Saturday, April 26, 2014

Diagram of the Public, Private, and Third Sectors

"Privatize Everything?"

     Not that I've heard the phrase recently, but I'd appreciate it if self-described libertarians would stop saying "privatize everything" without making qualifications or going into more detail.

     Simply saying "privatize everything" seems to imply that government should sell-off properties, assets, and public agencies to for-profit enterprises (which are, unfortunately, nearly always supported by government in one - or ten - ways or another). This is not what a free market looks like.

     This rhetorical approach often fails to consider three things: 1) "private" can refer to non-profit or not-for-profit orgs, and at its loosest can mean any non-state or non-public org; 2) there is such a thing as "radical privatization", which is essentially getting government out of the issue completely and leaving the rest up to non-state orgs, including mutual aid orgs;

     and 3) there is such a thing as "privatization to the third sector", whereby government sells properties - or hands off control of public agencies - to non-profits, not-for-profits, voluntary associations, charities, cooperatives or ELMFs, consumer cooperatives, mutuals, or consumer-oriented orgs.

     A further distinction must be made between the "third sector" associated with the non-state actors I just described, versus the "third sector" associated with government-supported private-public partnerships (PPPs).

     Understanding this is crucial to delineating the difference between capitalism (in which government protects private property) and real free enterprise (in which, if you want to declare something your private property, you have to protect it yourself).

Written on August 10th, 2016

Image created in April 2014

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