This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
Canadians are forever being informed, explicitly or implicitly, that the solution to the crisis of the day, or decade, is a freedom-sounding word called "privatization." This, the free-marketeers tell us, will solve our problems.
The reality is invariably the opposite. "Privatization" -- also known as bailed-out, highly subsidized corporatism -- is in fact the problem, not the solution.
Furthermore, the crises being addressed are often manufactured for the express purpose of rolling out a parasitical regime of corporatization that profits from calamity, even as its "host," the public, is fleeced.
Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein identifies the process as the "shock doctrine" and/or "disaster capitalism"; author, environmental activist and economist Winona LaDuke calls it "predator economics"; writers call it neoliberalism and corporate media pretends it doesn't exist.
A tattered thread is woven into a seemingly endless series of crises, and it is the public sector, the commons, that is invariably being exploited.
Neo-conservative strategists disguise the real problem and deflect attention from it, using a myriad of strategies, all of which serve to instill what insurance whistleblower Wendel Potter calls FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt -- in the collective mental landscape of the masses.
Instead of identifying the real problem -- neoliberalism/predator capitalism/shock economy -- neo-cons typically scapegoat other polities.
According to neo-con politicians, union bosses and their minions, as well as public servants, and public institutions, are the cause of our economic woes, even as they are some of the few remaining polities that mitigate the damages caused by predator capitalism.
Two of Canada's "emblematic" institutions, currently being undermined so that they can be replaced by inferior models, are "universal" health care and Canada Post.
Canada's public health care system is in distress. Community hospitals are closing, wait-times are long, and the public is dissatisfied. Corporate messaging proclaims that since the status quo of public universal health care is failing, then the answer must be privatization/-corporatization. Consequently, the 2004 Health Accord has not been renewed, and the federal government will be cutting $36 billion over ten years from its Canadian Health Transfers (CHT's) to the provinces.
The manufactured crisis in healthcare is chronic under-funding, and the solution is more comprehensive public funding, not corporatization. Since 1981 hospital funding has decreased significantly as a share of Canada's health care budget.
Corporate health care is less efficient, and more expensive, than public health care. The more it is corporatized, the more expensive (and less accessible ) health care becomes.
A CUPE article entitled, "Public Health Care Costs Less, Delivers More" clearly shows that the "private" components of health care far exceed its public counterparts in costs even as they deliver less. Listed below are some (of numerous) examples identified in the article:
Ontario paid 75% more to for-profit labs than it had to non-profit community labs over the previous 30 years, for the same tests
Public-private partnerships are 83% costlier to finance than public projects
- (Canadians) spend roughly half of what the private U.S. system spends per person, and we get better coverage and outcomes
Studies comparing U.S. and Canadian outcomes for heart attacks, cancer, surgical procedures and chronic conditions show that Canada does at least as well, often better
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).