September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:Since that dark day last year, the nation has been understandably
distracted. Now, what were we saying about Privatization again?
The Great Experiment (Version 2) -- namely, privatization of anything
that moved -- was in full sway before the attacks of September 11th.
But that summer, it had also sparked a growing public debate. The
California Energy Crisis provided both the supporters and opponents of
privatization with ammunition: the latter held it up as a market
failure, the former called it governmental bungling.
But with a war on, the publics attention was divided, diluting the
impact of the subsequent revelations. The privatization debate quieted
last year, but only one side stopped arguing. Was the Presidents
exhortation, that shopping was patriotism, part of the reason the
privatization agenda rebounded so quickly?
The entertainment conglomerates appear before Congress, asking for
search-and-seizure powers to root out music which hadnt come through
their pay-per-use portals. Private agencies build toll "freeways" and
charge us for driving on them. DNA belongs to corporations. We turn to
the omnipresent Market for drinking water, day care, and numerous other
facets of life which used to be virtually free. Our parks were
privatized years ago; today eroding public beaches are given away for
seawalls which protect private mansions. This combined with our
eroding environmental laws describes a trend, where in the New World
Order the only ones who have cost-free access to America's public
property are the corporations who dump toxins into it.
Are there alternatives? Can (or should) our elected representatives
support free enterprise and capitalism, without buying into that bleak
destiny? Can our own consciences and "gut feelings," about morality
and fair use, guide us through life under modern technological
capitalism -- or must we trust these decisions to the experts and the