Is privatization a solution of sustainable development?
Renowned politicians, economists and multilateral institutions such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and others call on governments in countries suffering from economic crises (like Greece) and in emerging- and developing countries to privatize their state enterprises. The counter-argument to this requirement to obtain financially- or development support is not easy even when putting aside ideologies. The Wien-Holding based in Vienna- Austria, – owned by the City of Vienna -, could serve as a best case: they should provide their knowledge and experience to cities located in emerging and developing countries! Although the Wien-Holding strongly influences the lives of citizens of Vienna and possess social, environmental and economic power, most of their citizen have little idea about Wien-Holding. It has grown to 75 companies (privately organized enterprises), employs nearly 3,000 people and earns annually approximately 0.5 trillion (0.5 billion) in Euro. The parent company holds shares in real estate and is among others in cultural, leisure and event management (museums and theaters) and public transport active. Successful is the Vienna-Holding with its port on the Danube, a logistic hub in the heart of Europe. A privatization of the enterprises is in the opinion of the author makes no sense if Wien-Holding does not exploit their quasi-monopoly over their customers and the private companies: the private industry criticizes the Wien Holding that their enterprises award each others closing out private companies. It is ultimately a matter of how the CEOs of state-owned or municipally-owned enterprises act according to governance and CSR policies and prevent interference by politicians. Today, more people live in the city than in rural areas (particular in emerging and developing countries) and is reinforced by refugees and migrations. The building and maintenance of infrastructures and launching of local community owned enterprises in larger cities are a demanding, challenging and responsible task. Wien-Holding in collaboration with private enterprises, UNIDO and NGOs could support with their knowledge and experience the communities (cities) in emerging and developing countries. The UN Committee on Sustainable Development is open for collaboration in any form!
Doug Saunders, Arrival City – The Final Migration and Our Next World, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, Toronto
Roland Leithenmayr VFV