Education and Human Imagination

Bill Moyers has a wonderful interview up with the great novelist Marilynne Robinson.  One effect of this interview is to reinforce the importance of developing the whole human being and human imagination.

Just as importantly, Robinson skewers the scientific approach to the world represented in the constriction of life to the economic utilitarianism of market fundamentalism.

Here she describes how this manifests in the current neoliberal approach to education reform.

Moyers:  Are we suffering some kind of loss of imagination that we cannot perceive the lived experience of other people?

Robinson: I think it is true, and I think it’s having effects all  across the culture. Education, for example, which is very subtly turned towards making a good working class, however well paid, rather than humanizing people’s experience, making them feel what it is to be a human being in the stream of mystery on this strange planet.

Moyers: So what’s happened to imagination?

Robinson:  I think in a way we’ve been talked out of it in favor of some kind of crude scientism that has no way of articulating the fact of mind, the fact of imagination, the complexity of consciousness.  And what they can’t articulate they’ve excluded as being not real, or illusory in some way.  If you think that the human mind is a wonderful thing, there’s an infinite interest in cultivating it.  And if you think it’s simply someone who works more expensively than a worker in the third world, you know, you have no interest in people except to make them a part of a utilitarian system that produces for the sake of producing.

The complete interview is fantastic.  See it here:

Can We Be Honest? Probably Not

If we were really honest with ourselves, and we’re not, we would be forced to come to the conclusion that the so-called “achievement gap” isn’t going anywhere soon.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not giving up.  I will continue to work, educate, learn and do all I can to make this gap go away.

It’s just that I continue to despair at the degree of denial we are operating within.

Let me explain directly.

The “achievement gap” is a frame created and maintained by white dominant culture.  This frame functions to externalize the problem.  The lack of “achievement”  within this frame, is a problem with minorities who are affected by it, and all efforts are therefore directed to changing minorities, those who own the problem.  (See here for more of my concerns with the language of “achievement”.)

See how nifty that works?  The problem is “those” people.

In addition to externalizing the blame, the frame of the achievement gap also  individualizes the blame.  If we just change “those people” we can solve the problem.  This logic of this as a ‘people problem,” leads to the tired, failed rhetoric such as “the number one factor in student performance is the quality of the teacher.”  Even though, as scholar Elias Isquith says, “… pretty much all honest education reformers now acknowledge, teachers are not the number one impact on whether a child escapes poverty. The number one impact is family [and] the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood.”  

Again, don’t get me wrong, the frame has done some good.  The data it provides is so incontrovertible that we are no longer able to deny that there is a problem.

It’s just that language of “achievement gap” obscures what the problem is.  It’s not a people problem.

The problem is that we have an equity gap.  Our white dominant, competitive culture that is oriented around “achievement” simply works in ways that privileges some at the expense of others. And, if we were honest, we would recognize that you can’t talk about equity without including race. Yes, poverty is a huge problem.  But all too often speaking about poverty becomes an excuse for not talking about race.  And race and poverty are all too often tied up with each other.

By way of quick example, my state of Michigan has created the Education Achievement Authority as a state run district to “turn around” the state’s lowest performing schools.  It’s a technical solution to this people problem of underachievement.  Addressing the achievement gap was the excuse for doing so.  It is no coincidence that those 15 schools taken over by the EAA fall within the boundaries of Detroit, a city that is over 80% black with a poverty rate of close to 40%.  As the Metro Times has recently revealed, those children captured by the EAA have been treated as subjects in a poorly run experiment.  This is not education, it is child abuse, but these are children who are invisible, and therefore subject to experimentation that maintains the invisibility of its abuse.

Detroit is separated from Oakland County by one road.  Oakland County is among the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States with a population of over a million.  Its population is close to 80% white.  None of its public schools has been taken over by the EAA.

One road.

So, this might lead to some questions. But that will make us uncomfortable.

I’ll ask anyway.

How can two areas that are so different in make-up, in wealth, in race, in privilege, be separated by one road?  How can one be so white and so rich, and the other be so black and so poor?

Senator Paul Ryan and others would say this is a cultural problem.  That there is a “culture of poverty” that perpetuates this division.  His frame thus insinuates that the problem is with minorities.

He’s wrong.

It’s an equity problem, and you can’t address equity in this country without addressing the historical context of race.  As Paul Thomas writes, “…race is a marker in the U.S. for access to equity and the coincidences of poverty and privilege. …If we were to begin to build the U.S.—in both policy and public behavior—around goals of equity for all, then segregation would either be eliminated or reduced to a dynamic that is no longer a marker of injustice…

You simply can’t address equity without addressing the dominant culture of whiteness.

But this is something that the evidence says we just aren’t ready to be honest about.


Teachers: Happy Labor Day?

The Detroit Free Press’s “Raw Data” series just came out with an article pointing out the decline in teacher salaries in Michigan (and most of the rest of the country) since 1999.

Mind you, this decline has taken place at the same time many Michigan colleges have increased graduation requirements for teacher certification to 5 years.  So, due to the increased time needed for certification, the cost of college has increased  for those aspiring to be teachers, as the certification and renewal process has also become more difficult and costly, while teachers must meet the requirements of “highly qualified” as determined by NCLB.

And pay is declining.

Oh, those selfish teachers.

From the Free Press:

Salaries for public school teachers in Michigan declined 8% between 1999 and 2012 — the third largest decline among states, according to data from the National Education Association. The average salary for a Michigan public school teacher was $61,560 in 2012. Nationwide, teacher salaries declined by about 1%, to $56,383, with 27 states reporting that average salaries fell during the same period.

Average teacher salaries vary depending upon teacher education and years of experience. Michigan public school teachers with a bachelor’s degree as their highest degree and full-time teaching experience of two years or less earned an average salary of $36,620 in 2011, the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Average salaries were slightly higher, at $38,070, for teachers with 3-5 years of experience. Yet their salaries remained lower than the national average of $40,030 for teachers with similar education and experience.” (Emphasis added)

Just for fun (and context), let’s compare this to what has happened with national CEO pay during a similar period, as outlined in a report by the Economic Policy Institute:

“‘From 1978 to 2012,’ states the report, ‘CEO compensation measured with options realized increased about 875 percent, a rise more than double stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 5.4 percent growth in a typical worker’s compensation over the same period.

Another method of calculation relies on ‘options granted,’ taking into account the value of the stock at the time the option is awarded, rather than the ultimate value it achieves. By this method, CEO’s in 2012 earned 202.3 times as much as average employees.”

Which leaves me with an observation:

It’s clear what we really value, and it isn’t those who serve our communities and children.

And a question:

Who will ever choose to be a part of the next generation of teachers?

No Water, But Lots of Tests

I was recently at a social event when I mentioned to an educator friend that I was off to protest the Detroit water shut offs the following day.  I also added that every educator should be there.

She paused and looked at me, and then asked, “Give me the nutshell explanation that connects water shut offs to educational issues.”

Without the nutshell part, here goes…

Some Context- Detroit Today

As a city on the forefront of what David Blacker calls the  “neoliberal endgame,”  Detroit is a fascinating, if tragic study.  Detroit is under the rule of an Emergency Management.  The laws allowing for the emergency manager were promoted by ALEC legislation (sound familiar educators?) and have disenfranchised the voters of Detroit in favor of a ruler, Kevyn Orr, who has virtually no accountability in our so-called democracy.  Upon acquiring this office, Orr almost immediately led Detroit into bankruptcy.

At the same time, Detroit Public Schools have been under Emergency Management since 2009.  Clearly, this experiment isn’t working in Detroit.  As quoted in Eclectablog:

“What the Detroit schools situation shows is that the problems in Detroit aren’t simply financial and they aren’t simply a matter of poor management. Without addressing the core issues of poverty, blight, crime, and a host of other modern plagues experienced by our aging urban cores, no amount of cost-cutting, privatizing, experimental teaching models, or management gimmickry is going to have the desired impact.”

In addition, the lowest 5% “performing” schools in the state, as measured by achievement data, have been removed from Detroit Public Schools and put into a newly created state-run district, the Educational Achievement Authority.  The EAA is run by a governor appointed superintendent who doesn’t have the pesky obstacle of democracy in his way.  This district is, to no surprise, failing miserably.


So it is in this very general context that the water shut offs are occurring.  Some background:

In May of this year, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department began a crusade to collect unpaid fees by residents of Detroit.  They are currently shutting off water access to any Detroit resident who is either $150 or two months behind in payment. This will affect over 120,00 account holders over a 3 month period at a rate of 3,000 shut offs per week.  (The suspicion of many is that the shut offs are occurring in the midst of Detroit’s bankruptcy in order to make DWSD more attractive for privatization.)

Mind you, this is occurring in a major US city, the richest country in the world, that has a poverty rate of 44%, is over 80% black, whose residents have already have their democratic vote similarly cut off, in a state that is surrounded by 4 of the largest fresh water lakes in the world.

At the same time, commercial interests in Detroit owe over $30 million in water bills, yet their water flows evenly.  (See more here.)


It seems that many of those factors have a strong correlation to the false narrative of  “failing schools.”


Me thinks no.


Market Fundamentalism

The foundation of neoliberal market fundamentalism is the assumption that all things, including human beings, are valued according to their worth in the market place.  This value is determined by level of  “achievement.”

In education, achievement is measured by test scores.  Those who score highest win.  Those who don’t are punished- and the means of this punishment is defunding, the closing of schools, the loss of local agency, and the correlating re-opening of schools as for profit charter, a race that Michigan is winning hugely with over 80% of its charters being for profit.

In other areas of life, achievement is measured by job status and salary.  Worth is determined by ability to pay.  The less you are able to pay, the less you are actually valued. Those in poverty really aren’t worth much.  Their “value added” to the efficiency of our economy is a negative. Such humans are punished with a system that blames them for their poverty, and then shuts off such necessities for human life as water.

The logic of blaming schools, teachers and students for their problems, in spite of the context that they exist within, is the same as the logic of blaming the poor for their problems, in spite of the context they exist within.  Our market driven system’s answer is to develop “incentives” to drive behavior. Achieve, in spite of the forces working against such achievement, or have your schools defunded and shut down.  Pay, in spite of the forces working against your ability to so, or have your water shut off. (No coincidence that these forces in both contexts are identical.)

Neoliberalism uses the politics of austerity to blame, punish, and then profit.  It erases the context of poverty for the purpose of privatizing the common good.

The United Nations has determined that the water shut offs are inhumane.  So very true.

At the same time, the shut offs simply follow the logic of neoliberalism.

And it is the logic of neoliberalism that those of us who are not in the 1%, including educators, are really fighting.

Poverty & Race- What Education Can’t Do

In staying with the theme of poverty and education that I addressed in my previous post, I want to make readers aware of two different writings that have come out that explode the myth that education by itself is the tool of leverage that can alleviate poverty.  Both works are important, and I urge you to read them in their entirety.

The first, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case For Reparations, appeared on the cover of the Atlantic.  This article deservedly went viral. Coates describes the history of how America has continuously used race as a means of marginalizing those of color while at the same time privileging whites.  Though the article isn’t specific to education, it is necessary for understanding the history behind our equity gap.

The second can be found on the Colorlines web-site. Colorlines is a fantastic resource that has developed a continuing series on the impact of race in America called Life Cycles of Inequality. Why Young, Black Men Can’t Work  is an article from this series.  This piece does address the impact on poverty and race on education, and the reasons why education by itself offers little or no way out of poverty for the marginalized.

In following the attempts of the article’s main protagonist, Dorian Moody, to find work after graduating from high school, author Kai Wright writes,

“As he left school in 2010, he was among more than 40 percent of black high school grads aged 17 to 20 who had no job. That number has inched downward, but it remains at nearly 35 percent—significantly higher than any other race or ethnicity. Federal data isn’t granular enough to measure the idle rate among men in this group, but all other data suggests it is more profound than anywhere else. Take, for instance, the eye-popping statistics we’ve seen about joblessness among young black men for years. Indeed, even before the recession, way back in the boom year of 2004, a congressional study noted with alarm that joblessness among young black men had galloped away from the rest of the country. In New York City, 18 percent of black men were jobless in the year Moody graduated.”

And what is the reason for this intractable unemployment?  Following the privileged, conventional assumptions of most Americans, and of educational reformers, is it that Moody (and so many others disenfranchised like him) is lazy uneducated, not trying, and doesn’t  care?

Is he mired in a “culture of poverty”?

Doesn’t he just need to show more grit and then get access to the right charter school of his choice?

Not quite.

“… a growing mound of research gives the lie to the notion that black men who fail in the modern economy have brought it upon themselves. Rather, it’s increasingly clear that they have instead been locked out of the male-tracked, skilled labor jobs that, for better or worse, still make the difference between poverty and working-class for many families. Even when accounting for failed personal responsibility, more and more research suggests that white men with similar backgrounds—without a college degree, and even with a criminal record—find far more opportunity than their black peers. One pre-recession study in 2003 even found that white job applicants with criminal records are more likely to get called back than black applicants with identical resumes and no record.

This is an inequity that grows from tangled roots—historic labor market discrimination, ongoing residential segregation, stubborn racial biases among employers. But it’s also one with consequences that stretch out beyond the men themselves, and that will linger long past today’s troubled economy.” (emphasis added)

In spite of the efforts of many of those who are disenfranchised, in-spite of their attempts to access costly educational opportunities, in-spite of doing everything the American myth of success tells them to, they remain unable to access work in our economy.

As Wright’s article shows, education alone clearly is not the tool that will allow those like Moody access to our economic system.

Until we address poverty and the correlating American history of the encapsulation of race, we have no hope.

We will continue to drift, allowing the rich to get richer while leaving living humans behind and blaming them for their misfortune. (And thus, because education is the way out of poverty, this simplistic, misdirected argument of the elites continues, we need to improve teachers, principals and schools, and blame them.)

We need to look at the broader issues of class and race outside of the isolation of education.

We need to continue to listen to the authentic, radical message of American hero Martin Luther King, a message we don’t hear too often these days.  His words here perfectly illustrates Coates’ and Wrights’ work.  The sad news is, King spoke these words over 45 years ago.  When will we be ready to listen to him?


Allowing the Market, Failing Kids

The Detroit Free Press has come out with a scathing indictment of charter school operations in the state of Michigan.  The series reveals the greed and almost total lack of oversight that has allowed charters to churn over $1 billion in public money spent into private profit.  The series is well-done and a necessary must read. However, because this report accepts the basic assumptions that allow for privatization in the first place, it also dangerously obscures the pattern of elements that continues to decimate public education.

Education as an Economic Utility

The first assumption that the Free Press uncritically accepts as normative is the idea that the purpose of education is economic.  That is, education serves to allow for individuals to have access to our economic system.  That the purpose of education is to allow for students to make money in the future and drive our country’s economic engine.  In his introduction to the series, Free Press editor Stephen Henderson starts with the presumption that charter schools are in theory, as he puts it in the first two words of his article, a “Great idea.”  He positively references former Michigan Governor (and current president of Business Roundtable) John Engler’s push for charters in 1993- a push that was motivated by economic utility.  (And Business Roundtable continues to promote the idea that we need a solid education system because, “America needs a world-class, skilled workforce to lead in global innovation, ensure future economic growth and drive…”) Henderson later writes that children’s future success, “… is largely determined by the quality of public education.”

The problem is that this frame of economic utility and the idea that “future success is largely determined by the quality of education” are what allow for the privatization of education in the first place.

Education is important.  Among other things, it’s important as a foundational aspect of democracy. However, we all suffer when education is treated as an individualized commodity that is justified by its effect only on our economic standing. The Insight Lab’s report describes the problem this way:

“Most school reform proposals, as well as policies current among the status quo, were measured by fairly narrow criteria: will more students be prepared for college? Will they have the skills they need to pursue remunerative jobs? Will they form a workforce that will keep the United States competitive? …given that the highest ideal offered by the model was the economic success of individuals, it would be illogical for most parents to commit their time and energy to the future of children besides their own.” (emphasis added)

Education imagined as a one-dimensional, individualized economic vehicle simply doesn’t serve the whole very well.  It becomes one more consumer commodity, and my job is to get mine.

This idea is particularly delusionary when in reality, and especially as our society becomes more polarized and less mobile on the basis of class, education does not cause economic success, in spite of the continuing myth that education is the lever for pulling kids out of poverty.  Instead, as Paul Thomas writes, “Education, then, is a marker for privilege/affluence and poverty, but is not the cause agent for the outcome.”

As Matt Bruenig writes in, What’s More Important: A College Degree or Being Born Rich?:

“So, you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated. The disparity in the outcomes of rich and poor kids persists, not only when you control for college attainment, but even when you compare non-degreed rich kids to degreed poor kids!”

As Bruenig describes, rich people stay rich in our society.  And, regardless of educational level of attainment, with few exceptions, (which  due to college costs is more and more of a dream for those in poverty), poor kids stay poor.

Thomas puts it succinctly, “In short, education alone is not the key to social reform. Period.” 

The myth that education is the answer to poverty allows us to blame the poor for being poor, and to avoid addressing poverty itself.  After all, the logic goes, if education is the way out of poverty, all it takes is some grit and a good school (Charter or private preferably. And is there a difference? )


In The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame, David Blacker writes, “The scene of resistance is the class struggle.  In fact, an excessive focus on education, say, in the form of advancing an allegedly liberatory pedagogy, in the absence of a broader and enveloping social movement, is ultimately going to be delusional.” (pg. 100)

It would be nice if we could stop pretending that education is the silver bullet.

It would be nicer if we could actually address poverty.

The False Narrative of Failing Schools

The other assumption that Free Press accepts as normative is the idea that “schools fail” as determined by the competition of “school rankings.” Henderson’s introduction is ripe with the business language of corporate education reform, of “accountability” and “results matter.”  “Results,” in this formula, are test scores. The need for “accountability,” in this formula, is meted out based on test results. This sentence makes my hair stand on end: “And competition can raise standards- when it’s managed competition.”  All of this shows an acceptance of the neoliberal pipe dream of the market as reformer. Though Henderson critiques an all-out market model, he also assumes the that the educational market model is appropriate and can work, it just needs to be better managed.

The issue being addressed by the Free Press isn’t the model of the market wrongly imposed on a public system- it’s the management of the market.  And the winners of the competition within said market are determined by “school rankings,” and such rankings are based on test results.

And test results are the tool that furrows the ground for the seeds of privatization.

As I’ve put it previously, “What do we know about test scores?  That the best predictor of success is socio-economic status. It is well known that what test scores indicate is not ability, but class status and geography. So what are these test scores really measuring?  By and large they are measuring the health of the communities the schools serve, not the schools themselves.  ‘Failing schools’ do not exist.  What do exist are communities that we have failed.”

So what do school rankings show us?  Where poverty is concentrated.  However, they are used as indictments of the whole public school system, thereby justifying the need for privatization, vouchers, value added measurements, and lots of charter schools, even if, as in the state of Michigan, almost 80% of these charters are for profit.

Diane Ravitch, in Reign of Error, describes the debilitating pattern of achievement testing used as a tool for privatization this way: “Competition may produce better shoes and jeans, but there is no evidence that it produces better schools. The advance of privatization depends on high-stakes testing.  The federally mandated regime of annual testing generates the data to grade not only students and teachers but schools. Given unrealistic goals, a school can easily fail. When a school is labeled a ‘failing school’ under NCLB or a ‘priority’ or ‘focus; school according to the metrics…it must double down on test preparation to attempt to recover its reputation, but the odds of success are small, especially after the most ambitious parents and students flee the school…the more school struggle, the deeper they sink into the morass of test-based accountability.” (pg. 319)

This test based accountability is simply a death spiral for public education that justifies the existence of charters and privatization. Blacker again, “It should now be clear that to everyone that neoliberal education policy is not about reforming public schools.  It is about obliterating any remaining vestiges of the public square via a market discipline that is officially supposed to apply to everyone but in reality is selectively applied only to those lacking sufficient wealth to commandeer state policy.”  (pg. 106) It is this market driven process of the obliteration of the public square that the Free Press fails to address. According to it, the issue is not privatization, but only the management of that privatization.

Let me be fair.  The Free Press does critique the profit making of many of the charters, and the series appropriately takes these charters to task.  Kudos.  Yet it fails to critique the system that allows for said profit making.  And in doing so, it allows for the continued avoidance of the root cause of failing communities- concentrated poverty and the racialized context those communities exist within. If we don’t directly address the issues of poverty and race, the increasing inequity in our country, we will continue to leave children behind.

Read the whole report.  You will find the level of greed and deceit involved in propping Michigan’s charter system absolutely infuriating- though not surprising. (And highly predictable.)

Just keep in mind what it isn’t saying.

The Quest to Eliminate Public Education

It’s summer reading time.

So please read David J. Blacker’s book, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame

Blacker does a tremendous job of helping us understand the economic background behind what is driving the current mode of corporate education reform. It’s important to understand this because education reform is greatly affected by the context it exists within, and this context is neoliberalism.

Trying to summarize Blacker’s thesis in a short blog entry is impossible, but let me try. He argues that because of the technological changes affecting everything, combined with capitalism’s inherent internal structure, the ability to create profit is shrinking. Adjustment to this profit shrinking requires a shift from extracting from labor for profit to extracting from financial markets, a shift that is aided and abetted by technological advances. With this shift, not only is labor no longer needed to the same degree, but it becomes an obstacle to profit. As Blacker puts it, “In capitalism’s neoliberal phase, however, the ‘more is better’ mania for exploitation is replaced by a technologized ‘less is better’ mania for eliminating labor costs.”  People become dispensable.  Austerity rules. And thus students, who in the past were educated for positions in a labor economy, have no additive function.  Which makes an education, and schools, and educators, expendable according to neoliberal logic.

Got it?

You, educators and students, are at best superfluous and costly burdens on the back of a neoliberal economy.

Here is a more from his introduction:

“Not as many workers are needed to turn whatever profits remain and government largesse is reserved exclusively for ‘too big to fail’ financialized capitals which have, as a result, become state-corporate hybrids that exist as government-secured monopolies even while they spout neoliberal rhetoric about ‘freedom,’ ‘competition,’ and the like….the bulk of the population is no longer seen as a resource to be harnessed- as dismal as that moral stance once seemed- but more as a mere threat, at best a population overshoot to be managed by a self-perpetuating and therefore pseudo meritocracy.  If the peasants are no longer needed to work the fields, then why not go ahead and kick them off the estate?  The scenery will improve.” (pgs. 10-11)

So this is the economic context in which we exist.  An economy that once was able to extract profit through labor is no longer able to do so.  It’s searching recklessly for profit, and labor has become simply a cost with no value.  It must be cut- eliminated.

Public education must be eliminated.

Blacker continues:

“This is where the austerity kicks in.  It’s a one-two punch sort of situation: fewer human beings are needed for capital accumulation and the public coffers are urgently needed by elites in order to continue leveraging their insatiable cash cow financial sector (almost all of the sovereign indebtedness is due to tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations and, more importantly, the bailouts and federal guarantees that have been tendered to the banking sector).  Thus the ‘shit rolls downhill’ nature of austerity that requires teachers and schoolchildren to pay for the solvency of sinecured bankers and their political enablers.” (pg. 11)

I must admit- that’s depressing.

It gets worse.

Blacker describes what we are seeing now, “…the demise of the grand ideal of universal education that has animated enlightened capitalism since the nineteenth century.  What capitalism gives, it now takes away.  In the realm of education, this process represents a final coup de grace:  The abandonment of government provisioned and guaranteed schooling for all- after first ‘privatizing’ and channeling those commons’ erstwhile value into elite coffers.” (pg. 13. Emphasis added)

And, with this frame in mind, understanding the importance of how the Common Core Standards were developed and supported by Gates Foundation money becomes clearer. Understanding the impetus put on high-stakes testing, on the blaming of teachers when poverty is the issue, on Value Added Measurements, becomes a bit easier.  Understanding the complete elimination of all public schooling in New Orleans, the development of Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority, etc. etc…. All of these reform attempts blame the individuals within the education system and therefore serve to take attention away from the broader context this system exists within.  At the same time, these approaches function to further serve the decimation of public education: A system that, within the one-dimensional, market fundamentalist approach of neoliberalism, serves no positive economic value.

It becomes abundantly clear that all of these educational reform measures are not put in place to help and support children.  They are natural functions of economic system that has no longer the same need for labor.  And thus the supplier of that labor, public education, is nothing other than a costly burden.

And so needs to be eliminated.

But not before a profit can be made by privatizing as much of it as possible.

Scared? You should be.

Read the book.