Horrors! Private companies are providing public services to Flint

Horrors! Private companies are providing public services to Flint
(Image via WCMU.)

[Ed. – He says this like it’s a bad thing.  Emphasis added.]

A huge donation of bottled water from Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo to Flint schools represents the displacement of government by corporations. …

That these firms are stepping up to deliver water is good news for Flint’s schools and citizens in the immediate term. But a one-time infusion of gallons of fresh water doesn’t do much to address the systemic failures of government that led to the water crisis in the first place. By making four for-profit corporations into a de facto public utility, the gift might actually risk making things worse in the long run. …

According to a press release Monday, the state of Michigan has distributed 176,118 cases of water and 93,048 water filters. By my back-of-the-envelope calculation, that comes to 4.2 million bottles of water… [I]t gives a sense of just how huge the corporate donation is in the scale of response to the water crisis. …

Failures of government and the effective disenfranchisement of Flint voters produced the crisis, and now private-sector philanthropy is jumping in to fill the gap. But that may introduce its own problems. …

[B]y providing water to the public schools for the remainder of the year, the four companies have effectively supplanted the local water authorities and made themselves an indispensable public utility, but without any amount of public regulation or local accountability.

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