Your editorial (July 3) on children’s homes offers an important first step in reversing the trend since the 1980s by replacing the concept of public service as an underlying value with the pursuit of profit. You imply, however, that children’s services are somehow unique and that this special status should exempt them from the underlying presumption in favor of market-based solutions. While the clash of values between profit and public service is more evident here, the same moral and social questions arise in all other areas where profit has replaced service as the main driver.
The concept of public provision of public services has been successfully reviled by right-wing propaganda as a form of toxic “hard left” ideology, when in fact it is simply the moral and social right way to go. , and was recognized as such until the 1980s. by all political parties of left and right. There are many areas of national life where needs are so basic, universal and socially significant that services must be provided and managed collectively, democratically and explicitly in the public interest, not privately and in the interest profit.
The real toxic and irrational ideology is that of neoliberalism, which has so permeated the zeitgeist that its pernicious attacks on the public domain are now the currency of political discourse preventing the reconquest of public services.