May 7th, 2012
By Peter Le Force -
- If the corporate chieftains and their Republican cheerleaders love "free market capitalism" so much, why don't they just go out there and compete with other corporations through innovation, efficiency, and superior marketing, sales and service. If competitive capitalism is so marvelous, why are corporations and their Republican political shills continue to attempt to publicize essential public services, so that there is no competition at all and they just get paid by the government through contracts that guarantee them no-risk profit before the job even begins. It's not capitalism they love -- it's just money. And they don't care what they have to do to get. What they really want is "profiteering socialism".
On closer examination, what they really seem to want is "for profit socialism".
Defense contractors don't seem to mind socialist contracts with the government, in which they contract to provide $75 a day workers for $600 per day -- and they get paid by the government to perform these jobs. And they are usually "no-bid" contracts in which "Black Water, Xe, Contractors for America, or whoever the company is gets guaranteed money on a no risk basis from the government. Sound like capitalism to you?
Then there are "profitized" prisons. These so-called "capitalists" build private prisons
based on guaranteed contracts with the government and are guaranteed a certain number of inmates in advance -- such that they know they are profitable before risking a penny -- just like capitalism. Once they are open, they take all the money they've piled up from the tax-cuts their political friends gave them and use it to lobby legislators to pass more draconian laws against even non-violent crimes to fill them to the brim with "customers" who are in jail for everything from not paying their bills to being in the country ill-legally, to possessing a small amount of recreational or medicinal marijuana. They make money off illegal immigrants even at the state and county level because they get paid attractive sums of money per day to incarcerate illegal immigrants for the Immigration Service until they are deported. Once again, the government is their customer, paying them tax payers money to do things that the government could do less expensively and with fewer predatory incentives. If you own a for-profit prison, the way you increase business is put more people in prison. So guess what happened. Since we profitized prisons, the number of people in prison in the United States keeps going up. The United States now has more people in prisons -- both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of our population, than any other "democracy" in the world.
Now think about it. We give corporations a chance to make additional money
the more people we put in prison -- and -- shocker! -- the number of people in prison -- mysteriously -- goes up. We must ask ourselves: Is it an intelligent -- or morally justifiable -- thing to do -- letting corporations make more money every time we put a fellow citizen in jail. And is it a healthy practice for our democracy for us as citizens to allow the government to profitize prisons and then subsidize the profiteering of corporations with tax payer money through no-bid, guaranteed contracts. And should we be surprised when we learn that prisoners are abused, and corners cut on food, clothing, and health care, education, rehab, and mental health services for inmates. Remember, this is a private, for profit business now. Every penny counts. And every nickel saved means another nickel of profit for the over-lords. What would you do? A final sad note on for profit prisons is that rehabilitation programs in prison have almost disappeared -- for two reasons. First, it eats into corporations providing those "soft-ball, humanistic, do-gooder rehabilitation programs. Second, if you make money off each person you incarcerate, why would you want programs and services that result in fewer prisoners returning to prison. It'd be like building cars and appliances that last forever. A formula for going broke.
And finally -- the profitization of public services. Corporations taking over municipal services -- like water, electricity, gas and sewer.
It's the same old story. Rates go up, service goes down.
And all at once you have iron-fisted response by utility providers when poor people have trouble meeting expenses and therefore struggle to pay bills. In almost every publicly run utility, there are special provisions and programs to help people avoid having essential services shut off for non-payment. In most for profit utilities, it's cut and dried -- pay you bill of we shut you off. And in cases in which that is not yet the case, the level of insensitivity toward the vulnerable people in our society is greatly diminished.
Making money, in and of itself, is not incontrovertibly a bad thing. It's simply that when making money becomes your society or your civilization's core value, and making a profit becomes your culture's highest and greatest good, then the monetization of life is the result -- and the value of our spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional lives exists only as its monetary potential -- and in worthless -- or at most is worth only pennies -- in terms of a life worth having and worth living!