Postcapitalism and the city
Paul Mason

I would be happy to agree with this 2.0 “technosocialism” text, but there is still too much good old ‘socialism vs. capitalism’ in it. We must do better.

Consider this (strongly highlighted) sentence : “Another way of understanding privatisation is to say: how can we do public services as expensively as possible?”.

This is a bad oversimplification. Diversity is a necessary condition for improvement and ultimately offering the best service at the best cost. Diversity allows to compare efficiencies, to identify best practices that then may become contagious (if they are not patented or secret): the system improves. That’s why monopoly is bad (and patents and secret know-how too).

As they are organized in most advanced countries, public services are often acting in a state of quasi-monopoly. The sole lack of diversity will hamper improvement and make them unable to offer better service at better cost. Despite all good will. Think ‘Soviet Union’ as an ultimate example of this.

Private business on the contrary are typically many. Those that have the best practices will tend to survive more often than others. This painful process is typically biased in favour of strong capital owners, and will generate job losses. To fight this, the basic income may help. However, private businesses often solely want to make money, so even with better services at better cost, this will not necessarily be at a better price.

In the end, a more subtle message is needed than just claiming privatization is bad. Diversity is needed to improve. Private businesses create diversity, public services in a state of quasi-monopoly don’t. But patents and secrecy prevent best practices to broadcast. If I had to choose, I would prefer a combination of private businesses, basic income, strong taxes on high income/capital to pay for it and absence of patents to just universal nationalizations.

I would even keep private banks, but the right to create money out of debts should be associated with extreme and well thought out taxes.

PS: many typos in your text. You should reread it.