Public Services - consumer good or human right?

23 Junio 2011

Despite many achievements hard-won over the years by public sector workers, unions and citizens movements, public services are still under constant threat from privatization, neglect and cuts in public spending.


En español

Special feature: Public Services & Privatization

Today, 23 June 2011, the United Nations Public Service Day pays tribute to the immense value that public services around the world contribute to communities' health and well being, and to their crucial role in development. Yet despite many achievements hard-won over the years by public sector workers, unions and citizens movements, public services are still under constant threat from privatization, neglect and cuts in public spending.

In this special feature TNI brings together a body of critical thought and action research on alternative models for the successful running of public services.


Privatisation Follies
Boris Kagarlitsky
Who will benefit from a second wave of privatisation in Russia?


Venezuela's CANTV: What should a 21st century "socialist” telecommunications company look like?
Nick Buxton interviews Daniel Chavez
Venezuela's revolution has often been tied to the slogan “Socialism in the 21st Century.” What might that might mean concretely in changes under way in the renationalised state telecommunications company, CANTV?


Look to Trondheim: Alternatives for public sector reform in Europe
Matthew Little
With privatisation failing to deliver good quality public services, what are the alternatives to ‘there is no alternative’? From workers’ initiatives in Norway and Newcastle to renew the welfare state, to citizen-led participatory budgeting in Italy and Spain, Mathew Little goes in search of innovative public sector reforms in Europe.

Cover Public Service Reform

Public Service Reform, but not as we know it!
Hilary Wainwright and Matthew Little
The reform of Newcastle City Councils Public Services shattered the myth that public sectors cannot reform or improve themselves. As much as £3.5 billion could be saved if Government followed its example. This report from 2009 should be read by all striving to change Public Services for the better.

Cover reclaim public water

Reclaiming Public Water

The groundbreaking book on how reformed public water services can achieve the goal of delivering water for all. An ever expanding iconic compilation available in multiple languages, including French, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and more.


Primer on reforming Public Water Services
Satoko Kashimoto
A beginners guide to the best way of reforming public water services. A stepping stone to the comprehensive and ever growing book 'Reclaiming Public Water'


Beyond the Market: The Future of Public Services
This yearbook is not just a compilation of articles. It is also a call to arms. Privatisation is not inevitable; we can and must react to protect, preserve and reclaim our public service inheritance. Without extensive, universally distributed public services, there is no way the world can realise the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Editor's Picks


The Emerging Geo-Strategic Landscape in Central Asia
Ross Eventon
Shifting alliances and deployment of troops in the region mark the struggle for control over the energy reserves in Central Asia by China, Russa and the US. One of its latest developments is the agreement to start constructing the TAPI pipeline next year.

dusty soldiers

In Afghanistan Speech, Obama Offers Token Troop Withdrawals While Maintaining the "War on Terror” Mindset
Phyllis Bennis
President Obama passed up an opportunity to recognize US democracy and respect the views of the vast majority of the American people.

African protest

The World Bank's Africa Strategy 
Patrick Bond
Whose interest does the ten-year Strategy document for Africa actually serve? The World Bank has shown little insight into the real problems Africa faces, focusing instead on ineffective policies, support for repressive regimes and projects that are known to have failed.

La Calle

Spain: The 'Indignant’ and the Paris Commune
Atilio Boron
One hundred and forty years after the Paris Commune similar demands for democratic change resonate strongly in Spain. Recent mass mobilisations show the Spanish people have had enough of politics that serve only the interests of a few, while public interests are subordinated to the profit imperatives of big business.

Freedom Flotilla Flags

Nukes and India
Praful Bidwai
Have our rulers decided to place India on the wrong side of history and arrest her social progress? Going by their policy of forcibly promoting nuclear power regardless of its hazards, environmental damage potential, high economic and social costs, and unpopularity, that seems to be the case.


Karen refugees in Thailand

Call for Dialogue and Urgent International Engagement to Support Non‐Military Solutions in Northern Myanmar

Following new eruptions of violence in Northern Myanmar multiple civil society organizations issued this statement calling for urgent international engagement and dialogue to support non-military solutions.

Report cover

Global Commission on Drug Policy Chair Responds to Release of UN’s 2011 World Drug Report

Former Brazilian President concerned that report is being presented by US and Russian Drug czars. Calls on UN leadership to break the taboo on vigorous debate about alternatives to global drug prohibition Regime.


Global Perspectives

Interpreting the AKP Victory in Turkey
Richard Falk and Hilal Elver
It is a time for celebration by the AKP in view of its landslide victory, but the afterglow of this should not obscure the challenges that lie ahead for them.

Africa: Chilling the Arab Spring
Patrick Bond
Another article on IMF and world bank unchanged politics after the change in politic landscape

A Shameless Secretary General versus Freedom Flotilla 2
Richard Falk
A year after Israel's violent attack on the first aid flotilla, it has failed to keep its promise to end the blockade of Gaza, where the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen. The second flotilla planned this year will again try to ease conditions, amid the failure of political actors to bring any real change to the situation.


En español

Selección del editor

hammer of justice

La "Declaración de Roma"
Amira Armenta
En el marco de una conferencia sobre drogas y tóxico dependencia organizada por diversas entidades italianas en junio de 2011, los magistrados participantes de Italia, Argentina, Portugal y otros países latinos redactaron la “Declaración de Roma”.


¿Qué hay de nuevo en el debate actual sobre el régimen global de las drogas?
Ricardo Vargas
Ricardo Vargas hace un examen crítico del análisis y las propuestas del reciente informe de la Comisión Global de políticas de drogas.

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Civil Liberties, the State and the European Union
25 June Statewatch,London Ben Hayes speaks in a workshop and chairs another.

Ten Years after 9/11
29 June, ECCHR, Berlin Ben Hayes moderates


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New from our network


Thirteen years of privatised water in Jakarta It is time to put an end to the mismanagement of piped water

A people’s victory in Italy! A resounding NO to water privatization, more nuclear energy, and impunity for politicians

The orange left sweeps Italian citiesReports on the Left's recent electoral successes in Italy




Harper’s public service cuts will hurt water protection Clean air and water hampered after job cuts? Council of Canadians

Delhi Jal Board Rocked By Another Major Scam Government, please stop yielding to external agencies Counter Currents

The great land grab: India's war on farmers Commodity should be used for the betterment of humanity through farming and ecology Vandana Shiva - Aljazeera

Under the cover of democracy US and its allies assist will be using neoliberal economic policies to make sure new Arab governments stay in line. Joseph Massad - Al Jazeera


Recommended Networks on Public Services


The Municipal Service Project (MSP)Exploring alternatives to privatization

Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) Empirical research into privatisation, public services, and globalisation

Public Services International (PSI)Representing Public Sector Unions Globally

Quality Public Services Action Now!Uniting people from all walks of life in advancing public services as the best way to build peaceful, just, equitable, democratic and sustainable societies