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In the last few years, the world's largest financial institutions and pension funds, from Goldman Sachs to Australia's Macquarie Bank, have figured out that old, trustworthy utilities and infrastructure could become reliable cash cows -- supporting the financial system's speculative junk derivatives with the real concrete of highways, water utilities, airports, harbors, and transit systems.
The spiraling collapse of the financial system may only intensify the quest for private investments.
The problem with privatization is that it is interesting in the short term, and there are always politicians willing to sacrifice the long term for a pretty balance sheet. Their short-term decisions bind future governments and municipalities, while the more responsible decision to stay public does not prevent a future government from privatizing. This means that privatization takes place even if politicians who favor it are only in power once in a while. The way back is very costly.