Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'll try to keep this short (I really will).

I have noticed that privatization efforts get a lot of bashing from the left, or just from ordinary people. As an econ nerd acquainted with the pros and cons of privatization, I always get curious when I hear that somebody actually prefers government provision of a good or service to private provision, so do some digging on every instance of "failed privatization" I hear about. And I've noticed trends. When leftists complain about privatization, what they are really complaining about is either:

1) The failure of a particular public-private partnership

2) The failure of enforced monopolization

3) In developing countries, the lack of rule of law

Genuine privatization, with all of its savings, efficiency, etc., rarely gets attacked because it has been working so well we didn't even notice it. Did the same people who say that water is too important to be left up to profit-driven private corporations to supply ever stop to think about how the food they eat is provided by profit-driven corporations? Do you want to see a government-ran grocery story with government-produced goods? Go to Cuba or North Korea and take a look at what the typical citizen there shops at, it'll make Michael Moore beg for a Wal-Mart.

I would like to talk about this in more detail in a later post but I wanted to just float this idea out there, that when leftists and righties jabber back and forth about privatization, if you look at what leftists are actually saying, you can see the two sides are actually talking past each other.

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