Saturday, February 24, 2007

Growing Privatization, Good or Bad?

Back in Feb. 06 I posted on Indiana's desire to sell one of its toll roads to private enterprise. I wrote:

"In the print edition of today's Detroit Free Press the Associated Press has an article "Hoosier highway may go private" that looks promising. Any government social service that gets privatized is something I support."

Well, Indiana did lease it for 75 years for $3.8 billion to a consortium of Spanish and Australian financial firms.

Now, the Feb 22nd 07 Detroit Free Press has a story titled "Toll Road Leases Sought" by Gannett News Service writer Raju Chebium. It claims eleven "cash-strapped states ready to make deals."

What with a handful of states trying to sell their lotteries and others selling their roads and some municpalities privatizing such things as trash pick-up, this might bode well for the future. The good that may result would be the general population noticing that the private ownership of some government services begets more efficient services than the government was providing and may spawn a call for more privatization.

Then again, even if privatization works beautifully, it's not likely the MSM would print very many articles informing their readers of it. The MSM is solidly anti- private enterprise. Even the microscopically right of center Detroit News wants free-enterprise regulated in the "public interest" same as the Freep.

Another bad thing is that the money will be used to pay off the various state debts but will do nothing to address the cause of those debts-increased social programs and regulations over their citizens.

Still, if the people see that privatization works better than government control, there is hope for the future.

3 comments:

Inspector said...

Mike,

Hmmm, how free market is this stuff, really? "Selling" a state lottery is really selling a license to operate the state monopoly on lotteries. This is no different than a state telecom license or a state power company. Competition is still forbidden by law. That ain't no free market and the pitfalls of this fact will be blamed on the free market.

The road thing is a bit better. It must compete with other roads and other means of commute and must turn a profit. It will be subject to at least some of the laws of the market.

Mike N said...

inspector, you have a point on the sale of the lottery to private owners being a sale of a monopoly and private enterprise getting a bum rap for any pitfalls.

But I still like the overall trend of cash strapped states selling off services. I don't know if this will do any good in the long run but I'm hoping.

Inspector said...

Mike,

In general, the less they do the better. You've certainly got a point there.