nations. It is the unemployment of resources, not their availability, which has limited the income of these countries and periodically impoverished them. This government agenda must be decided by the interests of the public, and these interests, as we have argued, are not just an agglomeration of individual interests.

The public has interests in common, and the determination of these interests, and the actions on them, occur through the institutions of government. Government provides a public space, places and times for public discourse on the affairs of the nation, such as the public hearings of government agencies, the constituent gatherings of elected officials and electoral campaigns. And the political matters discussed through these avenues are decided, and acted on, in the legislature of the government, while the laws enacted there are enforced through the judiciary.

Henry A. Giroux | Barbarians at the Gates: Authoritarianism and the Assault on Public Education

The government substantiates the public purpose, keeping it in the conscience of the nation, and this, arguably, is its most important function. This cohort needs to fund its retirement.

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It needs returns amid a dearth of securities. Low hanging fruit is most appealing and privatization are such as government assets are typically sold under FMV. This cohort is large and growing and the promises made are so huge that market valuations need to ballon to fulfill these promises. However, the number of listed companies have dwindled. This need to fund promotes financial engineering.

Interestingly, most of the posts that revolve around pensions are those that get little attention. I would just add that this need to fund promotes investment in the MIC or any industry that might work its way into that complex, plus investment in tried and true earners such as fossil fuels, auto, industrial ag, pharma, basically all the areas where humanity would benefit from phasing out.

Some of us mostly union types starting thinking about how pensions work in the s in an effort to try to get unions that could — most unions have no ability to direct the assets in union pension plans, only fund managers do, which unfortunately has good historical precedent to direct some pension fund assets to either buyouts of unionized companies that were at risk of closing or at least directing assets away from PE and companies with bad union records. The Canadian unions were slightly more successful — Quebec I think still has a social investment fund; the Canadian steelworkers started one but I think they have since wound it up.

Henry A. Giroux | Barbarians at the Gates: Authoritarianism and the Assault on Public Education

AFAIK, virtually all pension funds funds now are deeply into PE and, as Moneta says, have a dwindling supply of public companies remaining to invest in, before you even get into trying to stay out of the worst of the worst. Here in Wisconsin we have a state db plan that is fully funded because payouts go down as well as up if need be. Of course, the defined contribution plans will never meet the retirement needs of most who depend on them. The only question is how much suffering there will be — a lot or really a lot. The only real solution is to turn Social Security into a decent retirement plan, not a minimum retirement plan.

As, as M says, fund pay-as-you-go. When you think about it, it is really insane for everyone to try to pre-fund their pension.

Their costs will gradually creep up and they will be angry at our leaders never realizing that they bought more than they could chew a long time ago. We shot ourselves in the foot 30 years ago. Just last week I was speaking with a 65 year old who complained about her muni taxes and how they were too high.

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I told her to brace herself for more increases. She looked at me in disbelief. She argued that our leaders must be hiding piles of gold somewhere with all the taxes we are paying. Please fill in a complete birthday Enter a valid birthday.

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The teacher shortage is even larger when teaching credentials are factored in

Sponsored products for you. FREE Shipping. Historically, there has been an ongoing relationship between public and private interests in education; for example, the commercially produced textbook has been central to the conduct of schooling in the US since the early 20 th century. However, it is the scale of commercial production, and the impact that the formation of quasi-markets have on the value of public education that is important.