Stok Footage

Continually experimenting with new ideas and techniques — Reconstructing, Developing, Modernising.

The New Privateers

I have finished reading George Lakoff’s The Political Mind after a (patient) friend lent it to me years ago, and I wish I had read it sooner. It has opened my eyes to how important the framing of issues can be.

Although the subtitle is Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain the ideas seem to me to apply more broadly.

There were a couple of passages which help me think in new terms about privatisation, a popular mechanism with late 20th century conservatives. In the first Lakoff re-purposes the term “privateering” (You can think of it as a blend of “privatization” and “profiteering.”)

Privateering is a special case of privatization in which the capacity of government to carry out critical moral missions is systematically destroyed from within the government itself, while public funds are used to provide capital for private corporations to take over those critical functions of government and charge the public a great deal for doing so, while avoiding all accountability.

In the second there’s a good take on deregulation and privatisation:

…Deregulation and privatization would be understood not as the elimination of government, but as a shift from government with accountability to the public to a government without accountability to the public, from public government with a moral mission (protection and empowerment) to private government with only the mission of maximizing profits.

There’s lots of food for thought in this book, even if I don’t agree with everything Lakoff puts forward.

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