Regulation, Institutions and Community
Chapter 5: Collective interests between public and private interests: From pragmatism to ethic?
Chapters 3 and 4 have highlighted the economic rationality underpinning public–private partnerships/Private Finance Initiatives (PPPs/PFIs). Public procurement, competition and risk transfer featured predominantly in Chapter 3 and the limitations of these led us to highlight a narrative of complexity, innovation and partnering. Chapter 4 showed that accountability has been structured around expertise, self-interests and extended regulation. In both chapters, value for money (VfM) provided a key standard for coordinating the relationships between public authorities and individuals based on the notion of taxpayers’ money. Due to the amounts of taxpayers’ money at stake in PPPs/PFIs, spending needs to be accounted for and organised in ways acceptable in a given society. However, PPPs/PFIs have collective and social dimensions other than organising how taxpayers’ money is used, for how long and to the benefit of which private contractors. They also address issues of poor, lacking or otherwise unsatisfying provision of public infrastructures and services such as transportation, hospitals, prisons or schools. They try to harness wider benefits for the community (in)directly. Pushed one step further, PPPs/PFIs may even organise projects so that citizens’ potential to develop their identities can be supported thanks to the infrastructures and services provided in the context of the communities that they serve.
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