Sunday, April 22, 2012

Privatization of Santa Monica College - Opinion Piece

Ankur Patel has published an interesting op-ed entitled The Problem with Two-Tiered Tuition, Privatization ofEducation and Pepper Spray, in which he addresses problems with the recent privatization of Santa Monica College (student body of 35,000).  

4 comments:

  1. Professor, I'm curious is your blog intended to be pro-privatization or anti-privatization? There was certainly a lot of high sounding false anti-capitalist (which is nothing but anti-personal individual freedom) in the post to which you linked. Rather than find the post interesting, I found it to be a fanciful diversion from rational thought and experience.

    Gary Britt, STCL '85

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  3. I'm not endorsing everything in the post to which I linked, and your characterizations are not unfair. I included it because I thought the subject was interesting (privatization of Santa Monica). I thought I was less complimentary about the article than usual.

    As the primary contributor to the Privatization Blog, I tend to be anti-privatization, but at the same time I try to be reasonable and even-handed (rather than ranting). But I am definitely not anti-capitalist. Rather, I see government outsourcing as a bad deal for taxpayers in most cases - it fails to deliver on its promised savings, because the government is not a natural market participant. Too much government outsourcing is non-competitive, and therefore fails to incorporate the disciplines of market forces. The government is much less efficient than the private sector; but when the government hires private contractors to do governmental jobs, it is not "private sector," but rather the government at its worst.

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  4. OK, fair enough. I was curious as to your point of view. BTW to be clear my references to high sounding false anti-capitalism was about the post to which your post linked and not about your post itself. I agree that not all government functions are ripe for outsourcing. Education however is definitely not one of the unripe. There is a fairly new city that was carved out of the Atlanta metro area where I live called Sandy Springs. They have done a really impressive job of outsourcing lots of traditional city services. Things like taking competitive bids on running the clerks office for all city courts. Saved the taxpayers much money. The City of Atlanta is famous for refusing to outsource the operations of commercial stores located inside Hartsfield-Jackson international airport. Companies offer to lease these rights and handle these operations for such large amounts over and above what profit the City makes in doing it in-house that property taxes could be lowered all over the city. The politicians however don't want to give up control over all the patronage jobs at the airport, no matter what the cost to the taxpayers. I would suggest that those things that are outsourced by cities that have problems, have problems because of the poor manner in which the outsourcing is done. Such as you point out without taking competitive bids.

    Gary Britt, STCL '85

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