To continue the thought
on public goods, the following is from a Wall Street Journal staff
But we ought to at least recognize that our increasingly
tough First World problems — terrorism,
viruses, the rising incidence of powerful natural disasters — are being
addressed by a public sector that too often is coming to resemble a Third World
that can’t execute.
I’ll go further. We should consider outsourcing some of these
functions, for profit, to the private sector. In recent days, offers of
help have come from such companies as Anheuser-Busch and Culligan
(water), Lilly, Merck and Wyeth (pharmaceuticals), Nissan and GM (cars
and trucks), Sprint, Nextel and Qwest (communications gear and phone
cards), Johnson & Johnson (toiletries and first aid), Home Depot
and Lowe’s (manpower). Give contract authority to organize these
resources to a project-management firm like Bechtel. Use the
bureaucracies as infantry.
A public role is unavoidable and political leadership is
necessary. But if we’re going to live with First World threats, such as the
destruction of a major port city, let’s deploy the most imaginative First World brains — in the private sector and academia
– to mitigate those threats. Laughably implausible? Look at your TV screen. The
status quo isn’t funny.
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