Advocates of privatisation have often paid insufficient attention to one of the most important reasons why scholars like Friedman and Hayek argued in favour of privatisation: that people are the best judges of how to spend their own money and, moreover, that they have a right to spend their own money as they wish. Privatisation must not be separated from the broader libertarian project of making government smaller and giving people control of their own lives - which includes their own money.This extends the argument for privatisation beyond that of the purely economic into a general political argument for freedom. It also reminds us not to be uncritical of some of the other arguments made in support of privatisation.
Those who believe in freedom should therefore not uncritically praise privatisation. It should be supported solely as a means to the end of increasing individual freedom by giving people back more of their own money to spend. Where privatisation becomes a backdoor way of expanding the role of the state and thereby reducing people’s freedom this should be exposed and criticised.
Monday, 22 June 2009
Privatisation and freedom
At the IEA blog John Meadowcroft writes