Ian Folkhard wrote recently with this question:
Is there a website that objectively lays out the effects of privatization on formerly publicly controlled operations?
It would be very interesting to see if any of the savings and efficiencies that the supporters of privatization claim will result have actually been passed back to any group of taxpayers. Something that referred to the British experience with public transit and the railways would be really interesting reading.
I hunted around on the net and, alas, there are lots of papers written extolling the virtues of individual projects, but very little by way of an objective overview. One paper was written for the OECD as a 30-year retrospective in January 2007. The information in it is reasonably current, although the recent meltdown in London is not included.
[Note that this is a long paper with 35 pages of text, 14 pages of citations and 72 footnotes. Be sure to read the footnotes as many of them contain important additional information.]
The author proceeds from the premise that some degree of private operation of public transit is becoming the norm rather than the exception, and that privatization is an attempt by the transit industry to become more competitive with the rising use of the automobile. I don’t agree with that premise for reasons that will become obvious, but the presentation covers the subject and is not unduly doctrinaire about the wonders of free enterprise. Continue reading