Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships

Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships

Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships

Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships

Synopsis

From one of its leading international proponents comes this comprehensive, coherent guide to privatization -- its background, theory, and practical reality. In this new book, E.S. Savas explains --using a straightforward, all-inclusive approach --what, why, when, and how to privatize. Contracting services, using franchises and vouchers, divesting government-owned businesses, privatizing infrastructure through public-private partnerships, reforming education, privatizing the welfare state, and overcoming opposition to privatization are just some of the many aspects discussed in detail.

Excerpt

SCHOPENHAUER said, "All great ideas go through three stages: In the first stage, they are ridiculed. In the second stage, they are strongly opposed. And in the third stage, they are considered to be self-evident." Privatization has reached the third stage.

My journey in the world of privatization started thirty years ago, when a major snowstorm struck New York City on Sunday, 9 February 1969. The city was disastrously unprepared, handled the cleanup badly, and was snowbound for many days, precipitating a political firestorm. Mayor John V. Lindsay asked me, the first deputy city administrator, to examine what happened and determine what to do so it would not happen again. I discovered that during a snow emergency the city's Sanitation Department was actually out plowing streets only about half the time; the rest was spent on warm-up breaks, fueling breaks, coffee breaks, and wash-up breaks. That made me wonder how the agency performed when there was no emergency and it was doing its principal job, collecting garbage and trash. That summer, after developing a snow plan--which is in use to this day--I compared the performance of the department with that of the private sector and found that the former cost almost three times as much per ton of trash collected. Thereupon I recommended to the mayor that the city experiment by competitively hiring private contractors to service three of the city's sixty-three sanitation districts and comparing their work with that of the city agency in three matching districts.

This innocent heresy brought the ire of some city and union officials, the feeling that I was simply foolhardy, and a suggestion by the city's deputy budget director that I be fired, a suggestion supported by a prominent professor of public administration who wrote that my idea was absurd. A commission was formed to look into my recommendation, but it was dissolved after the mayor changed political parties and sought union backing during his brief campaign for president. Nothing happened in New York, but I went into academia, began my research--it was awfully lonely at first--and, based on that research and my experiences, became an advocate for prudent privatization. Along the way I served a second . . .

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