Friday, 11 July 2014


The global scourge of von- Hayekist, Chicago School, neo-liberal privatisation of key public utilities and state-owned enterprises which began with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and soon after by U.S. President Ronald Reagan is being increasingly challenged, as countries around the world realise that it's not working out as privatised enterprises put profits before the interests of the people.

This was followed by a series of "de-regulation" or "liberalisation" of telecommunications network operators, electricity, water, airlines, schools and universities and other state-owned entities which pleased the capitalists no end, since they saw profits, profits and more profits, whilst spin doctors convinced consumers that it was "good" for them, gave them "freedom of choice", etc., etc..

Following Margaret Thatcher's visit to Malaysia in the mid 1980s, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir began a spate of privatisation of public utilities and resources, and today one of the results of that is the proposed Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) which will be built and operated by a private concessionnaire, which has the right to collect tolls from its users. Besides that, KIDEX will also result in the demolition of hundreds of homes, the reduction of school playing fields, spoil Petaling Jaya's skyline, add to noise and exhaust fume pollution.

Chic, arty-farty, yuppie, Bangsar-wallah, Neo-Liberal types hailed privatisation and freedom of choice, like diabetic children suddenly told that they can eat all the sweets they want, but like the long-term consequences for these diabetic children, privatisation has been found to have resulted in the deterioration of public services.

I compared the bus service of Greater Manchester in the U.K., which was run by a city-owned corporation back in the 1970s when I was a student there wit what I experienced of it when I visited in the late 1990s, when Manchester's bus service was operated by several private companies. In the 1970s, bus drivers could tell you which buses to take to get to your destination and you could travel anywhere in Manchester on the buses on a single bus pass. However with the privatised system, I could only use the bus pass I had bought on routes in South Manchester, and the bus drivers could not tell me what buses to take.

State ownership of public services isn't socialism of course, nay, under a capitalist state, it's state capitalism but that's still better than privatised entities.

If you want to see what real socialism is like, watch this video. It's in Spanish or Portuguese with English subtitles.

I watched it last night at a screening at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in commemoration of the 203rd Independence Day of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, hosted by the Embassy of Venezuela.

BTW. I heard from reliable sources that Hugo Chavez, much maligned by U.S. imperialism and Neo-Liberals, was a staunch Roman Catholic who believes in social justice and he has done much to empower his people to lift themselves out of poverty and deprivation.

U.S. imperialism, the CIA, National Endowment for Democracy and Soros financed NGOs will continue to attempt to destabilise Venezuela's road to socialism through their proxy NGOs but the majority of Venezuelans will not allow it, and to prevent a recurrence of the CIA-backed military coup in Chile in 1973, which brought down the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende and assassinated him (in the name of "democracy"), Venezuela has cleverly guarded against that by winning over the rank and file of its military and by creating an armed people's militia which will defend the revolution against the elites backed by U.S. imperialism.

They will ensure that what happened in Chile will not happen in Venezuela

Meanwhile, below is an article in The Guardian by Seamus Milne which details the turn-back against privatisation in Britain and denounces New Labour for its half-hearted attempts at re-nationalisation of key public facilities.

Read on and enjoy the video above.

Yours Truly




The tide is turning against the scam that is privatisation

The international revival of public ownership is anathema to our City-led elite. But it's vital to genuine economic recovery

Seumas Milne The Guardian, Wednesday 9 July 2014 20.37 BST

Privatisation isn't working. We were promised a shareholding democracy, competition, falling costs and better services. A generation on, most people's experience has been the opposite. From energy to water, rail to public services, the reality has been private monopolies, perverse subsidies, exorbitant prices, woeful under-investment, profiteering and corporate capture.

Private cartels run rings round the regulators. Consumers and politicians are bamboozled by commercial secrecy and contractual complexity. Workforces have their pay and conditions slashed. Control of essential services has not only passed to corporate giants based overseas, but those companies are themselves often state-owned – they're just owned by another state.

Report after report has shown privatised services to be more expensive and inefficient than their publicly owned counterparts. It's scarcely surprising that a large majority of the public, who have never supported a single privatisation, neither trust the privateers nor want them running their services.

But regardless of the evidence, the caravan goes on. David Cameron's government is now driving privatisation into the heart of education and health, outsourcing the probation service and selling off a chunk of Royal Mail at more than £1bn below its market price, with the government's own City advisers cashing in their chips in short order.

No amount of disastrous failures or fraudulent wrongdoing, it seems, debars companies such as G4S, Atos and Serco from lucrative new contracts in what is already an £80bn business – and one with an increasingly powerful grip on Westminster and Whitehall.

You might think this would be an open goal for the opposition – and no case more so than the scam for siphoning off public money that is Britain's privatised rail system. Rail has been the ultimate dysfunctional selloff. Shoehorning private markets into a natural monopoly has delivered fragmentation, rock-bottom investment, annual costs of £1.2bn, the most expensive train fares in Europe, and more than double the level of state subsidy than under British Rail.

The East Coast mainline, by contrast, has provided a far better service under public ownership and delivered £800m to the exchequer (not unlike the publicly owned Scottish Water). So naturally the coalition is going to sell it off, while Labour is in a tailspin over whether to back the highly popular demand for renationalisation.

Ed Balls, now keeper of the flickering New Labour flame, insists public ownership would be "ideological". The rail profiteers and corporate barons, alarmed by Ed Miliband's plans to freeze privatised energy prices, agree. So Labour is toying with a halfway house, where franchises continue but the public sector is allowed to bid to run them as well as the privateers.

That sounds like an expensive dog's breakfast. Rail renationalisation has the advantage of being not just popular but entirely free – as each franchise can be brought back under public control as it expires. To resist it in those circumstances can only be about the power of corporate lobbies or market ideology.

But the need to break with 30 years of cash-backed dogma against public ownership goes well beyond rail. The privatised industries haven't only failed to deliver efficiency, value for money, accountability or secure jobs. They have also sucked wealth, rentier-style, out of sitting-duck monopolies, concentrated economic decision-making in fewer and fewer hands, deepened inequality and failed to deliver the investment essential to sustainable growth.

At a time when the entire corporate sector is sitting on an uninvested cash mountain and productivity is actually falling as a result, the lack of a publicly owned economic motor to drive recovery is dire. In the case of energy, the privatised system is failing to deliver the most basic goal of investing – to keep the lights on.

The alternative of tougher regulation, seen as the acceptable political alternative, means trying to do by remote control what's far better done directly and won't fix the problem on its own. Experience has shown that you can't control what you don't own.

As the Glasgow academic Andrew Cumbers argues in a paper for the thinktank Class, it's only by huge incentives and perverse subsidies – such as those paid to Danish and Swedish state-owned companies to meet renewable targets – that the government is able to coax the privatised monoliths to do what the public sector could have done itself far more cheaply.

The case for new forms of public ownership in the banking sector and utilities – energy, water, transport and communications infrastructure – is compelling. A core of socially owned and democratically controlled enterprises could set the pace of investment, reconstruction and the shift to a greener economy.

It's a policy that has support from the majority of the public but is regarded as beyond the pale by the business-as-usual elite. It would be prohibitively expensive, they claim, and a throwback to a better yesterday. In reality, there need be no net cost to the public purse. Even if full market compensation is paid, that would be in the form of a government bonds-for-shares swap. Interest would have to be paid on the bonds of course, but it could be funded with a slice of these companies' profits.

But Britain's City-focused governing class has also failed to notice what's happening in the rest of the world. From Latin America and the United States to western Europe, in both the global south and north, privatised public services, utilities and resources are being steadily brought back into public ownership. In the past decade, 86 cities have taken water back into social ownership. In Germany alone, more than 100 energy concessions have been returned to public ownership since the 2007-8 crisis.

Even as austerity is being used to try to breathe new life into privatisation, the tide has started to flow in the other direction. The new wave of public ownership is taking innovative, sometimes hybrid, forms, and overcoming weaknesses that hobbled earlier nationalised industries.

But in Britain the power of City and corporate vested interests engorged on the profits of privatisation is a powerful obstacle to this essential shift. Pressure for a genuinely mixed economy – something previously regarded as the commonsense mainstream – is bound to grow as the costs and failures of unbridled capitalism mount. Rail can only be the first step.

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