August 23, 2012

Wie "Neoliberalismus" funktioniert

Tim Black in Spiked (bereits am 16. August) über die Folgen der britischen Eisenbahnprivatisierung, die ja auch hierzulande gerne als Musterbeispiel für die Verfehlungen des "Neoliberalismus" herhalten muss:
"Far from the state cutting loose what used to be a nationalised state asset, and slashing public expenditure in the process, precisely the opposite has occurred: public spending on the railways has actually increased since privatisation in 1994. The state hasn’t given free rein to the market; it has had to regulate and intervene more thoroughly, dishing out cash with one hand, and setting performance targets on the other. So according to a Department of Transport report released last year, public subsidy of the supposedly privatised rail service has not fallen since the sell-off; it has actually increased by £1.7 billion between 1996-97 and 2009-10. Incredibly, in 2006/7, £6.8 billion of public money was used to prop up the supposedly privatised rail industry – that’s nearly 50 per cent of the the rail industry’s total costs. This figure now stands closer to £4.5 billion but it still represents significant state intervention into what is supposedly a privatised industry.
To grasp the customer-unfriendly hodge-podge that is Britain’s railways in terms of some free-market attempt to make loadsamoney, and, just as importantly, save the state a fair bit, too, misses the point. Privatising the railways was never really about rolling back the state as the lazy Thatcherism-cliché pedlar would have it. The key dynamic here was all about the state cutting its responsibilities, not public services. It didn’t want to save money so much as save itself accountability. Hence the paradox: state responsibility has lessened while public expenditure has risen.
The reason for the state’s willingness to keep itself apart from a national service like rail travel is the profound crisis of authority, of legitimacy, that has afflicted the British state since the Cold War drew to a close and deprived the British state of one its last raisons d’être. In fact, so lacking in confidence, in direction, has the state been, that it hardly feels itself to be capable of organising the proverbial brewery drinks party, let alone running a national rail-network. The solution has been to pass the buck, be it to assorted, heavily subsidised rail operators, or Network Rail (formerly Railtrack), the track-management company.
Of course, this erosion of state authority and the concomitant attempt to outsource responsibility to the private sector is not limited to the rail industry. One can see the same process at work in the health service, in the military, in prisons. As Patrick Hayes reported earlier this year, it is even affecting the state’s ‘armed body of men’, the police, with core services such as crime investigation and intelligence management up for tender. (And while this is happening, state expenditure as a percentage of GDP is not falling; it is remaining steady. During the 1980s, it averaged 44 per cent - a couple of years ago it was up to nearly 48 per cent.)"

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