Erik Prince, the brain behind the infamous private military firm Blackwater, is now in China training security forces. (link to article in Albawaba.com)
The latest stage of the corporate take-over of domains that used to be off-limits is the military. It’s part of a steady trend of government retreat and private-sector take-over.
To me it is obvious that there are certain things that should not be run for profit. These include health-care, education (including tertiary), police and the whole criminal-justice system (including prisons), social safety-nets, parks and environmental protection.
I would also add to that list public utilities like water, sewerage, electricity, transport, communications (postal services, telephony and electronic communications including the internet).
And there are some areas where a publicly owned presence should sit alongside the private sector to keep them honest, this includes housing (if there was enough public housing at reasonable rents then private sector housing would not be able to over-charge, which would have a knock-on effect on house prices and prevent property price bubbles) and the media (the BBC/ABC were set up at the beginning of broadcasting in recognition that its power to persuade, inform and shape the culture was too important to be left to private interests).
What do you think? Are there areas that should be off-limits to capitalism? What are they? Do we even care? Because if we don’t care then by default people like Erik Prince will take over, because they do care and they have a plan!