Social Question

ETpro's avatar

What is best left to government and not private enterprise?

Asked by ETpro (34594points) May 16th, 2012

Right wing billionaires and the management of multinational corporations have spent billions of dollars over the past 40 years cultivating a network of right-wing think tanks and PR firms all bent at moving the American electorate toward beliefs that will work to further enrich themselves. They have worked relentlessly to demonize anything government, and build a national meme that government at all levels is inherently unable to do anything correctly. Of course, by pushing this meme widely enough, the businesses they own or invest in will profit massively as we dismantle all government and privatize what used to be public.

Just imagine how much the military industrial complex would benefit if we totally privatized the military. But who seriously thinks turning the entire defense department over to private industry like Blackwater nee Xe nee Academi would actually save us money? Do you believe that the Posse Comitatus Act, already seriously in question, would be respected in any way by a private, for profit corporation which could maximize profits by just kicking doors down and taking whatever it would be profitable to take?

Let’s begin the badly needed national discussion of what is rightly best left to private enterprise, and what needs to be publicly funded and controlled. What are your thoughts?

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6 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am opposed to medical clinics, hospitals, senior citizen housing, schools, Universities, that are run as privatized, for-profit institutions because the profit motive undermines the quality of service delivery and distorts the priorities of such institutions.

Other for-profit Institutions must be carefully regulated by government. Health Insurance run on a for-profit basis has and continues to be detrimental to clients and to create huge gaps in eligibility and coverage. Just contrast the health Insurance systems of the USA to that of Canada or the United Kingdom if you need clarification.

Government should be in charge of training and deploying military personnel. Only government should set the mission parameters and the rules of engagement. Private military contractors and mercenaries are dangerous and harmful alternatives.

Government should not run energy companies but they have important roles in regulating such industries to protect individuals and the environment.

Governments should not be running or financially supporting manufacturing but they should legislate to protect the nations workforce and the environment. Without government involvement, industries move their production overseas. This results in widespread unemployment of skilled workers domestically and allows for extensive workforce exploitation and abuse in places where industries relocate and extensive environmental damage which affects people and other life forms over a very wide area.

The profit motive and desire for efficiency in private industry can be a good thing so long as industries are prevented from engaging in harmful and unfair labour practices and disregard of deleterious impacts of production driven only my bottom-line concerns.

There is a place for both publicly funded University research and in-house corporate research in fields such as medical research and even for collaboration between these but government regulation plays an important role is assuring public safety and prevention of economic exploitation of patients.

Ethics, morality and justice are not really things that concern run-for-profit institutions, That is why well reasoned regulation is required to protect workers, consumers, the general public and the environment.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I am impressed with @Dr_Lawrence answer. It is well thought out & expressed in easily understandable terms. Well Done !

Paradox25's avatar

Anything that has to do with law enforcement, corrections and compulsory level education. I’m still up in the air about health insurance, but reforms are definitely needed either way for that one. Maybe even hospitals, since I’m not comfortable with them operating for profit either, especially where people’s lives are at stake.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence sounds like he’s talking about the United States of America!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Dutchess_III I blieve I was talking more about Canada than I was the USA. The USA has experienced greater harm from deregulation than we have here in the Great White North.

DaphneT's avatar

I agree with @Dr_Lawrence, any government’s job is to prevent exploitation and harmful situations. I also agree with @Paradox25 too, on the topics of law enforcement and corrections. I believe a government’s function is to promulgate the minimum standards for education, health care, transportation, communication mediums, air quality, water quality, food quality and safety, etc. and should be used to distribute any information about said topics. I don’t think that government bureaucrats are qualified to determine what those standards are, that’s where experts in the fields should be determined, consulted and their advice followed. I think a government should regulate banks and insurance companies and hospitals and health care providers and communication mediums, to prevent abuses, exploitation, destructive practices…

Now all that seems to vague and that’s where we are stuck right now.

So, I think my government should repeal any laws, statutes and regulations that entitle subsidies for any production efforts. I think my government should work with the medical community to establish minimum health levels and to establish a program for transitioning today’s people to those levels. I think my government should regulate the health insurance industry to only selling medical care insurance and criminalize the health insurance industry for practicing medicine without a license. I think my government should work with the highly educated of the community to establish air quality standards, food quality standards, hygiene standards, water quality standards and any other quality standards and I think my government should establish fines and punishments for those who violate those standards up to and including charges of murder and manslaughter to be leveled against corporations (who are individual entities in the eyes of the law) and their founders, managers and shareholders who allowed the destructive practices to persist. I think that my government should establish dormitories for the members of Congress including food services, transportation services and health services, to eliminate any any need to pay for their services. I think my government should provide security services for my countries borders, and I think my government should use an every-citizen-participates-security model wherein no one can buy out.

These are all such lofty ideals, and they are where we’ve been in this country. If this was the type of government we could go back to, I’d vote for it. But it is not.

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