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Hello, I want to start a debate on Privatization of certain sectors.

  1. Privatization of police force - what is the possible outcome if the entire police force of a country is privatized? For example if law and security is handed over to two or more private police force, there will be competition among them for providing better security to citizens. This will improve law and order situation. Negative effects? I can't find one. The income of the private police force will come through the income tax by citizens. There will be a survey among citizens in every four months about their view on the private police force. Privatization of police force will reduce government spending and corruption. Thoughts?
  1. Privatization of highways - It will also reduce government spending and the company will earn money through toll roads. There may be a guideline that the government can use the roads without paying any money in emergency situations like natural disaster.
  1. Privatization of sanitation facility - Will Privatization of sanitation system increase effectiveness?
  1. Privatization of forests - Privatization of forests and sanctuaries will reduce government cost, while the companies will earn money through ecotourism and will pay tax to government. There will be guidelines that a minimum number of animal of X species should always be kept in each forest, failure to do so will result in action against the company, this will encourage conservation and reduce poaching.
  1. Privatization of consumer rights service - lets leave the issue of consumer rights in the hands of company funded NGOs rather than on courts. This will reduce pressure on judiciary. Special power will be given to some selected NGOs who will receive fund from different corporations. For example, A NGO receives fund from X company and B NGO receives fund from Y company. A person will has been affected by X company will be helped by B NGO and a person will has been affected by Y company will be helped by A NGO. Complain against the NGOs can be made in courts.

  1. Privatization of pollutions control - Why not leave the issue of pollution control on some corporations which will provide pollution control service. They will be given the authority to fine a company for failure in pollution control measures. This will increase the market, and also increase effectiveness.
  1. Privatization of rivers and lakes - What will be the effect if rivers and lakes are privatized? The companies in charge will charge money from agents (shipping corporation) who use rivers and lakes.

Is it possible to include something about these in the article? Hoogut 22:23, 28 February 2009 (EST)

Welcome, and, you're nuts, right? Virtually none of your sequiturs follow from their premises. You might be better off writing an essay, or several essays, outlining your points. Or, of course, you could also edit the article... ħumanUser talk:Human 22:27, 28 February 2009 (EST)

Now now, Human, be nice. You dont want another shitstorm between you and RA about treatment of new users. To Hootgut, just start something like Debate:How far should privatization go? and post each point, and we could then debate your point. Welcome, and we hope you enjoy your stay at RationalWiki The EmperorKneel before Zod! 23:25, 28 February 2009 (EST)

I was nice: I suggested several ways Hoogut could pursue their goals. My comment about their nons and their sequiturs was on point and not ad hom. Oh, wait, and I asked them if they were nuts. Asked - because I wasn't sure. As far as shitsturm and drang, note that I also went to their talk page and welcomed them. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:31, 1 March 2009 (EST)
The point is: Why does a private company want to run anything? For profit! If profit can be obtained from some resource or function, then why shouldn't the populace at large receive it? The trouble is that public bureaucracy is inefficient BUT there will need to be public bureaucracy to oversee the private sector anyhow, which will not be compensated by income (profit) from the resource. Only look at the UK's Private Finance Initiative so beloved by the Blair/Brown Government. ToastToastand marmite 23:37, 28 February 2009 (EST)
As a bit of a cynic I rather think that most advocates of privatisation envisage themselves as having a stake (and hence profits) in the privatised resource. nothing that's necessary for life should be in the hands of private individuals/companies. The opportunities for graft are too open. ToastToastand marmite 01:15, 1 March 2009 (EST)
Got to disagree there. In most cases, market forces keep private companies reined in, even in the provision of essential goods such as food; see the section below for examples of when the market does not function this way. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 01:22, 1 March 2009 (EST)
One word: Banking. ToastToastand marmite 01:32, 1 March 2009 (EST)
Are you talking about the mess some banks are currently in? Because we would probably have slightly more cautious banks if they were not able to count on a government bailout whenever they got in trouble. Not to say that reckless banks would then be a thing of the past; obviously we have had bank failures in eras of free banking, but most government intervention does not help matters very much. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 01:46, 1 March 2009 (EST)
"As a bit of a cynic" - really? I hadn't noticed :D Totnesmartin 05:13, 1 March 2009 (EST)

Response to Hoogut's points[edit]

  1. Privatization of police force: This would be highly inefficient. If citizen A contracted with police force X and citizen B contracted with police force Y, then to keep both citizens safe, both police forces would have to send out their own patrols to make sure that both citizens had adequate protection, because if force X's patrol saw B being assaulted in a back alley, they would just drive on since B was not paying them. The public police force, on the other hand, would need only one patrol. Not to mention that these private police forces could end up fighting each other in the absence of some public force to rein them in.
  2. Privatization of highways: This is a growing trend already, especially in Europe. We shall see what happens.
  3. Privatization of sanitation facilities: Privatizing the sewers will not increase competition; whoever owns the pipes has everyone by the short hairs.
  4. Privatization of forests: Private owners of forests have a dismal track record when it comes to taking care of them — even if that only means keeping them profitable. The laws you suggest to keep the private owners in line are ridiculous — similar to passing a law saying, "Thou shalt eat green cheese for breakfast every morning."
  5. Privatization of consumer rights services: We have this already. It is called binding arbitration.
  6. Privatization of pollution control: A private company given legal authority to levy fines has the same potential to abuse said authority as the State does, and there are many more impediments to challenging this abuse.
  7. Privatization of rivers and lakes: As someone from the City of Lakes, whose founding fathers had the foresight to make public parks out of most lakes within the city, I can say with certainty that that is a Very Bad Idea.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 00:49, 1 March 2009 (EST)

Thank you. Your answers helps a lot. I have found some potential sectors for privatization. I will try to add those in the article with references. Hoogut 02:34, 1 March 2009 (EST)
A little quibble re forests (from a forestry/conservation worker): many forests are badly maintained because of the current low price of wood - there just isn't the money coming in to maintain them. Here in the UK some plantation forests are being converted to amenity use. This has nothing to do with public vs private ownership, and everything to do with lumber prices. Totnesmartin 05:21, 1 March 2009 (EST)

Private police forces could end up fighting each other in the absence of some public force to rein them in.

Have to disagree. Don't we have private security agencies? The private police forces will operate the way private security agencies operate. And they will operate under a single constitutional framework. So no chance of in-fighting. --Hoogut (talk) 07:03, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

That's just a silly fantasy. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:47, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
  1. Privatisation of roads Whats to stop people from setting up as many tolls as they can. Plus, as you need roadsto get to a certain area as quick as possible, it can cause a lot of hassle and profit.--Boredsocialist (talk) 19:46, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

Divided privatization[edit]

The criticism section only seems to cover a shift from a single public sector organization into a single private sector organization. Can anybody expand on what would happen if multiple private companies were to be spawned from a monopoly?--"Shut up, Brx." 01:02, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

That does not really happen very often, since an entire nationalized outfit is often worth more than the sum of its parts. The only examples I can think of that come close are:
  • The Bell System divestiture, where a heavily regulated monopoly was spun off into several less-regulated subsidiaries. Since telephone service is a natural monopoly, a lot of the RBOCs have, of course, re-consolidated — four of them are now back under AT&T ownership — and they have swallowed some of the old independents while they were at it.
  • Public schools' monopoly on free education being broken by charter schools and voucher-subsidized private schools. These "parent trigger" laws one hears about actually provide for the privatization of the public schools themselves in some cases.
  • Outsourcing. A lot of military and aerospace research, for example, that used to be done in-house at DARPA and NASA is now being outsourced to smaller, competing private companies, for example through the SBIR program. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:39, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Outsourcing won't necessarily work. For example, in Finland where I live they've started to "privatize" or outsource kindergartens. The local government bids these contracts separately to prevent monopolies and the contracts are re-bid every three years or so to maintain competition. Now, let's consider we have companies A and B. B makes reasonable offers for child care, let's say 100 euros per day per child. Company A on the other hand claims they can arrange the child care for just 50 euros per day per child. Eventually they win every bid there is for child care and get every contract in the city. They run their kindergartens at a huge loss for three years. When the next round of bidding arrives, they announce that they enter the bid with an offer of 200 euros per day per child, 300% increase.
Well, okay, the local government would then choose company B with their 100 euro offer, right? Except that the Company B is long gone. Without getting any contracts, they went bankrupt. They could have offered (this time libertarian-)private child care, but who would have paid for it, as the publicly funded kindergartens are much cheaper/free and of the similar standard anyways? So there's no other option but to pay the company A 200 euros per day per child from now on. In the long run, someone might try to challenge the overpriced provider, but they'd take a huge risk.
The more sinister version of this are the various public ICT system projects. There's this one company that always offers ridiculously low prices and unrealistic schedule and every time they get the project because that's what the "competition law" says. Now, every time there's "changing specifications", "extra features" and "unforeseen delays" that justify sudden extra payments from the government and changing schedule. In one instance, the government agreed to pay thrice the price that was originally agreed on because all of the alleged "additional work" that was "necessary" for the completion of the project. And every time they have to award the contract to these guys because they make the best bid. (talk) 11:08, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Divided privatisation was what we had in the UK for electricity supply, gas supply and the railways. Spoiler - all three were almost unmitigated disasters. We also had it for phones, which has overall worked well. Queexchthonic murmurings 11:17, 5 February 2015 (UTC)


In Germany, the prices went down and the service quality went up, since they allowed private telecommunications companies --Arisboch (talk) 20:54, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Privatisation & Regulation: Liberal Fascism[edit]

I've been thinking recently aboat a hypothetical government whose primary goal is civil liberties (very much in line with the RationalWiki mission),but economically it would resemble fascism. By this I mean privatised capitalism, but unlike most American laissez-faire privatisation-rhetoric, it would still be 100% subjectable to regulations. However, economics takes a backseat to civil liberties, so there will, ideally, not be economic authoritarianism. A (maximally) free market by making all regulations subject to (renewable) time-limits.

I hope in this way to avoid both the failings of a Commamd Economy, as well as a Corporate Plutocray. Please tell me why this is bad, so I can patch these ideas to be more realistic.

[To easier understand, on the Political Compass (not the Nolan Chart!), it would be sitting directly above the anarchists (very bottom), and economically centrist (or economically-ambivalent)].

This is my proposal for a socially liberal, economically fascist state. Let the trickle-downers quake! Happy to answer any questions.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

You could always have the alternative of the democratic/self-managed economy. In this economy, all businesses are worker coops or under workplace democracy. There's arguments about whether or not it should be decentrally planned or market based and arguments on the exact details though --Boredsocialist (talk) 19:50, 15 July 2020 (UTC)

I see no reason not to leave a LITTLE bit of privately owned businesses. Labor-owned as dominant, but not outright banning capitalism.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Space Exploration is a bad example for a few reasons ... or at the very least, very outdated examples are used (SpaceX)[edit]

The reference to Space Exploration is almost a decade old, and there have been lots of exciting developments in this space (pun intended!) which make this section of the article read poorly.

SpaceX is clearly dominating the private launch provider space and their many innovations *are* making space flight more efficient and cheaper by far. This is one of the few examples of privatization actually being a very good thing compared to how the government ran it previously. That being said, Privatization (ULA) *is* a bad thing - government endlessly sinking tons of money into less efficient and far, far more costly solutions. So I guess "Space Exploration" should still stay in this article as an example but I think SpaceX should be called out as an exception.

That being said, SpaceX (like Tesla) is notable for it's founder Elon Musk's stated desire to run the companies with higher motives in mind, rather than maximizing profit in the short or medium term. These higher motives (like accelerating the transition to sustainable transport at Tesla, or making Humanity a multi planetary species at SpaceX) cause the company, although they are private, to behave completely differently to most other companies in that they are not just trying to maximize profits at the expense of humanity, they are actually trying to solve problems that will benefit humanity. — Unsigned, by: / talk