An American judge known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom manner was jailed for 28 years for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
Mark Ciavarella Jnr was ordered to pay $1.2m (£770,000) in restitution after he was found to be a “figurehead” in the conspiracy that saw thousands of children unjustly punished in the name of profit in the case that became known as “kids for cash”.
Privatization is always the answer, right? It’ll find the most efficient way to do things, right?
Sure, but only if that “thing” is make money.
Privatization of healthcare works great as well–at making people at the top of the healthcare business into millionaires. The people working in the prisons? Not so much. The people in the prisons? Definitely not.
But the executives and shareholders who are benefitting from it–absolutely. They’re doing just fine.
The right has it right: privatization is good at accomplishing its goals. The part they’re wrong about (or maybe they aren’t) is understanding what those goals are.
When the goal is money then any other goal is a guideline, not a rule. And guidelines are the first to go when pressure is applied. And there’s always pressure being applied because there is an ever-present possibility of making more money then you’re currently making.
Privatization. Capitalism. Markets. Assuming we make it long enough these will all come to be considered as extraordinarily dangerous words. They will come to be known as lethal tools only to be wielded by the very best among us, and only under supervision by the rest, lest they turn the pursuit of a noble goal into a profit-worshipping cult of “us and them”.
The pursuit of profit is like a nuclear detonation. When controlled perfectly it can be a beautiful thing–an intense power that enables positivity and growth. But, usually, it just murders motherfuckers.