Thursday, December 29, 2005


You don't think the Chimp is looking out for the proles when he tries to privatize everything in this country, do you? He's doing it to keep (or give more of) the wealth and power with the corporations. Guess what? They're doing it in Iraq. Professor Cole:


al-Zaman/ AFP say that the US embassy in Baghdad has advised the incoming government to privatize the hundreds of companies and factories owned by the state (the Baath Party was actually the Baath Socialist Party), selling them to investors. The US administration of Iraq attempted to move toward privatization under Paul Bremer, but the issue was rendered moot by the poor security in the country, which makes investing in it at the moment unattractive.

One of the least attractive aspects of the US government is its fanaticism about privatization. I mean, is this really the time? The good Lord knows how many of those companies or factories are actually operating. And who is going to buy them? Wouldn't it be better at this juncture for the government to use them in a way analogous to FDR public works projects, to put people to work? Al-Zaman estimates that 1/4 of Iraqis live in dire proverty, and the real unemployment rate is still probably 50 percent. Corporations are far less efficient than Washington believes (see: Enron), and some state-owned enterprises have prospered (ask Californians if privatized electricity worked out well for them; and see: Enron). It is no doubt better in the long run to move away from bloated state-owned industries in Iraq, but I just wouldn't have made that a priority.


Dr. Cole is being charitable. The reason privatization is a priority is because most of the concerns to be privatized will probably become wholly owned subsidiaries of Halliburton and Bechtel.

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