Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 10
[1] the transcontinental railroad?
Private sector trains run on US railways.

[2]Or the internet?
You’re saying that the FANG et al companies, the main internet traffickers, are government? Ha. Ha.

[3]The municipal electric companies?
Are mostly parastatals required to pay their own way. Not government operated. Government regulated.

[4]Or parking garages?
Mostly private run, either outright or as concessions.

[5]The launch of satellites?
SpaceX. Boeing. And their subcontractors. Are these governments?

[6]No wait, wait, I know this one: subways!
Mostly parastatals or concessions. Not government.

Mostly private concessions and airlines. Yes some TSA and Air controllers are govt employees.

[8]How is the TVA not “a commercial scheme”?
I’ll give ya that one, as an outlier. It’s a govt mandated agency with a mission to save the most backward and poor region from itself.

[9]The Panama Canal?
Is in Panama, not here.

1. Trains do run on private rails now now. To get the system started it took government funding to build the major parts of the system. It was later transitioned to private ownership.

2. No, I’m saying it took government funding to get the internet infrastructure going. It was later transitioned to private companies.

3. Nearly every entity with “municipal” in the electric company name started as a state enterprise because the private market wouldn’t build it. Not enough profit in those small towns and all that expensive copper. Mostly they have been transitioned to private ownership. Likewise cable systems, many of which started as government owned because it was too expensive to lay all that coax and the profit return was too meager, at least at first.

4. Most parking lots are privately run, but many are municipally owned and operated. Chicago, for instance, runs some of the largest underground parking garages in the world. Some of Chicago’s parking garages have been transitioned to private ownership.

5. NASA did the heavy lifting for the first five decades. Only now, after billions in R&D have been expended, is the industry transitioning over to private enterprise. Nobody in the 1950’s could have afforded to build the rockets and launch satellites for industries unknown and unimagined at the time.

6. Nearly every subway I can think of it owned by its resident city or state. Generally speaking they lose money, which is why private industry is not interested, otherwise they would be transitioned over to private ownership. They’re not because they serve a public good, even at a loss.

7. Virtually every airport began as government owned. For 50 years and often longer they were run by municipalities, not by private owners, until some of them were eventually transitioned to private ownership.

8 The TVA is hardly an outlier. The Hoover Damn. The Grand Coulee. The “TVA” consists of over 100 dams, nuclear power facilities, carbon electro generation, and more. Outlier? Oak Ridge. Hanford. Los Alamos. You forgot to mention jet engines, which were developed by government (Britain) and then transitioned to private industry (mostly GE, at first.) The Erie Canal. Samuel Morse’s telegraph. Land grant colleges. The National Weather Service. Oops, that one is having parts of its responsibilities transitioned to private companies. Only 100 years later!

Oh, and hey. You’ll never guess who started the first bike sharing program, possibly a relevant factoid given your screed against the car sharing program. You can look it up. Go ahead: Now it’s those sharpie VC’s littering the landscape with bicycles, but they didn’t invent it. In fact it took them half a century to catch up with what some cities and towns were already doing. Say, ever wonder who was first with overnight mail”? It wasn’t FedEx. Or DHL. Or UPS. Maybe you can guess, now that it has been taken up by those private enterprise guys you so highly value?

Did I mention that a lot of things you take for granted started as government projects because people wanted them but the market did not provide? In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, eventually many of these things were, say it with me, *transitioned to private ownership* LATER.

Oh yeah. 9. The Panama Canal. We paid for it, remember? Government again. I’ll give private enterprise a “nice try” on that one, but they went bankrupt and killed tens of thousands of workers before throwing it in. Then the US Government stepped in and changed the trading patterns of the world.

We’ve changed quite a lot, actually, that partnership between government and the private sector. You could take a note.
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.