Word of the Day by Jorge Díaz Ortiz

When the state outsources and/or externalizes government services to the private industry, it is called privatization. Privatization is one of the key components of the capitalist neoliberal project.


This ideology became the primary agenda for right wing governments, and was implemented for the first time in Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, with the support of the US government. Subsequently, the ideology was championed by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the UK, who led the way for a new hegemony in late stage capitalism.


As she very candidly said, economics are the method. The object is to change the heart and soul. In practice, neo-liberals aim to privatize all public services, from education and healthcare, to transportation and electricity. For neoliberals, the state should only function to protect the private industry and maintain the privatization model.


By the privatization of public services, civil liberties are undermined, and people’s rights directly attacked. Privatization often leads to deregulation of policies and taking the power away from government bodies, which limits our ability to keep private corporations in check, and to fight against the exploitive methods, which destroy our peoples and environment. Advocates and defenders of privatization often argue that competition in the market will provide better services and that the market will regulate itself, and the benefit of society, who receives the trickle down of the crumbs of the wealthy. Privatization generates rising costs and lower quality and services, lack of accountability, and extraordinary levels of profits juxtaposed with the disinvestment in our infrastructure. And the massive displacement of workers and communities.


Neoliberals are constantly attempting to push a privatization agenda, exploiting crises and disasters to justify the intervention of the private sector and dismantling public services, and hoarding our resources. However, there are always struggles being fought by communities, groups and organizations, and resisting the privatization agenda, and it is through this relentless fight that we generate the possibility to win.

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