Thursday, September 22, 2005

Profits vs. Care

A lot of people ask "Why not privatize education? Why not let the profit motive improve education" Here's an excellent answer in a Texas Observer article about for-profit nursing homes:

[It's] increasingly difficult for nursing homes to make money. The less scrupulous for-profit nursing homes boost earnings by curtailing staff and services.

“Every dollar you spend on care is one less dollar available for profit,” [Austin lawyer David] Bragg says. “My friends in the nursing home industry tell me that if you’re a very good businessman, you can provide good care and you can make a small profit. But if you provide lousy care, you can make a lot of money.”

The connection to education is obvious: the job of a corporation is, first and foremost, to make a profit. A distant second could be service to customers, caring for the environment, or improving society, but first is always profit. If that means providing less service, so be it. While less service in the airlines or in consumer electronics is merely annoying, in an industry like education or nursing homes, caring cannot come second.

If it does, as the Observer points out in its article entitled "A Death in McAllen," the result can be truly tragic. Profit has its place, but not in schools or nursing homes.


Blogger Superdestroyer said...

Put it in prospective! The billpayer for almost all nursing home patients is the federal government who sets a single price for the operators. Thus, nursing home operators are call price takers (the same as grain farmers and gold miners). The only way for nursing home operators to make a profit is to lower costs. However, private schools are more like restaurants. People are willing to pay different amounts to get different experiences.

Are you really arguing that Sidwell Friends, St Albans, Andover, and National Cathedral (the high schools of the children of the last three Democrat nominees for president)are bad because they are private and are like poorly run nursing homes?

9:45 AM  

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