Home > Essays > Their Foray into Public Education Beginning to Take Root, Venture Capitalists Supported by Neoliberals and the GOP Expanding into Water

Their Foray into Public Education Beginning to Take Root, Venture Capitalists Supported by Neoliberals and the GOP Expanding into Water

July 1, 2021

As noted in many previous posts, venture capitalists have created a “marketplace” of public education through two insidious notions: that Americans want “choice” in selecting their public schools in the same way they have “choice” when they go shopping; and that privatization will result in competition that will reduce costs to taxpayers. 

These two notions are accurate. “Choice” in public education IS like the “choice” offered to consumers. Those who are affluent have an abundance of options to choose from, can augment those options with products that enhance their opportunities, and are able to pay more for a product that is durable and superior. Those who are economically disadvantaged DO have choices: Dollar General, the Dollar Store; and Walmart. And to date, the deregulated “privatization” in public schools HAS resulted in competition and that competition, like the competition in, say, restaurants, franchise operations, and small shops, has resulted in many many failed enterprises. The gaps between the “haves” and “have nots” in our economy are mirrored in the gaps between the “haves” and “have nots” in public education and the notion that interjecting “competition” into that divide will solve the problem without increasing the costs to taxpayers is an agreeable fantasy that both political parties have promoted. One look at the results since the advent of NCLB and RTTT tell you all you need to know: “choice” and “privatization” have not moved the needle at all in terms of opportunity but HAVE increased the wealth of those who invested in the scam. 

Jim Hightower has written before on the privatization of public education… and his latest column posted in Common Dreams describes the venture capitalists latest undertaking: WATER!

Wall Street’s sharks smell money in the water. In fact, they are out to privatize, commodify and “profitize” (own) our water. Of course, with ownership comes control, both of water’s use and price. Unsurprisingly, the two core precepts of these Wall Street profiteers are: Water is greatly underpriced, so let’s make it more expensive for all users, including us common drinkers; and water must flow to its “highest use” (i.e., highest bidders), so its allocation should not prioritize nonindustrial farms, lower-income communities or even general public use—but rather advantage high-tech facilities, upscale suburban developments and high-dollar businesses willing to pay the most.

Sound familiar? This is not entirely unpredictable nor unforeseen:…. “The Big Short”, the movie that described the Wall Street crash in 2008, concluded with the suggestion that the next frontier for investment was water… 

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