Margaret Thatcher sold her arguments on privatisation to the British people in no uncertain terms. Some would argue that the privatised and resulting market-driven economy have resulted in the prosperity that the UK has enjoyed since. Others would point to individualistic attitudes of this approach which have had dire effects on society. Both are probably true.
National assets were sold to the people. But the people were the mugs because they bought what they already owned.
Privately-owned companies function adequately when driven by market forces, but we should not apply market forces to water and electricity.
What stops such companies being efficient but running socially motivated public services? Why are market forces necessary to make companies efficient?
Privatisation drives people apart
Privatisation drives people apart and the motivation is individual not mutualised profit. Fellow against fellow. But what place does socialism have today in western society?
Most politicians consider it a dirty word as if to be ‘social’ is not to care about the economic well-being of the country. What is left then of organisations founded to provide public services?
Sarkozy is using Thatcher’s approach to pander to the right, all too eager to selloff national companies. Shouldn’t his right-wing cousins question whether that is in the interests of the nation? Would any of them suggest that Sarko is motivated mostly by winning the next election?
You get what you pay for
My bets are he will at some point be claiming, as did the Tories, to be the champion of small government and low taxation. Don’t be fooled, France – you get what you pay for! And health and education systems cost money to maintain. And even the Americans look set to make that choice despite a generation of right-wing infiltration.
Beware the creeping advance of private insurance, the privatisation of EDF, the road systems and the delocalisation of power to the regions. These are no more than tools to reduce central government spending. Our conservative government uses this to claim good housekeeping.
But check out the total bill after your taxes go down, but your insurance contributions, road taxes, electricity, gas and train tickets go up to pay dividends to private investors.
It seems like a pretty good way to suck out our national finances. Is the solution then globalisation? i.e. do unto others what they have done to us. Perhaps, as long as the playing field is even, that tax regulations are the same and that governments agree. But they don’t. And maybe we should learn something from the global banking crisis of 2009?
Nationalisation is not the solution
The hard left is right to seek to adjust the proportion of profits to investors and employees, which is out of balance and banning big bonuses, but is it wise to nationalise everything? Large-scale central planning à la Russe has not been a success but to disown the responsibility of central planning by eliminating government from the national coordination process, leaving the decentralised authorities to negotiate with private multi-nationals is no better.