Posts Tagged ‘Vulture Capitalism’

Charter schools and the shock doctrine

August 4, 2014

 If a charter school consisted of teachers and parents who had an idea for better educating children, I would be in favor of letting them try.  And I favor supporting genuine educational reformers such as Geoffrey Canada.

Goodness knows there is room for improvement in American public schools, and I can recall when there was considerable support among poor people in American big cities for charter schools.

karp-1But this is not what the charter school movement is about today.   By and large the charter school movement consists of (1) ideological opponents of public services in general and public education in particular and (2) vulture capitalists who see charter schools as a way to make a quick dollar by acquiring public facilities cheap.

Naomi Klein wrote a book, The Shock Doctrine, about how radical privatizers take advantage of emergencies to impose their ideas on an unwilling public.   I don’t think it is coincidence that the two most extensive examples of charter schools are New Orleans and Detroit, where parents and voters lost their voice in public education.

Almost all the public schools in New Orleans were replaced by charter schools following Hurricane Katrina, and about half the schools in Detroit have been made into charter schools by the unelected emergency government.

Charter schools are considered great investment opportunities because they can operate at minimum cost, often using public facilities acquired cheap, without accountability as to the quality of the product.  Privatizing public schools is part of the same movement that seeks to privatize the postal service, privatize public roads and privatize public housing.

A friend of mine who teaches at a community college in Texas told me that one of his freshman students has a day job as a teacher in a charter school.   That’s a lot more cost-effective than paying a trained and experienced teacher—that is, from an investor’s point of view, not a parent’s.

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Vulture capitalism at work

October 23, 2012

Private equity investors buy up the stock of publicly-traded companies.  Often (though not always) they buy the companies with borrowed money, and then load the debt onto the companies themselves.  This is good for the investors, but not good for the companies and their employees.  According to this chart, increasing numbers of private equity investors are making their companies borrow more money in order to pay themselves dividends.  There is no way this can be good for the companies.

Hat tip for the chart to The Big Picture.