The selling off of people’s commons

In the 1980s, and especially in the 1990s, the European countries went through a phase of privatization, which radically reduced the reach of the post-WWII welfare state. The rationale for such an exercise varied, as did the forms of privatization across sectors, countries and time. … The public debt crisis has deepened this shift in favour of private sector interests, as the Greek experience amply demonstrates. … The Economic Adjustment Programme, accompanying the bail-out, contains a detailed privatization plan by type of asset, mode of sale and expected sales proceeds over the period 2010-2015, the time span of the Programme. A target of proceeds equal to €50 billion has been set. … In this sense, the current thrust is a determined attempt to sell off what remains of the Greek people’s commons. Read further in LuXemburg Magazine

Land grab fears for Ethiopian rural communities

A controversial new farms policy has led to a political clampdown in a remote lowland region of Ethiopia. The government of Meles Zenawi is pioneering the lease of some three million hectares of land over the next five years, an area the size of Belgium. The policy is targeting massive lowland areas mostly in the west and south-west of the country. These are regions populated by smaller minority ethnic groups. The government denies conducting any repression, and says instead that its policy is aimed at lifting local people out of poverty. Foreign investors in Gambella include Chinese, Indian and Saudi firms. The Saudis alone say they are hoping to produce as much as a million tonnes of rice per year, most of it for their own domestic market. Read more (BBC, 16.12.2001)

The Story of Bottled Water


The Story of Bottled Water, releasing March 22, 2010, employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the fast-paced, fact-filled story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.

Privatization from a left perspective

From a left perspective,, established by network ppg (privatization, public goods) and RLS, examines impacts of privatization on the (re-)distribution of social ressources, on the (re-)distribution of political “goods” (effects of domination, democracy, participation, and access) and on the dimension of political/social conflicts. The network analyzes the interrelations between property, domination and equality.

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