What’s Wrong About Public-Private Partnerships?

Aside from the fact that public-private partnership is a euphemism for fascism (or, as Mussolini preferred, corporatism) what is wrong about this structure of taxpayer-funded quasi- government? Public-private partnerships are all the rage these days e.g. the State of Maine just created a Space Corporation to enable private profits based on public infrastructure, and Ukraine relies heavily on Elon Musk’s Starlink network for the communications needed to conduct its war on Russian-speaking Ukrainians. 

Or at least it has until now.

Word on Twitter is that Ukraine asked Elon to hook them up in Crimea but he declined, citing the heightened risk of nuclear war following Ukraine’s terror attack on the Kerch Bridge linking Crimea and Russia.

“The aftermath of a large explosion that heavily damaged the strategic Crimea Bridge, also known as the Kerch Strait Bridge, which connects the Crimean peninsula with the Russian mainland, on Saturday | ©2022 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIESsource: Japan Times

I seldom agree with Elon “We-will-coup-whoever-we-want” Musk and have always wondered about that “we” in his infamous statement. But I have to admit in this case he’s spot on.

Nuclear war is something to be actively avoided, and calling for a negotiated settlement between Ukraine and Russia should be job #1 right now.

Given the fact that the UK (most likely with U.S. encouragement) actively halted peace talks in Turkey back in April, one could be forgiven for thinking we’re safer in Elon’s hands.

But this is really only the case because our national government was long since captured by corporate interests. President Biden called in reps from the big weapons manufacturers to make plans about arming Ukraine, and then Congress handed taxpayers the bill for $17,000,000,000. Some of that went to pay Starlink.

Of course Twitter is awash with accounts calling Musk a traitor, a Putin puppet, and lots more unsavory names for taking this position.

They’ve identified what the problem is with public-private partnerships: use of public resources to advance private agendas. 

This is routinely viewed as a good thing by those who think capitalism is the official religion of the U.S., and that adherence to its profit agenda is equivalent to patriotism.

It’s the same kind of twisted thinking that fails to count military emissions when reckoning with how to address climate crisis. Somehow the planet’s atmosphere is assumed to be patriotic. As if politics dictates to science.

Billionaires can take their ball and go home if they decide they don’t like the way the partnership is going. And calling them unpatriotic is just about the only leverage the public has.

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