My Take on Public Projects versus Private Companies:
As this meme suggests, there is no real competition when it comes to public projects versus private companies. The government and its agencies are awful at accomplishing much on a quick timeframe.
There are some notable examples, such as the race to the moon described in The Best and The Brightest or the quick naval adjustments made during World War II, which Morison describes in The Two Ocean War. But, those are definitely the exception rather than the rule.
Additionally, every project that the government involves itself in becomes far more expensive than it needs to be. The above meme does a great job of showing how private companies have lowered the cost of space programs, which had been one of the government’s only successes. Now the government-led space efforts are a costly boondoggle, as are military programs and missions.
Private industry, on the other hand, has a tendency to be much more efficient and effective. It’s successes are too numerous to count, rather than too few and far between to even describe.
Now we are entering an era in which there many examples of “matchups” with public projects versus private companies. The NASA vs SpaceX race to Mars and race to build a spaceship to get to Mars is one of the most prominent examples in the US. Another was Blackwater’s mission efficiency in Iraq (no one it protected was seriously injured) vs the military’s Iraq boondoggle. I’m not one to denigrate the military, but recent experience shows, in my opinion, that we should make more use of contractors. They are more capable and cost effective.
Further examples of the triumph of private industry in cases of public projects versus private companies abound. In The Billionaire Raj, for example, the author makes it clear that capitalism in India has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty that would have remained starving under the previous system of state capitalism. And in Orphans of the Sky, it is a private company rather than the government that sends men on a trip to the outer reaches of the universe.
All of those disparate examples have one main thing in common; they show that when their is a competition between the public and private sectors, the private sector will always win. Even if the topic in question is traditionally a role of government, such as military action or space travel, private industry will win.
That’s because Big Government can’t innovate, whereas private companies can. Bureaucrats only want to expand their own irrelevant fiefdoms within the cogs of government and, perhaps, make a bit off bribery. Companies, on the other hand, operate in search of profits. Innovation, cost-cutting for efficiency’s sake, and better management are the hallmarks of a well-run company. Even a well run government agency can’t really claim that.
Capitalism always beats socialism. Whereas socialism always fails in the long run, capitalism always succeeds. So whether it’s SpaceX or Blackwater, Iraq or Mars, support capitalism in the “public projects versus private companies” struggle. You won’t be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you’re one of those that worship the government, you will be disappointed. Innovation will be slow, if existent at all, and corruption will rule the day rather than profit-seeking. To me, that sounds absolutely awful. Maybe it somehow sounds better to the left, but I doubt it. I think they just haven’t thought their statist ideas through.
So, we conservatives need to make them think those statist ideas through so that they understand the difference between public projects and private companies.
Teach them what you know. Show them that private companies, unless they are full of radicals and donating to groups like BLM, are terrific for society. They innovate. They create stable jobs. Companies build our GDP and have made America an immensely powerful and prosperous country. We are successful because of our companies, especially the most successful ones. Not because of any government programs or mandates or public projects.
As much as we conservatives might be angry with Hollywood or Facebook, just think about the immense “soft power” those companies have given America. Then think about defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman and the hard power the weapons those companies produce and sell give us, and the soft power their export gives. Those companies are a case in point to the difference between public projects versus private companies.
“Why?” Is a question that the theoretical leftist you are debating this topic of public projects versus private companies with might ask. “Why do those companies show anything when thinking about public projects versus private companies?” Because no government program can have the same things said about it except, perhaps, the Marshall Plan. As recounted in The Noblest Triumph, most government-sponsored ideas and plans have not helped America grow or look better. In fact, they have made us worse off and hurt both our hard and soft power and sucked precious resources out of our economy.
So if you are asked about what conservatives think of public projects versus private companies, just respond with the truth. The difference between public projects versus private companies is that corporations and businesses contribute positively to society. The government does not; it harms and sucks resources out of society. That is what conservatives generally think about this issue and what you should say.