Friday, October 24, 2014

Privatized versus Government Run

I see that the city of Anderson is dropping the private company they hired to do their busing. I also remembered that the company Mitch Daniels contracted with to run the northern Indiana tolls is going bankrupt.

Here was my thought. There are certain things that are very suited to privatization. These are things that involve competition. To speak in terms of ethical theory, these are utilitarian areas where the needs of the many are the name of the game.

But of course, not everything is utilitarian. There are areas where, again, turning to ethical theory, matters are deontological or a matter of duty. These are areas where what we call basic human rights are involved or (as I would rather put it) basic elements of our common social contract are at stake. These are areas like education, police, and some would argue basic health services. These are areas where there are key standards that trump competition.

My thought was, upon reading of the Anderson fiasco, that only utilitarian matters are best suited for privatization. Areas of basic rights are more appropriately administrated by the government, with accountability and transparency, of course.

A thought for a Friday afternoon...


JRS said...

Did I understand correctly? You are identifying busing as a basic right?

Ken Schenck said...

I don't like "rights" language at all. I like to think of these things as part of a fundamental societal agreement.

Education is essential for a successful democracy, and the system doesn't work if children aren't there. The State needs to ensure that every child gets a core education and that every child has a way to get there.

JRS said...

I agree on the "rights" language; not helpful, mostly harmful.

Since I'm not familiar with the Anderson situation I thought you were referring to city operated buses rather than school buses. From my perspective there is a significant difference between the two types of bus service.

And attempting to avoid being obnoxious, allow me a bit of push back. Our system is not a democracy. We are a constitutional republic. That's a very significant distinction.

Ken Schenck said...

I wondered if someone would point that out. :-) I didn't think it made a difference on this issue.