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Article

Privatization  

Andrew Dobelstein

Privatizing social services has taken a new turn as America enters the 21st century. Although it was once possible to separate private and public social services, the growing trend toward public–private partnerships has made such earlier distinctions meaningless since more and more private social services are supported with public money. There are advantages and disadvantages inherent in the mixing of public and private social services, but perhaps the greatest problem may be the support of a growing trend for all levels of government to dissociate themselves from their longstanding public social service responsibilities.

Article

Neoliberal Managerialism and the Human Services  

Mimi Abramovitz and Jennifer Zelnick

Neoliberalism emerged in the United States in the mid-1970s in response to the second economic crisis of the 20th century. Seeking to undo the New Deal enacted in response to the 1930s economic collapse, neoliberalism redistributes income upward and downsizes the state using tax cuts, budget cuts, privatization, devolution, and reducing the power of social movements. Privatization, a key neoliberal strategy, is typically understood as shifting responsibility for entitlement programs such as Social Security or Medicare from public to the private sector. Managerialism (i.e., the adoption of business principle and practices) refers to operationalization privatization within human service agencies. The growing dominance of managerialist productivity, accountability efficiency, and standardization has redefined the landscape of the human services The troubling impact on service provision, working conditions, and the well-being of human service workers leads us to ask if the social work mission will become a casualty of managerialism.