Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Danger: Privatization of Public Utilities


Public Utilities come in various kinds, forms and shapes, in these or those places of the Country, for different objectives and with diverse implications and consequences. For ordinary people – considering that technocrats have their rather profound knowledge and expertise to say otherwise – all public utilities have the following more common features: One, they are all for the use of the public. Two, they are all for public welfare. Three, they are all funded by public funds.

In other words, the primary goal of basic objective of public utilities is the common good of the general public. And rightly so, considering that said utilities are administered by different public agencies or offices, all of which are meant for public service, in the same way that all of them are financed by the big amount of direct and indirect taxes paid by the people – from birth to death. This is simply meant to emphasize the ground reality that the general public has a right to the services given by public utilities – considering that they themselves pay for their funding and operation.

More. Public utilities are strongly anchored on the principles of Distributive Justice – as a constituent element of Social Justice. While people may not be that grateful for the public services given by public utilities, let neither the government think that people should kneel down thereto in gratitude to its operation of public utilities – from putting them up as required by the common good, to their effective management as expected by people.

This brings to fore the real and big public danger of the privatization of public utilities. Reason: It is an open secret that private enterprises have but one over-all finality, viz., profit – the more, the better. Thus comes to fore the blatant contradiction between public utilities and private corporations. They are mutually exclusive in the sense that while the former are government supervised for the advantage of its constituents, the latter is owned and managed by private companies for the profit of their owners and/or stock holders. This is not really sad but true, not really bad but true.

This brings to mind the much publicized and acclaimed supposed novelty thought of and promoted by the present administration, viz., the so-called “Public Private Partnership” (PPP). Let it be well noted that whether such a partnership is in business ventures and other possible developmental projects – particularly so in owning and running public utilities – the “Private” component of the “Partnership” is profit oriented which by itself is dissonant with the pursuit of public welfare or common good. It is interesting to watch out what PPPs are on deck – after the second foreign travel of the Chief Executive. Wanna guess?