Public-Private Partnerships (P3); misc.

iBad--graffito on iPod ad, NYC bus shelter, December 2012

(1) This post’s image:  Some elegant and amusing culture-jamming on an iPod ad on a NYC bus shelter, captured earlier this month.  I’ve been walking around saying, “I bad!” since I saw it (Michael Jackson meets Steve Jobs?), thinking of the horrible conditions of the Foxconn workers and other Apple malfeasance. (I know, I know, my Sony laptop and Droid phone are likely no better than anyone’s Apple products.)

(2) Public-Private Partnerships (P3):  I just coded and posted our current cover article, Highway Robbery: How Public-Private Partnerships Extract Private Profit from Public Infrastructure Projects, by Darwin BondGraham. Enjoy!  It looks like Darwin will be writing about the housing “recovery” and high finance (and in particular, how hedge funds have been buying up single-family homes and renting them out) for our Jan/Feb issue.

(2) Private Equity and Health Care:  Speaking of our Jan/Feb issue: we’ll be running an article by sometime-D&S collective member Nicole Aschoff on the role of private equity firms in health care–it’s a great piece. I was reminded of it when I heard on the radio this morning that the PE firm Cerberus will be dumping its stake in the gun company that makes Bushmaster guns (Adam Lanza used one of their rifles to shoot all those kids and teachers in Newtown, Conn. on Friday); the company, incredibly, is called “Freedom Group.”  Who knows whether they did it because assault rifles make it easier to kill people, or because possible impending restrictions on assault rifles make it harder to make a profit from selling them. Nicole’s article suggests the latter, since once PE firms take over hospitals they tend to phase out needed care that doesn’t bring much of a profit but build up procedures and treatments that have high profit margins.  “Message: we care…about profit.”

(3) Cost of U.S. Bases Abroad:  Nice piece at Al Jazeera:  How US taxpayers are paying the Pentagon to occupy the planet, which cites research by D&S author Anita Dancs. And they also have a piece about the whole USBC money-laundering issue that quotes D&S author Bill Black.

(4) Is the Whole World Going Bankrupt? Great new (and newly translated into English) pamphlet on government debt from the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. Looks like it makes many of the same arguments against standard myths about government debt/deficit that we have made in D&S, e.g. especially in John Miller’s Government “Living Within Its Means”?, and Marty Wolfson’s “Myths of the Deficit” (which is no longer online. The cover uses a great stencil by Banksy; I thought I’d used that image on the blog, but I used this one.

(5) Too Much, and The Vile Plutocrat:  I’m pretty sure I have plugged Sam Pizzigati’s (and IPS’s) online newsletter Too Much. It’s a great read every week–well worth subscribing (and it’s easy to do).   (Sam is co-editor of the new edition of our book The Wealth Inequality Reader.)  More recently, I’ve discovered a similar and hilarious site, The Vile Plutocrat.

(6) Holiday Fundraiser:  Last but not least:  please chip in for our holiday fundraiser. If you donate $50 or more, we’ll send you a copy of the brand new edition of Current Economic Issues or twenty of our “Greetings from the New Economy” postcards, or we’ll sign the friend of your choice up for a gift subscription (the book and postcards make great gifts too).  Details here.

That’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr

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