Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Privatizing government functions

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I find the Greenwald column I earlier blogged quite worrisome, and here’s why: The government has privatized quite a few functions across various Executive departments, from custodial work to armed military combat work (Blackwater and others). And God knows what the CIA has hired private contractors to do.

I can think of quite a few reasons for this privatization, which has gone far beyond what I believe was originally expected (when you have privatized military and intelligence functions, including torture, then what’s left?). In no particular order, reasons that occur to me:

To act in accordance with a belief that government should be small and that private industry can do things more efficiently.

To gain deniability: “it wasn’t us, it was those damn private contractors!”

To avoid legal restrictions (including record-keeping requirements) that apply to governmental activities.

To create a lucrative position in private industry that one can move to when one leaves the government—or (more likely) to create a lucrative business (and, sometimes, industry) that one can move to.

To do illegal things.

And you can probably think of more reasons.

At any rate, the situation exists now where many functions previously done by (and restricted to) governmental agencies are now performed by private businesses, many of which are, of course, staffed by the same people who did those functions in the government: those people have relevant direct experience and are happy to do the same work for more money and less red tape.

So now we have (in effect) governmental agencies with governmental powers operating as a private industry. So, naturally, this industry wants more customers than just the government—to make more money and to broaden their financial base. So they start calling on other private companies to see what services they might sell.

So, private companies can now pay what in effect (in terms of capabilities and even staff) are government agencies to do what the private companies want them to do. That is, the governmental powers are now being turned over to private companies to do with as they want. Private industry is (or has) taken over the US. I would say “has” in looking at what Big Business (including Big Finance) can get away with no, with no repercussions.

This seems to me to be a very serious development. And the unhinged reaction of the US government to Wikileaks makes me think that there are some very bad things that the government is afraid might surface.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 February 2011 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Business, Government

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