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.
The future of our public services will be as central to the next election as the future of the economy. The experience of Newcastle City Council shows that most political party leaders are wrong when they believe the solution lies in further competition and outsourcing.
The Transnational Institute (TNI), in cooperation with the Municipal Services Project (MSP) and the Latin American Programme for Distance Education in Social Sciences (PLED) is offering a free web-based course on Alternatives to Privatisation: Non-Commercial Public Services Options in the Global South. The course will begin on 8 October 2012 and will comprise a series of eight weekly sessions.
The UK's labour party is inspiring grassroots and workers mobilisation and showing increasingly credible leadership. Its recent annual conference and the concurrently run World Transformed Festival give hope.
Spain maybe on the edge of a remunicipalisation renaissance, with all the relevant legal, financial and technical issues attracting surprisingly intense interest throughout the state. These trends in Spain provide inspiring examples for other countries too, in Europe and worldwide. On 1st December Barcelona City Council organised a remarkable conference on the topic.
Despite large aid support, Ghana's privatised water utility AVRL consistently failed to meet its contractual commitments. Water is now back in state hands, but it will need increased investment and a vigilant civil society to deliver the services Ghanaians need.
Despite immense pressure by corporations that have sought to undermine it, Costa Rica's public energy and telecommunications company stands out as a model in terms of its coverage, efficiency, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
The ideological reasoning behind UK government policies is that the market is the only way to make public services 'efficient'. Isn't it time we talked about social efficiency, maximising public benefit rather than maximising profit?
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.
What we saw in the UK election campaign and the recent coalition deal is the level of opportunism amongst the political parties, and the real absence of politics and ideas on how to deal with major crises in the economy, over climate change and of our political institutions.
The largest Public-Private Partnership in water sector in Germany ended in 2013 after the longstanding social mobilisation. Remunicipalisation cost a high price for the city of Berlin though. Berliners have striven for new challenges.
The institutions that are supposed to reproduce daily life are incapable of acting on behalf of the people any more, so we need to produce our own institutional alternatives based on micro-experiments and universal values.
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?
Already subjected to the consequences of the European and Greek debt crisis and the resulting austerity measures, privatisation will continue to hit Thessaloniki hard. In a referendum the people voted overwhelmingly against water privatisation. While their struggle continues, they look upon the crisis as an opportunity to intensify the search for democratic alternatives.