Privatisation versus Public Goods

Many players are suggesting that government give up responsibility for public services to other actors.

Suggestions for who these should be range from individual citizens, to citizen groups and coalitions, from private corporations to automatic services.  There are significant risks and benefits to privatisation.

Benefits often cited include:

  • Lower cost to the public
  • Faster and more efficient services
  • More up-to-date services

Risks include:

  • Exploitation of public goods for private gain
  • Short-term profit motives leading to long term risks
  • Lack of concern for regulation and human need

What other risks and benefits might result from privatising government services and functions?  How far could this go, and what would the impact be?

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