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Satire Research Paper

The subject of the privatization of formerly public enterprises can be interpreted


to mean a wide variety of things. The particular aspect which I intend to address is the
privatization of the industrial complexes associated with prisons and the military. The
concept of privatization is nothing new; the practice of contracting government tasks to
private businesses was widely used by the governments of both the Grecian and Roman
republics. It should also be said here that in itself privatization is not inherently bad,
rather the uses to which it may be put can be misguided. The contracting out of jobs and
labor needs by the government enables the government to function more smoothly and
focus on tasks which it is better suited to deal with. That said, some tasks have large and
far reaching moral implications and I do not believe that it is appropriate for these fields
to operate on a for-profit basis. This is not a new discussion, but it is one that I believe
has ever-increasing importance and relevance now.
The privatizing of certain aspects of government make sense and should be
private, but 1 of the aspects of the Bush Presidency that we would be wise to learn from
is the result of privatization without limits or oversight. In retrospect, the War in Iraq
served to do little for America save empty the treasury paying Halliburton for all the
military contracts of a nearly 10 year long struggle. While for the citizens of Iraq, the war
is a deadly reality of daily life, for American Defense Contractors its all just dollars and
cents, and that is monumentally unethical. The widespread privatization of the American
prison system created a need for more prisoners and helped to create the drug policy
which, after the Civil Rights movement, gives the state a brand new, constitutional way
to control minorities and keep them from voting, when selectively enforced as it is today.


The privatization of everything possible has succeeded in kicking off the global financial
crisis, and now that America really needs money it has none due to all of the outsourcing
of jobs. Additionally, if a particular aspect of the government is privatized, it should not
be able to maintain its tax exempt status.
Supplying military hardware and constructing prisons/caretaking for criminal
offenders are two enormous jobs that require a large labor force. There are many
differences between the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex. I
will begin, though with some of the similarities: The need for a large workforce has been
already stated, but the need for large facilities for them to work in and machines to
produce building materials with goes right along with it. Both the prison complex and the
military complex have to address providing food to large amounts of people on a regular
basis. They both have security as a primary concern. Both must supply weapons and gear
for their personnel. And finally both complexes share certain aspects of the industrial
component which provides some of the raw materials for operation, for example the same
industrial complex produces armored military personnel carriers and armored prisoner
transfer buses.
The relationship between the prison complex and the military complex is much
closer and older than one may think. The American military heritage was born through
waging war on the Native populations that inhabited these lands before we did, and in
many ways parts of the prison industrial complex were born in addition to and alongside
the American Indian Residential School System. The Indian schools sought to destroy the
rich Native American heritage through the reeducation of Indian children. The
American Indian Schools, often military schools, sometimes operated on a for-profit


basis. Through the forced labor of children, they produced goods to be sold for the
benefit of the school. Girls were taught to sew and produce clothing items while the boys
would cut wood or mine coal. The American Indian schools are a chilling example of
how a for-profit enterprise can be used to exploit those it imprisoned, particularly when
no one of any significance(able to vote) cares about what happens to them.
The beginning of the prison industrial complex as we know it today began in the
1980s with Ronald Reagan and the war on drugs. Before the federal drug ban, prisons in
America were not numerous enough to represent a complex, but with the advent of the
war on drugs, more and more low-level criminals began getting longer and longer
sentences. Now after decades of anti-drug propaganda and the constant inflammatory
media reporting regarding the criminalblackman, we can more easily see the toll that the
Republican policies have taken. The focus on street crime by Republican Presidential
candidates enabled them to win election after election, and build the new Republican
majority out of disenfranchised southern White Democrats by appealing to them with
law and order rhetoric. After winning the elections Presidents would keep their
promises by writing new stricter laws regarding drugs and street crime, and gradually
being tough on crime became the winning position in most elections. All that toughness
gave us the prison industrial complex.
The prison industrial complex in America as we know it today has operated on a
partially for-profit basis for its entire history. Criminal prisoners in the United States
would make license plates for the state, build roads, and cut wood or clear fields for
planting. On its face, such a thing seems like a good idea, giving prisoners something to
do and allowing them to be of service to the community and the state and it can be a good


thing as long as nobody is there to make personal gains. But if the prison warden were
corrupt, they could easily exploit the inmates for their own benefit and no one is going to
stand up for them. Few people in America experience the type of stigmatization that
ex-cons have to go though, as if all the hoops and runaround of parole and probation
werent enough. The problem is that having a for-profit orientation can encourage
corruption by putting pressure on the prison administrators to generate revenue rather
than simply letting them focus on prisoner rehabilitation. Prisons are not and should not
be businesses; they should be operated by non-profits who are concerned only with
prisoner health and rehabilitation.
The central issue here is that there are some tasks which are both highly sensitive
as well as labor intensive, which I believe can easily become corrupted if they operate
within the economic market. The prison complex and the military complex are the two
largest examples of where having the wrong priorities can take us when we allow them
to. The presence of the Military industrial complex in our society has grown so much and
the lobbying power of defense contractors has become so great that when there are no
wars going on, we have to go and start one somewhere. The needs of an American
missile company for profits outweigh the value of human life on the other side of our
world, and I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with that. How many
people will have to die before we can all decide that we just dont need a military at all
anymore?
In conclusion, although many Americans prefer to believe that they are powerless
over their government and they can do nothing to change it, the truth is that the way our
government operates reflects on us and if the governments priorities are wrong then the


citizens priorities are too. Our government represents us and if people choose to remain
ignorant to its actions, it amounts to a silent agreement between the government and the
people where the government gets out of control and the people simply look the other
way. If we can not learn from our mistakes then history is doomed to repeat itself.