John Thompson Reviews an Important New Book About Privatization of Public Services

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher, reviews an important new book.


Lawrence Baines’ Privatization of America’s Public Institutions: The Story of the American Sellout combines analyses of assaults on four public sectors, the military, corrections departments, public schools, and higher education, to reveal the immense scale of privatization and its dangers. Dr. Baines, the Associate Dean of Education at the University of Oklahoma, shows that “Privatization is no longer an occasional strategy to help improve efficiency of a particular public service.” It “has become an automatic response to any perceived governmental inefficiency.” Baines carefully documents the ways that “Privatization is changing the nature of America’s public institutions and consequently, the character of the country.”

The first chapter, “Privatizing the Military: Profiting from the Carnage of War,” foreshadows a frightening pattern that explains why I, for one, was slow to see the full nature of the threat. It starts in 2007…

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