14 October 2013

Privatize The National Park Service?

Perhaps its an idea whose time has come, as a recent editorial in Forbes advocated:
I’m not talking about privatizing the parks themselves, a suggestion others have raised. In the 1990s, I specialized in privatization, writing reports for state and local think-tanks, particularly the excellent Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. I quickly learned one of the most crucial things about privatization that most people don’t understand: much privatization involves not ownership but operation. It’s often wiser to privatize not ownership but operation. (Roads are an example. Let the government own the roads, but their maintenance should be contracted.) That’s particularly true when government employees operating a service become unionized, entrenched, bloated, and over-extended. And that’s precisely what we should now consider with the National Park Service. We should privatize not the parks but the service that operates, manages, administers them.
The beauty of privatizing management rather than ownership is that ownership is permanent but management is not. This means that if one management group doesn’t perform up to expectations, a new one can be hired. The hiring process should always be regularly competitively contracted. This “competitive bidding” process keeps the current management group on its toes and accountable. If it performs badly, it can be fired and replaced—unlike the current group of government employees running the National Park Service, which is a protected class with a monopoly on its service.
Let’s privatize the National Park Service.
I'm inclined to agree. More here.

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