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Alternative alla privatizzazione

02/04/2012

A book for all practitioners, unionists, social movements, and analysts alike, whom are seeking reliable knowledge on what kinds of public models work and their main strengths and weaknesses.

Edited by David A. McDonald & Greg Ruiters.

In the ongoing debates about privatisation, it is often argued that those who oppose private sector involvement in service delivery do not present concrete alternatives. There is some truth to this claim, springing in part from the deep impoverishment of debate since the onset of neoliberalism, which pronounced that “there is no alternative” to privatisation. This also needs to be seen in contrast to the 1930s, and the post-World War II period when there was a strong sense of the limits and dangers of excessive domination of society by unfettered markets and private sector service provision and much greater scope for understanding the limits of capitalism and the use of state powers to ensure social integration and secure basic needs and wants.

Yet in the recent past, with the limits to privatisation and financialization becoming more apparent, a burgeoning field of enquiry around alternatives has emerged, albeit in a fragmented and inconsistent way. Social movements have developed powerful rhetoric – such as “another world is possible” and “there must be alternatives” – but with little detail on how alternatives are constructed, to what extent they are reproducible, and what normative values might guide them (if any). The literature and practices that do speak directly to “alternatives to privatisation” tend to be highly localised and sector-specific and lacking in conceptual and methodological consistency, leading to interesting but somewhat variegated case studies.

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