Competing Theories

"Milton Friedman: The intellectual inspiration behind the public policies to privatize in the United States has come from the Public Choice and Property Rights schools of thought. Prominent leaders advocating these theories include Milton Friedman, the Chicago School of Economics, and Fredrick Von Hayek whose book, Road to Serfdom, warned of the growing welfare state. The basic assumptions include:

  • Democratic political systems have inherent tendencies toward government growth and excessive budgets.
  • Expenditure growth is due to self-interested coalitions of voters, politicians, and bureaucrats.
  • Public enterprises necessarily perform less efficiently than private enterprises.
  • The more individuals stand to gain from tending to their property, the better it will be tended."

"John Maynard Keynes: The dominant economic theory after WWII was that of John Maynard Keynes. Keynes believed that to break a depression, the government needed to stimulate demand. It was necessary to get money into the hands of consumers to jumpstart growth. Businesses would not borrow and build if no demand was in sight, no matter how low the interest rates might go. Keynesian theories were later refuted by economist Milton Friedman and this dispute is at the core of the ongoing debate regarding how to break the current recession/depression."

League of Women Voters Debate

Privatization: The Public Policy Debate

Are Friedman's assumptions true? Should all assets be for profit motives? Are there some things too precious to be rationed by cost? Is "to the highest bidder"? or "to the lowest bidder? always desirable and preferable?

Privatizing government assets a growing trend

Should Social Security be privatized?

Privatization: A Growing Trend in Child Welfare

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Joan - your link for "privatizing government assets a growing trend" is not working.  I was interested in reading that.  I live in an areas where this trend is out of control.  No longer can we count on taxes we pay to cover roadway infrastructure.  Instead, those dollars are being consumed to cover tax cuts for the 1%, big oil subsidies and unneccessary wars.  What we get in return are new automobile travel options that come with a toll, and are owned by international interests.  It is a slap in the face to those who need infrastructure to get to work and contribute to the tax base.  This trend must not be allowed to continue, or before we know it there will be a coin slot on every toilet connected to a privatized sanitary sewer that replaced the worn out public one.  Privatization means profitization, and a paradigm shift in the way this country operates is coming.  Taxes will not go down, they will just be used for new things - meanwhile, things that you used to get for your tax payments will become available for a per-use fee. 

Future, thanks for the heads up. Try this link:

Study: Privatizing government doesn’t actually save money

The way I found these articles was to Google "privatize + government", or "privatize + Soc. Sec."

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