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Issue #1736      June 22, 2016

The myths of privatisation

A number of myths are put out to sell the idea of privatisation and the associated contracting out and other processes. It is claimed that the private sector is inherently more efficient and that the public sector is inefficient; that markets and competition lead to improved quality, contain costs, are more accountable and provide cheaper services.

Or there is the budget deficit line – budgets must be balanced so sell off the farm to cancel the debt, bring in the private sector to provide capital.

Or we are told that we can no longer afford the “welfare state”, a claim used to justify the introduction of means testing and user-pays for services that were free. We need to tackle these myths and knock them over. We need to expose the underlying ideology – the anti-working class, anti-people, pro-big business ideology behind them. A look at a few examples soon shows the arguments defending privatisation are false.

Why is it that whenever a private corporation gets into financial trouble they rush to the government for tax breaks, subsidies, depreciation allowances, export assistance, and so on? They always expect taxpayers to bail them out.

The public sector was the major employer of school leavers. The fact that the public sector is not recruiting young people is contributing to the high rate of youth unemployment. The public sector is now under the gun as never before. Wide spread cuts across the board are being implemented and the government is also going after hard won conditions for those that remain.

Privatisation has been a vehicle for de-unionisation, the casualisation of the workforce and attacks on awards, wages and conditions.

Contracting-out results in workers competing against each other for the fewer and fewer jobs. Some might get a job with a contractor or in the private sector but nowhere near the number that are being sacked from the public sector. Also, following privatisation, there is no longer the cooperative workplace spirit which often prevailed in the public sector.

Next article – Defeat the Coalition – CPA Statement

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