New Events

International

no events posted in last week

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien

offsite link Interview with Cathal Goulding Mon Dec 26, 2016 17:11 | Cathal Goulding

offsite link Trump, Russia and the CIA Sat Dec 10, 2016 18:23 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link No law for the powerful, strict enforcement for decent citizens

offsite link Garda corruption: the stripped down truth Anthony

offsite link Will Pat Hickey turn up for his trial? Anthony

offsite link Garda breath tests letter Anthony

offsite link Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link ?Make Trade, Not War? is China?s daring plan in the Middle East Fri Jan 19, 2018 23:10 | The Saker
by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) Under the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing aims to connect western China to the eastern Mediterranean

offsite link Greece ? Convenient Victim or Complacent Masochist? Fri Jan 19, 2018 23:03 | The Saker
by Peter Koenig for the Saker blog Why this title? ? Because Greece doesn?t have to continue playing the card of the victim, nor being masochist. Greece seems to suffer

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2018/01/19 ? Open Thread Fri Jan 19, 2018 23:00 | Herb Swanson
2018/01/19 23:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link Poland is leaving the EU (Ruslan Ostashko) Fri Jan 19, 2018 22:54 | The Saker
This is the latest video from the Russian political analyst Ruslan Ostashko, this time in a somewhat different format from the familiar “Five minutes of Common Sense”. Donald Tusk has

offsite link Syrian War Report ? January 19, 2018: Syrian Troops Almost Closed Eastern Idlib Pocket Fri Jan 19, 2018 18:05 | Scott
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-rep... On January 18, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Iranian-backed militias liberated the village of Qaytal fom Hay?at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) in southern Aleppo and almost closed

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Repeal and Replace? Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:58 | Fiona de Londras

offsite link Shifting Sands Under the Abortion Debate Mon Jan 15, 2018 09:30 | GuestPost

offsite link Liberty, the ICCL, and other NGO groups? landmark challenge against the UK Government?s mass surveil... Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:56 | admin

offsite link What Ireland can gain from international guidance on Article 19 UNCRPD Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:53 | Eilionoir Flynn

offsite link Repeal or Replace? Tue Oct 03, 2017 06:31 | Fiona de Londras

Human Rights in Ireland >>

The Spectre Haunting Europe

category international | economics and finance | other press author Monday December 04, 2017 23:21author by 1 of indy Report this post to the editors

This is a repost of an recent article (Dec 1st) by economic analyst and trade unionist Michael Taft on www.tasc.ie covering the good news trend where there is now a trend in Europe of reversing privatisations. And that is certainly something positive.

There is a spectre haunting Europe – the spectre of de-privatisation, re-municipalisation, and re-nationalisation. Local, regional and national Governments throughout Europe and in other countries - fed up with high costs, low investment, deteriorating quality and poor working conditions – are taking services back into public control and ownership. For many, privatisation has produced poor results; now they are starting to reverse that process. Public ownership is back on the agenda.

reclaiming_public_services_cover.jpg

The Transnational Institute has published a comprehensive report: ‘Reclaiming Public Services: How Cities and Citizens are Turning Back Privatisation’. at https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/reclaim...s.pdf
They not only provide case studies but provide an exhaustive catalogue of the cities and states that have brought public service back into public control.

Overall, they list 835 de-privatisations at all levels of government, but mostly at local/regional government since most countries have far stronger local governments than in Ireland. This followed a wave of privatisations and out-sourcing in the 1980s and 1990s. A number of economic activities have been impacted.


  • Energy was the largest sector for de-privatisations (311) with most occurring in Germany
  • Water was the second largest sector (267) with France accounting for nearly 40 percent
  • General local government services was next up with 140. These cover a range of services: cleaning, security, housing, school catering, sports, etc. Interestingly, the UK – the ideological home of privatisations - led this list.

There were de-privatisations in waste services, public transport, education services, and health care and social work.

The activities go beyond what might be considered traditional public services and traditional public ownership. For instance, Vienna has re-municipalised theatres and cinemas some of which are now under the control of associations manged by workers and citizens. This shows that public ownership doesn’t necessarily mean the ‘state’ – it can also mean civil society groups taking charge of activities. In Mouans-Sartoux, France, municipality even bought a piece of farmland and employed a farmer to provide the local school restaurants with 100 per cent organic food.

In many cases, de-privatisation occurred for largely defensive reasons. Costa and were rising, investment was falling, working conditions were deteriorating and/or the quality of the service was falling. In other cases, the local government was creating new activity or wanted to co-ordinate the activity with other public goals. Underlining all this, however, was the experience that privatisation wasn’t working.

In Ireland, there are only two examples, both in Northern Ireland: hospital cleaning and waste recycling (Banbridge District Council). In the Republic, we can only surmise that privatisation is doing great and has no need of reform; or that we don’t evaluate and act upon the results. I suspect the latter.

Take bin services, for example. I have written on this topic previously:

‘The bin charges debacle is spiralling into chaos. We have areas where two or three or four bin companies operate and other areas where companies are threatening to leave; escalating charges becoming an intolerable burden on many low-income households; considerable price variations between counties; off-shored private companies pursuing wage suppression to increase profits; considerable illegal dumping; charges for recycling which dis-incentivises a social good; and on and on. This is not a waste management policy; it is a circus.’

There is a strong argument for returning waste collection to public ownership. This doesn’t necessarily mean that local government or a public agency would direct supply the service, though it could; they could tender – but for whole markets (e.g. Cork City Council could tender for all of Cork). Regardless of the process, there would need to be public oversight, strong labour regulations, price controls and transparent financial accounts.

But there are positive reasons to extend public ownership – either through local agencies or civil society organisations. We saw that in Somerset, Kentucky, the local council set up a public petrol station to take on the price-cartel operated by the private providers. In other cases, public ownership can earn profits and dividends from commercial activities which can then be re-invested into public services. In still other areas, public ownership can provide economy activity in depressed areas where private capital is in short supply.

In short, there is an opportunity to re-invent public services and public ownership. This is what they are doing in other jurisdictions. Let’s hope that the spectre haunting Europe reaches our shores sometime in the near future.

Note: the list of re-municipalisations start on page 178 of the report linked above

Related Link: https://www.tasc.ie/blog/2017/12/01/the-spectre-hauntin...rope/

PDF Document Reclaiming Public Services: How Cities and Citizens are Turning Back Privatisation (PDF) 1.77 Mb

© 2001-2018 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy