The Political Economy of Public-Private Partnerships in Canada
PPPs/P3s have become all the rage amongst every level of government in Canada in recent years. Proponents claim P3s reduce the costs of building and operating public projects and services,that projects and services are delivered more efficiently through the P3 model, so that in the end taxpayers are better off economically and as consumers of public goods. This book tests all of these claims, and more, finding them mostly empty, ideological assertions. Through an exhaustive series of case studies of P3s in Canada – from schools, bridges and water treatment plants to social services and hospital food – this book finds that most P3s are more costly to build and finance, provide poorer quality services and are less accessible than if they were built and operated by public servants. Moreover, many essential services are less accountable to citizens when private corporations are involved.
Challenging traditional notions of development, these essays critically examine bottom-up, community economic development strategies in a wide variety of contexts: as a means of improving lives in northern, rural and inner-city settings; shaped and driven by women and by Aboriginal people; aimed at employment creation for the most marginalized. most authors have employed a participatory research methodology. The essays are the product of a broader, three-year community-university research collaboration with a focus on the strengths and difficulties of participatory, capacity-building strategies for those marginalized by the competitive, profit-seeking forces of capitalism. no easy answers are offered, but many exciting initiatives with great potential are described and critically evaluated.
Towards a Theory of Community Economic Development
Growing worldwide interest in community economic development has led to a blossoming of “how to” manuals,as well as analyses of co-operatives, development corporations, gender, financing, etc. Yet in all this discussion very little is said about the basic objective of CED: Is it designed to fill holes left by capitalism or is it intended to replace it? There is equally little on a theory of CED. This book draws on several disciplines–particularly economics, sociology and political studies–to assess the state of CED theory and to identify implicit issues for building that theory. It emphasizes the necessity to draw theoretical insights from each discipline, in the process howing the efficacy of interdisciplinary approaches. It concludes with a discussion of both future theoretical directions and of what existing theory has to say about achieving a transformative CED.
Budgeting as if People Mattered
Alternative budgets are becoming an increasingly popular form of political action both in Canada and internationally. They are a means of advancing an alternative social and economic perspective to the neo-conservative agenda of slashing social services, reducing the role of the government and cutting taxes for the rich, all in the name of “necessity.” Alternative budgets demonstrate that there really are more enlightened alternatives which are, at the same time, fiscally responsible. They show that budgets can be pro-poor, pro-women and pro-environment. They can also represent an important form of democratic activity as ordinary people are encouraged to participate and contribute. This book outlines the basics of budgeting, examines both the technical and the political content of budgets, and how balanced budget legislation imposes fiscal constraints on governments.