Friday, May 29, 2020

Big failure

"What if China Promoted Hawaiian Independence?" (Petersen).

"The Big Failure of Small Government" (Mazzucato/Quaggiotto):
"Unfortunately, for the last half-century, the prevailing political message in many countries has been that governments cannot – and therefore should not – actually govern. Politicians, business leaders, and pundits have long relied on a management creed that focuses obsessively on static measures of efficiency to justify spending cuts, privatization, and outsourcing.

As a result, governments now have fewer options for responding to the crisis, which may be why some are now desperately clinging to the unrealistic hope of technological panaceas such as artificial intelligence or contact-tracing apps. With less investment in public capacity has come a loss of institutional memory (as the UK’s government has discovered) and increased dependence on private consulting firms, which have raked in billions. Not surprisingly, morale among public-sector employees has plunged in recent years.

Consider two core government responsibilities during the COVID-19 crisis: public health and the digital realm. In 2018 alone, the UK government outsourced health contracts worth £9.2 billion ($11.2 billion), putting 84% of beds in care homes in the hands of private-sector operators (including private equity firms). Making matters worse, since 2015, the UK’s National Health Service has endured £1 billion in budget cuts.

Outsourcing by itself is not the problem. But the outsourcing of critical state capacities clearly is, especially when the resulting public-private “partnerships” are not designed to serve the public interest. Ironically, some governments have outsourced so eagerly that they have undermined their own ability to structure outsourcing contracts. After a 12-year effort to spur the private sector to develop low-cost ventilators, the US government is now learning that outsourcing is not a reliable way to ensure emergency access to medical equipment.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s successful approach to COVID-19 has emerged as a striking contrast to the US and UK responses. Among other things, the Vietnamese government was able to amass low-cost testing kits very quickly, because it already had the capacity to mobilize academia, the army, the private sector, and civil society around a common mission. Rather than simply outsourcing with few questions asked, it used public research and development funding and procurement to drive innovation. The resulting public-private collaboration enabled rapid commercialization of kits, which are now being exported to Europe and beyond. 
New Zealand is another success story, and not by coincidence. After initially adopting the outsourcing mantra in the 1980s, the New Zealand government changed course, embracing a “spirit of service” and an “ethic of care” across its public services, and becoming the first country in the world to adopt a wellbeing budget. Owing to this vision of public management, the government adopted a “health first, economy second” approach to the current crisis. Rather than seeking herd immunity, it committed early to preventing infection."
There should be a law that any politician who even whispers 'public-private partnership' should be immediately arrested, given a half-hour fair trial, and shot dead. Again, in any crisis situation, nobody has ever been able to afford a conservative government.  The inevitable disaster is built into their politics, which is basically selling ideological nonsense to justify grifting and grasping by the 1%.

"Intel: Top adviser signals Biden would keep troops in Syria as leverage" (Hagedorn).  Per adviser Tony Blinken, sorry, spelling, (((Tony Blinken))).

A lot of 'progressives' have suddenly turned into raging libertarians, and it is not a good look (Dissident Voice used to be better than this):  "Collaborators and Resisters" (Willers).  I'm getting a good dose of Clarification with each new day (46 47 0 is particularly disappointing, as he's completely lost the rootedness in the facts that was his signal strength).

"Bill Clinton Denies Having An Affair With Ghislaine Maxwell" (Allison).  "I did not have sexual relations with that woman".
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