Saturday, September 1, 2012
During the Thatcher years in Britain there was a Spectator cartoon of a ragged, wreck of a man crawling in a desert gasping "privatised water ... privatised water ...". I must have thought it was pretty funny; for some reason anyhow it has stayed with me. The long game, the long term trend - evolution perhaps - is toward privatisation. The usual reasons for socialisation of wealth are falling victim to the pincer movement that dooms anything: (1) it doesn't work well, and (2) a better alternative comes along. We will hang onto something that doesn't work well with hardly a thought, but when something better comes along its days are numbered. That suggests a continued area for growth (entrepreneurial activity): replacing government 'services' with something that works. It's not a matter of going 'full anarchist' - for surely not everything can be privatised at this time - but it's a matter of recognising the rationality of the trend.