Chicago: Private Firms Cashing In on the Common Good

$chools for sale! Public lands, roads, airwaves for sale!


Rick Perlstein’s new piece, How to Sell Off a City, paints the landscape of the privatized metropolis.  Privatization is, of course, much broader—wars conducted by what used to be called Blackwater and by Kellogg, Brown & Root—prisons kept packed with folks on long sentences to build the profits of the Corrections Corporation of America —but Perlstein’s panorama is local.

“For over a decade now, Chicago has been the epicenter of the fashionable trend of ‘privatization’—the transfer of the ownership or operation of resources that belong to all of us, like schools, roads and government services, to companies that use them to turn a profit.  Chicago’s privatization mania began during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, which ran from 1989 to 2011.  Under his successor, Rahm Emanuel, the trend has continued apace.  For Rahm’s investment banker buddies, the trend has been a boon.  For citizens?  Not so much.”

Chicago is a microcosm…

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