Here’s an interesting read about the drive towards privatization. This is a centralization of power that threatens the end-user’s ability to control and ethically inform the use of infrastructure. For example, the aggressive ticketing of citizens is essentially just taxation through randomized punishment that is usually directed at the poor. Chicago will have no legislative means of fixing this problem because they sold their power it to a private corperation.
Also, publicly owned utilities tend to more accurately reflect the actual cost of delivering the service to the end-user. Utilities are inherently monopolistic as it’s very difficult for a city to have two sets of water pipes, two sets of power lines, etc. The monopoly can easily inflate prices with no free-market competition. The MTA in NYC increases ticket prices every year. They have been caught “cooking the books” to prove to legislators that they operate at a loss and should qualify for tax payer subsidies. They actually operate at a great profit and deserve no handouts.
Even further, privatization renders certain constitutional amendments obsolete. While on private property it’s legal to subject people to unwarranted search and seizure. An Ecuadorian man I worked with was arrested while riding the subway. He was clearly in work attire, covered in drywall dust. They searched him and found a utility knife and threw him in a metal cage for 24 hours. If Chicago decides to sell its sidewalks it will be very bad news for common people.
If the oligarchy is very eager to buy publicly held services, we should naturally be very skeptical. As citizens we need to create the competition by implementing our own systems. An old buddy of mine documented NYC’s attempt to create an alternate public transportation in his documentary No Vans Land
The drivers of this alternate service were met by violence from the police.