Sunday, July 8, 2012

New! Greek Austerity... Now With... Privatization!

One would think it was bad enough that the New Democrats in office are not, contrary to their campaign promises, pursuing a renegotiation of the draconian terms of their bailout. Their creditors warned them that such a request would be turned down. So, in a move that is to me inexplicable politically, the leading party in the ruling coalition isn't even going to try. But as I said, that's not the worst of it.

No, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says they're going to privatize everything.

Americans, how do you like your Postal Service, with its new, longer delivery times and its ever-increasing postage rates? That's an example of privatization. Or how about the privatized prison systems of most states, in many of which police have been quietly instructed to fill up the jails despite a decrease in crime in the last decade or so? How do you like having family breadwinners serving often mandatory terms for possession of small amounts of marijuana, just so the privatized prisons can make a profit? How do you like the outbreaks of violence in some prisons, attributable in part to the employment of inadequately trained, underpaid guards? Is it possible the Invisible Hand of the Market is raising its invisible middle finger at all of us?

Greece's New Democratic leadership is contemplating privatizing the railways, elder care and child care. Good luck with that, I say: every intrinsic governmental function that has been privatized in the US has ended up providing lower quality and quantity of service for no less money. The more that issues of economy of scale affect a given service (e.g., medical care), the more the cost of privatization goes up. Greeks, take it from Americans: privatization is a bad deal for your public tax money.

(H/T Enfant de la Haute Mer for the various links. Read her post for more information and a lot more links on the economic situation in Greece.)


  1. As goes Greece, so goes democracy. Just ask Pericles. The Hand of the Market is raising a neo-dark age.

  2. Reporting On The Golden Fleece:

  3. I would like someone to show me an instance where privatization has improved service, quality or cost. They can't.



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