links for 2011-06-10

  • Privatization takes inherently governmental functions — everything from national defense to mass transit and roads — and turns them over to the control of private actors, whose goal is to extract maximum revenue while costing as little as possible.

    Republicans have long advocated this in the name of free markets — saying that privatizing government services reduces the size of government. Democrats express more mixed support, but they sometimes go along for the privatizing ride.

    Yet it isn’t true, as a general rule, that privatization shrinks the public sector. When investor demand for high returns is combined with the natural monopolies of public assets, what often results instead is citizens finding themselves saddled with high fees and poor service.

  • As Vancouver develops a reputation as a place where only the über-rich can afford to buy property, it could seriously undermine the economy. Fewer workers living here and earning good pay means a weaker income tax base for the province (though the city is benefiting from property taxes) not to mention less people with the means to shop, eat out and support local businesses and the arts. In addition, if you don't have a vibrant and enterprising population, chances are new companies won't get started. Coupled with the scarcity and high costs of commercial real estate, more companies are likely to move their head offices away.
  • There are multiple strategies for change in a corrupt and oligarchical society. They aren’t all mutually exclusive. Let’s run through some of them…