Just how valid is the idea that privatization of society's services to its citizens ensures the highest quality of service to people in society? Let's critically analyze by understanding the precepts of the private economic enterprise.
Our current economic system aligns with the following underlying precepts: 1) maximize one's material self-interest; 2) pursue material growth without limit. Accordingly, a private business enterprise seeks to maximize its material self-interest, and when formally connected to Wall Street it is compelled to do so quarter-to-quarter. Or more simply, the business of business is profit.
The fundamental belief--that is the governing assumption--from which these propositions are derived, is that at base, human behavior is explainable through the pain-avoidance/pleasure-seeking self-interest dynamic evident in all animals. As Adam Smith asserted, "every man . . . is much more deeply interested in whatever immediately concerns himself than in what concerns any other." That is, the propensity for satisfying one's material self-interest is most significant toward influencing (and explaining) an individual's behavior. The economic translation being: homo sapien is in reality homo economicus. In other words, we are to think about our self and each other as selfish and economically driven.
Smith further explained, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from the regard to their own interest." Moreover Smith introduced an almost mythical governing mechanism often referred to as the invisible hand that saw to it that all would be better off, when we allow self-interest to reign unfettered. The underlying belief is that people are unknowingly--and quite mysteriously--led to improve the welfare of society when they act in their own self-interest. In short, the concern for what's in it for 'me' (somehow) miraculously best serves the collective 'we'.
The unprecedented widening household income gap between the top 1% and the remaining 99% is clear evidence of the fallacy of this claim. The only thing that can be said with certainty is the top 1% is seeing to it that their self-interests are being served. Trickle-down doesn't trickle and the rising tide can't possibly lift all boats when there are two separate seas!
Basing an argument upon these erroneous assumptions leads to a logical fallacy that has people disregarding each other's as well as one's own humanity. And as explained in It's the econoMe stupid , grounding a system of economics on this fallacy can't help but to negatively impact humankind.
All that is required is one counter example to disprove or invalidate a theory. So, at the risk of being a bit redundant, I offer two examples as empirical evidence against the validity of the idea that private enterprise ensures the highest quality.
o The growth of agri-business along with the management-by-exception/crisis approach on the part of regulatory agencies has enabled profit maximization to diminish our ability to provide a safe food supply.
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