Rediscovering Capitalism

Whether we call large tech companies that regulate and shape the stream of private business models that might use them capitalist free enterprise corporations or utilities, it is clear that they have the unregulated, unreviewed power to make decisions, much like the early Robber Barons, that shape the business models that reward their interests and kill business models that do not. Nor are there any clear remedies for enabling public interests or private companies to engage in inquiry about policy decisions by these companies that shape the way our economy, as well as our society, functions.

In the spirit of “asset stewardship”, it is time, as President Biden said, to encourage “the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies.” .

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Pittsburgh: Built on Public-Private Partnerships

In 1994 when Tom Murphy became Mayor of Pittsburgh the city had been in decline for 50 years.  He looked at his assets:  300,000 residents (half of what it had been), thousands of acres of empty or underutilized land, a significantly below average cost of living index, Carnegie Mellon University, an entrepreneurial culture, a tradition… Read More

Plan It and They Will Build

Urban planners can take a page from the “Field of Dreams” movie’s playbook.  In the movie, Kevin Costner built a baseball diamond in a cornfield and his dreams came true.  Planners around the world are finding that this technique can work for reshaping cities, too. In the old days of “master planning” lots of night… Read More

Sachs Defines Essential Infrastructure “Long Game”

Jeffrey Sachs recommends:  Rather than trying to deploy construction workers within the next 60 days, I propose that we envision the kind of built environment we want for the next 60 years. With a shared vision of America’s infrastructure goals, actually designing and building the new transport, energy, communications, and water systems will surely require… Read More

Flint Not Alone In “Municipal Trifecta of Doom”

Flint Michigan’s water problem will be repeated around the country.  Race may be an issue.  Low income residents are definitely an issue.  But the cause is the “municipal trifecta of doom”:  aging infrastructure, declining revenue base and higher costs for municipal bonds. “About two thirds of all infrastructure in the United States is financed by… Read More

Source and Use of the Term: Privatization

The Economist magazine introduced the term “privatization”  in the 1930s in its coverage of  Nazi German economic policy. Voucher privatization has mainly occurred in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Additionally, Privatization from below is/has been an important type of economic growth in transition… Read More

Write for Asset Stewardship

The Asset Stewardship team welcomes thoughtful, data driven articles, analysis and case studies on topics pertaining to asset stewardship.  Themes include nationalization, privatization, public-private partnerships, privatizing municipal services and charter schools.  We plan to gather materials and serve as a resource to those interested in these topics. If you are interested in submitting an article,… Read More

Revisiting Privatization, Now is the Time

Background Over the past two decades, the privatization of state enterprises has gone from novelty act to global orthodoxy. More than 100 governments have sold stakes in state companies to private investors, raising $1 trillion and transforming the state’s economic role. Just as privatization’s promise may have been oversold, so its ills have been exaggerated.… Read More