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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #219 - Public-Private Partnerships: No concessions for green capitalism (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:25:26 +0200


The "public order", all contracts awarded by the State and local authorities for the provision of goods, equipment, public works and service is the gateway to green capitalism, a new capital at pomp expense of people and the environment. ---- Public procurement is divided into two families. First, a code governing public procurement. The benefit is defined in time and space with a price control. The public authority retains control over the delivery, monitoring its implementation and funding. The second family is the public service delegation (PSD), subdivided into party management, leasing and concession. This last drift "public private partnership" (PPP) where the public authority delegates some - if not all - of the service, so its financing, its definition and its control. ---- The story of a delegation ---- The work of the Canal du Midi in the seventeenth century were the first example of co-financing state / private.

From the Second Empire, State and local governments have general contracts with companies to co-manage or infrastructure services including water and rail or river. The form used is the delegation of public service, either in its leasing, either in its concessive. The difference between these two types of contract lies in its method of financing. In the first, the public retains control of the funding, while in the second, it is supported partially or fully by the private sector. But in all cases, the State retains control of work - or control - hence the design. In 2004, an order for large projects created a partnership agreement, also known as PPP. If this type of contract is based on the concessive way, it differs greatly: the design and much of the funding to go private. A clause may introduce a condition of securing the repayment profitability of private investment, paid for by public money. PPPs have been developed under the pressure of large groups of public works to circumvent the law fir 1993 - completed by the Barnier law of 1995 - which limits the duration of DSP twenty years out special permission. This provision, new in France but experienced in countries like Brazil, is used in areas such as hospitals, high speed lines or airports.

Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Future airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes, near Nantes, is shown. The contract for the construction and management of the airport is at least curious and legality may be questioned. Officially under way concessive, it introduces specific provisions in PPP. And private interests retained concessive contract - including a part of the design is the public - while transferring financial risks logically dependent, to the public. It also allows a concession period of 55 years. A performance clause guarantees a 12% return to shareholders Vinci if traffic forecasts made by the public order and ensuring the economic balance of the contract are not at the rendezvous. This clause will also apply if the actual cost exceeds the initial amounts and if the financial return does not compensate. Or constructions comparable airports are often reached more than 1.5 billion euros, while the estimates for the project stopped at 556 million in 2010! In addition, the project is too insufficient account of the costs incurred by the Grenelle laws imposing compensate for the destruction of wetlands by a double surface transformed into wetland. This is the jackpot Vinci!

Sustainable development?

This great project, also a harmful ecological and social, could be financed through a single procurement. It would have been necessary to divide the construction and management. The advantage of building in public procurement is twofold. Project management is totally public and is funded by the latter on equity or as a loan negotiated at a rate of 4 to 6%! The elected government should not be very sure of the profitability of their beautiful "gadget" to let this gift Vinci. But the gifts do not stop there! In general, private companies do not invest their own funds but also by bank loans, the rate of 4 to 6% enrolled in their trading accounts between 8 and 10%. Still in the operating account, these private companies report their income taxes at the statutory rate of 33% while the average rate of CAC40 companies is more on the order of 24%. This can be verified by a serious audit of the contract and future operating accounts. But too late, the damage will be done!

Natural capital?

This example helps to explain why so many gigantic projects, costly and unnecessary, airports or high-speed lines are imposed on the population - and therefore taxpayers - only for corporate interests. It would be easy to continue critical examples in all public services with an environmental impact such as water, energy, etc. Large groups of BTP obviously prefer profitability for shareholders to ecological and social.

Capitalism after its neoliberal phase, now wants to continue its regeneration through the development of the green economy: the concept of "sustainable development" says reconcile the economy, growth, and social environment through the use of new technologies. Noting the partial ineffectiveness of "sustainable development" at the Rio +20 Conference - notably under the impetus of the Brazilian state - capitalism is looking for a new growth cycle.

Assessment tools are already there: the division of the United Nations Statistics has developed a system of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA). Changes in stocks of "natural capital" and would be valued in monetary terms and incorporated into the national accounts. In this way, capitalism, under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme, organizes the global commodification of nature by giving a value to any environment capitalist tangible or intangible. This is a new battle to fight! For a socially and ecologically just for the benefit of people and their environment we must nip in the bud what capitalism claiming green!

Mickaël (AL Nantes)
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