A decade on from the 2007-08 global financial crisis, the majority of private banks have changed very little. Most remain solely concerned with maximising their returns, while sustainable or social goals remain subservient to this. For conventional economists, anything else remains an impossible or distant dream.
Reclaiming Public Services is vital reading for anyone interested in the future of local, democratic services like energy, water and health care. This is an in-depth world tour of new initiatives in public ownership and the variety of approaches to deprivatisation.
A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics – in particular for a subway line connecting the sports venues. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae)
The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.