Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Tendentious Reasoning
The Washington Post carried a terrible opinion piece by Moshe Adler yesterday. Adler is opposed to privitizing state companies in Iraq. He points out that in many countries, the government controls corporations:

[T]he German government owns 44 percent of T-Mobile, the cellular phone service provider. In France the government owns 54 percent of Air France, 21 percent of the company that owns RCA and 27 percent of the car manufacturer Renault, which in turn owns 37 percent of Nissan and 70 percent of Samsung. The British government owns 100 percent of the BBC.

So? My friend Chris has a tongue ring. Does that make it a good idea?

Adler also writes that privatization is not in the interest of the Iraqi people. I'm a bit puzzled since a 44% stake in T-Mobile yields the Germans a per capita GDP of $24,920 while the figure for the privatized American economy is $34,100. France is even worse at $24,420 and the UK brings up the rear with $23,550. (But at least Europe is a worker's paradise. --ed.) Uh, let's see. Germany has had a higher unemployment rate than the U.S. for 10 straight years. French workers have had a higher rate for 19 straight years. Twelve of those years, French unemployment was over 10%. The U.S. hasn't had that since the Great Depression ended sixty years ago, while the French have had to deal with that for the majority of the last two decades. The UK unemployment rate has been higher than ours for 22 straight years, with 9 years over 10%. (At least the French have better food. --ed.) A snail is a slug with a hat on.
Adler also opines:

[I]t is impossible to know whether the people of Iraq want to privatize the companies they own.

Of course, it is also impossible to know that the Iraqi people want to nationalize these companies. However, if Paul Bremer is trying to help the Iraqi economy, he would be far wiser to emulate the American model and reject European socialism.

Statistical Sources: Statistical Abstract of the United States and The Economic Report of the President

Update: The Post credits Adler as an economics professor at Columbia, but the Columbia website says he is an Urban Planning professor. Why the switch?

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