Ann Hagedorn tackles problems that can come from privatization in her article for The American Prospect as part of its “What the Free Market Can’t Do” series. In “The Perils of Privatization,” Hagedorn uses examples from the United States’ use of private military and security companies in war zones and embassy security to contracting private companies to run U.S. prisons and halfway houses to highlight the horrors that can result from government outsourcing them and weighs them against the cost-savings commonly attributed to that outsourcing.
Ultimately, she concludes that “Privatization, in sum, is effectively a fraud” and “For all the rhetoric about public-private partnerships, our society works better when we keep public functions public and private ones private.”
Read the whole article here.
Following the revelation that an armed security contractor with a criminal background was operating the elevator President Obama was riding on at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ann possess the crucial question in her New York Times op-ed A Perilous Dependence on Contractors: “How thoroughly does the government vet the private security contractors that an increasing number of agencies employ?”
She argues that the incident is the most recent warning that the U.S. government “has become dependent on contractors for our defense and security. But the speed of that industry’s development and our consumption of its services far surpass the agencies’ ability to hold contractors accountable for the vetting and training of their employees.”
Ann ends the op-ed with this haunting paragraph: “The thought of what could have happened in that elevator in Atlanta should horrify all Americans. If that isn’t enough to shake us out of our complacency toward contractors, what is?”
Read the full op-ed on nytimes.com.
In her essay on Time.com “Is America’s Second Contractors’ War Drawing Near?”, Ann Hagedorn examines the possibility of the United States engaging in a Second Contractor’s War, following the First Contractor War, the term coined for the country’s involvement in Iraq after it become the most privatized military engagement in U.S. history, with private contractors actually outnumbering traditional troops.
Ann poses many questions that another war fought with a privatized military yields:
“This time, for example, will we be told about the extent of the role of military and security contractors? Will we know which companies are making millions, even billions, from providing armed and unarmed services in the name of American defense? Will we know how many layers of subcontractors there are, from what countries they were hired, and who trained them? When the U.S. government announces casualty totals, will the stats include the contractors who were wounded and killed? And what about the soldiers missing in action? In Iraq by the spring of 2011 there were eight MIAs, seven of which were private contractors.”
And she asks the ultimate question, “Three years (after the end of the First Contractors’ War), we as citizens of a democracy must ask ourselves: are we ready for the Second Contractors’ War?”
For the full essay go to Time.com.