Why We Shouldn’t Privatize All the Things

25 Oct

Here’s why it’s horrible to let private entities privately own necessary infrastructure. The Canadian government is offering to build – at its sole cost – a new bridge crossing between Ontario and Michigan, just South from Detroit. The Maroun family, which owns the private Ambassador Bridge – the only truck crossing in Detroit – has mounted an ad  blitz to oppose the new, free bridge. And it’s working.


3 Responses to “Why We Shouldn’t Privatize All the Things”

  1. Jesse Griffis October 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    And this qualifies as “horrible” somehow…?

    • Alan Bedenko October 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Rejecting a free bridge to maintain a private monopoly?

  2. Rich December 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Yeah, I don’t see from this post how it’s so horrible to have privately-owned infrastructure. Because if something is privately owned, the owner is going to exercise his freedom of expression to argue against a competing enterprise? How do you go from “mounting an ad blitz” against the government bridge to “rejecting” that bridge? I wouldn’t think the Maroun family had the power to actually reject it as opposed to merely criticise it. I’m sure you don’t mean to suggest private citizens should not be allowed to voice their opinions about what the government should or should not do? And, the government bridge is “free?” You’ve got it backwards — that’s the one that takes money that originates with the taxpayers. The private bridge is actually the one that’s “free” to the public — except that I assume it’s a toll bridge, so people can either use it or not, and pay for it or not. That sounds good to me, and I wish that model was used for the vast majority of stuff that the government chooses to do with money seized from the public. If it makes sense for the government to build a bridge even though the Maroun bridge already exists, then build it! How does the existence of the private bridge stand in the government’s way whatsoever? If anything, the private bridge obviates the need for a goverment bridge. It’s a win-win. And, in general, private enterprise is going to be managed better, because the people who own it have to make sure it’s profitable — they have skin in the game. The fundamental fact about government, and the basic flaw with central planning, is that it’s inefficient because it’s unaccountable.

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