merriam-webster defines public as: of, relating to, or affecting all the people or the whole area of a nation or state <public law>
Those who live to affect their individual selves, for their own gain, have been chipping away at all institutions of the public. Soon the public will be caged in by the private. I am a public servant. My commitment is to that which “affects all the people or the whole area of a nation”. Let’s take a look at the scattered remains of what once was public:
HOSPITALS – In 2007 (6 years ago) the Washington Post reported: “Public hospitals are vanishing at a much faster rate than U.S. hospitals overall, according to a report released today.”
PRISONS – ProPublica reported that:37: percent by which number of prisoners in private facilities increased between 2002 and 2009
HOSPITALS AND PRISONS – CBS reported in 2013 that : “With a shortage of mental facilities, jails have become the new asylums.”
HOSPITALS AND PRISONS – Frontline reported from a book on the topic of shutting down public mental health institutions: “Thus deinstitutionalization has helped create the mental illness crisis by discharging people from public psychiatric hospitals without ensuring that they received the medication and rehabilitation services necessary for them to live successfully in the community.”
Our elementary and secondary educational system needs to be radically restructured. Such a reconstruction can be achieved only by privatizing a major segment of the educational system–i.e., by enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop that will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools. The most feasible way to bring about such a transfer from government to private enterprise is to enact in each state a voucher system that enables parents to choose freely the schools their children attend. The voucher must be universal, available to all parents, and large enough to cover the costs of a high-quality education. No conditions should be attached to vouchers that interfere with the freedom of private enterprises to experiment, to explore, and to innovate.
Milton Friedman: This article appeared in the Washington Post on February 19, 1995. Reprinted by permission of the author and the Washington Post.
PARKS – The Daily News reported on small-scale struggles: “Gramercy park siege: Manhattan’s only private oasis is site of battle to make it open to the public”
PARKS – In 2003 the LA Times reported: “A Bush administration policy of turning National Park Service jobs over to the private sector could reduce visitor services and cause unexpected layoffs, as well as undermine the agency’s efforts to create a more ethnically diverse work force, according to an internal memorandum by Park Service Director Fran Mainella.”
Here is an academic taking on the idea of privatization (if you like that kind of thing)
From “Educating the ‘Right’ Way” by Michael W. Apple
“I pointed out earlier that the role of the state have been altered along the lines of a radical redefinition of of the boundaries between public and private. We can think of this as involving three strategic transformations. First, many public asset have been privatized. Public utilities are sold off to the highest bidder; schools are given to corporation to run. Second, rigorous competition between institutions is sponsored so that public institutions are constantly compared with supposedly more efficient private ones. Hense, even if schools and other institutions are still state funded, their internal procedures increasingly mirror those of the corporate sector. Third, public responsibilities have been shifted onto the informal sector, under the argument that the government can no longer afford the expense of such services.” (p.29)