Andreas Bieler Blogspot
The perpetuum mobile of privatisation
Von Andreas Bieler
Privatisation is a truly fantastic thing. Privatising public services would result in four benign consequences, we are told: (1) the production of services becomes more efficient and, therefore, cheaper; (2) the quality of the services is improved; (3) the cost of services for the consumer is reduced; and (4) companies providing these services can still make a profit. And this all as a result of private services being subject to the competitive pressures of the free market. Like a perpetuum mobile, a hypothetical machine which continues to function once activated, privatization would have an inevitable and continuing positive impact once implemented. In this post, I will critically evaluate these claims against the background of my research on the Italian water movement against privatisation (see Road to Victory and La lotta continua) and discuss why it is that this discourse continues to enjoy such widespread acceptance, although it is empirically so obviously wrong.