Crowdfunding for the Public Good Is Evil | WIRED

Important article about the slippery slope from an underpaid teacher crowdfunding for classroom supplies to a bankruptcy city crowdfunding to clean up its parks. Crowdfunding is great when it funds new products that aren’t getting supported by more conventional forms of investment: Public necessities, by contrast, are not awesome; they’re …

What it means to privatize the justice system

Great article about the consequences of turning over parts of the criminal justice system to private, for-profit companies. How do the companies make money? By charging offenders on probation for their own monitoring, and by racking up fines and interest charges on the cost of traffic tickets and small court …

More than one way for a city to die

There has been a lot of press lately, nationally and locally, about the skyrocketing cost of living and doing business in San Francisco. While all that money keeps the city in better fiscal shape than most places in the U.S., it doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of life for San …

What the end looks like

The New York Times is stepping up its coverage of Detroit once again, as the city’s emergency manager issues dire warnings to creditors and seems to be paving the way to bankruptcy. There was a flurry of stories about the possibility of the Detroit Institute of Art perhaps being liquidated …

The hidden toll of privatization

What governments save in salaries and benefits often “ends up on the government books through all sorts of programs,” said Paul C. Light, a professor at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, referring to unemployment insurance, Medicaid and other public assistance for workers earning low incomes. … Economists …

Privatization – how is it debated?

These New York Times debates are never wholly satisfying, but are an interesting indicator of what kinds of “debates” are coming to the fore of political conversation, and how those debates are framed (what are the central questions? how are the sides staked out?). Interestingly, just as austerity policies are …