Freedom vs PPPs

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Via Randex is a lengthy, but very worthwhile article by Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center which takes up a theme described by its title ("The Principles of Freedom vs. Public/Private Partnerships") that I have also explored lately.

As the Associated Press reported July 15, 2006, "On a single day in June (2006) an Australian-Spanish partnership paid $3.6 billion to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99 year lease on Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road for 50 years."

In fact, that Spanish-American partnership in Texas and its lease with the Texas Department of Transportation to build and run the Trans Texas Corridor contains a "no-compete" clause which prohibits anyone, including the Texas government from building new highways or expanding exiting ones which might run in competition with the TCC.

That is not free enterprise. And it's not protecting the second principle of freedom - private property.
The most valuable aspects of this article are (1) that it provides numerous examples of how such "partnerships" introduce government into our lives in clear violation of our individual rights and (2) that it shows just how widespread the misconception is in the public debate that such partnerships somehow represent capitalism.

Its greatest weakness is that it leaves the impression that its "three principles of freedom" are fundamental when they are not. As a result, the article is not as clear as it could be about how wrong and dangerous to individuals these partnerships are. Namely, it does not morally attack the notion of the public/private partnership.

Having said that, I was still very impressed and have linked to both the American Policy Center and the Capitalism Magazine archive of Tom DeWeese's columns on the page accessible from "Some Links" in the upper right of the sidebar.

-- CAV

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