By Leon J Williams
The following is about the nationalised post service in the UK which is in the process of being privatised:
Workers who had not realised how this was done in the Post Office are now discovering with a shock that it is the basis on which coal, railways, electricity, etc. are going to be run. Annual Reports called “Post Office Commercial Accounts,” show how successful the Post Office has been as a profit maker. Except during one or two years after the last war when charges did not keep pace with rising costs, it always shows a surplus after interest has already been charged on the capital provided by the Government. In 1938-9, after charging £6,764,000 interest on capital, there was a net surplus of £10,255,000. During the war the surplus rose enormously. In a period of 35 years since 1912 the interest charges have totalled about £150 millions and the net surplus about £400 millions.
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The above example has been highlighted to put aside the issue of whether nationalisation does or can work.
Ultimately the choice of nationalisation or privatisation comes down to a more philosophical and ideological approach.
A) Do you want to encourage business and entrepreneurship through the incentive of getting rich for the owner(s).
B) Do you want to create profit for reallocation to other essential services (such as scientific research, transport, health & education).