Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Privatization is Cool

Is a commercial for an artificial heart immoral? Privatization is a blessing and a curse. Most economists would argue for a complete free market economy because supply and demand is the best, most efficient way to organize an economy. The novel Invisible Heart is a great example of this viewpoint; it points out the danger of even a small amount of government intervention in an economy, like in the United States. On the other hand, there is another school of thought, exemplified in RoboCop, is that privatization breeds corruption.

Privatization and corporations don’t lead to corruption anymore than government control does. Society has a stereotypical image of CEO’s of companies being selfish, money-hungry, malevolent monsters when in reality the majority of CEO’s and executives are not this way because it doesn’t promote good, successful business. Much of this stereotype stems from the fact that people don’t really understand the benefits and harms of globalization and outsourcing. Not only, does outsourcing drive down prices for the company but also the consumer which gives each individual more buying power. Also, the popular argument that we are exploiting poor countries and their citizens is not completely thought through. These people wouldn’t work in the company if they had a better option, no one is forcing them into the workplace; it’s unfortunate that the best option for some is a job that pays a dollar a day, but that’s reality. Just look at America when we were first beginning; we had child labor and poor working conditions. Developing and underdeveloped countries have to start somewhere.

A free market promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. Many of the medical inventions we enjoy today wouldn’t be here without competition. Although in RoboCop they satirize the invention and marketing of the artificial heart, people are stagnant and mediocre materials result without an incentive. Although it’s hard for some people to think of medicine as a business, it is. Doctors are not in it completely for the money or they wouldn’t make it, but as the cliché goes, “money makes the world go round.” So, doctors, like anyone else, are out to make a profit. There would be no reason to improve treatments, pharmaceuticals, and procedures if it didn’t in any way benefit the doctor. Canada’s medical system is so far behind ours in America because they are not forced to compete.

I’m not saying that people should be let loose to behave however they want; there needs to be rules to keep honest people honest. At the same time, under any system people can be corrupt. So, it’s best to promote innovation so the economy can grow.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. If privatization is so cool, does that make Robocop cool for being made privatization or uncool for fighting privatization?

  3. I don't know that privatization is really cool, just efficient. I don't see Robocop as cool because he isn't human so all the normal "badass" characteristics that apply to all the other characters don't apply to him.

  4. I guess privatization gives us cool, new things and access to cool people so Robocop is cool for fighting immorality but uncool for fighting privatization.

  5. You’re right about how corporations and CEOs have been targeted as malevolent entities to which nothing is sacred, but I think RoboCop was just as much about ethical standards within which corporations operate. Your example of developing nations is a perfect example of what some would call a necessity, but others argue not that investment in small countries is *not* a necessity, but that ethical considerations when investing in developing countries are.

    For instance, earning a dollar a day in a certain society may be a fair job (it almost always keeps the family in poverty, though, but let's assume otherwise for a moment), but the facilities in which men, women, and children work are not up to any sort of standard. They should be afforded some sort of workers' rights, rather than to take a job at the cost of sacrificing all of their rights as human beings.

    Stating that "everyone's got to start somewhere," and comparing developing countries to the United States circa 1900 doesn't strengthen the argument for globalization and privatization. It ignores the gains made in social and corporate philosophy since then, and excludes them from implementation. There has to be some sort of national consciousness for a movement to happen; corporations go to places that don't have this national consciousness of oppression and suppression in working conditions because they are impoverished and need the money at any cost to their health and well-being. By going to these places, corporations take advantage of the situation and enforce awful working conditions that were all the rage over a hundred years ago. There's something inherently wrong with doing these types of things in developing countries, and kind of points to a contradictory motivation than that of which you give them - that good business means exploitation, not constructive globalization.

    I'm not trying to be subversive to your argument, and I don't mean to sound like an economist. I most certainly am not. But it surprised me to see so many of your entries talk about human rights in the U.S. and then mention those of people in other countries so off-handedly.