Once upon a time it took thirty pieces of silver to sell out a man. Now, in the electronic age, when all precious metals have been replaced by paper or electric currencies, millions of people, some not yet born, can be sold out for next to nothing. That’s progress.
Some people work to conserve the environment and to prevent further pollution and degradation of the organisms that make up the basic web of life. Others are content to simply exclude their fellow man. Still others promote financial interests by making some lands inaccessible, thereby increasing the market value of what’s left. The latter are the new face of segregation, providing evidence that exclusion is both not necessarily sectarian and may well, as Goerge Wallace promised in 1963, last forever.
I’ve written quite often about how privatization represents an effort on the part of public officials to engage in activities second hand, or at one remove, that they are not empowered to undertake themselves. Or, at least, not with the caprice and abandon they prefer. However, privatization also seems motivated by a desire to evade both the standards and the enforcement mechanisms communities have at hand to ensure compliance from public officials. It isn’t just a matter of getting away with malfeasance by operating through a surrogate; it can also be a matter of evading the obligations of steward ship entirely. Continue reading →