This book examines one of the most high-profile municipal privatizations—the privatization of New York City’s Central Park. The fiscal crisis of the 1970s established the political and cultural opening for privatizations, which were justified on the basis of increasing efficiency. However, as Cooke demonstrates, these justifications were deliberately blind to the social and economic implication of privatization. This fascinating account moves beyond the hackneyed pro- versus anti-privatization debate by reconceptualizing the park’s privatization as an ensemble of contradictory class effects. It also highlights the immense theoretical and policy space for radically reconsidering and rethinking privatization processes in both the municipal and global contexts.
1. Municipal Privatization: An Introduction 1.1 Institutional Forms and Conceptions of Privatization 1.2 New York City’s Privatization Experience During the 1990s 2. The Evolution of the Municipal Privatization Discourse 2.1 The Development of a Theory of Privatization 2.2 A Theory Comes of Age: The 1970s Watershed and Urban Fiscal Crisis 2.3 The Reagan Years 2.4 The 1990s: Reinventing Government 2.5 The Heterodox Terrain of the Privatization Discourse: the 1970s and Early 1980s 2.6 Retrenchment and the Heterodox Discourse of the 1980s 2.7 The Mid- to Late 1980s: Entrepreneurial Government 2.8 The 1990s: Neoliberalism and Globalization 2.9 Critiquing the Discourse: Assessing Methodology and Content 3. A Class Approach to Municipal Privatization 3.1 The Class Process, Classes, and the Subsumed Class Process 3.2 Overdetermination 3.3 The Implications of a Class Approach to Municipal Privatization. Appendix: Post-Privatization Wage Outcomes 4. A Class Analysis of Central Park’s Privatization 4.1 The Historical Backdrop to Central Park’s Privatization 4.2 A Class Analytic Interpretation of Central Park’s Privatization 4.3 Conceptualizing the Central Park Commodity 4.4 The Central Park Commodity’s Production 4.5 A Class Analytic Model of the Central Park Conservancy. Appendix: Estimating the Central Park Commodity’s Cost Price 5. The Class Analytic Implications of Central Park’s Privatization 5.1 Beyond Efficiency and Cost 5.2 The Central Park Conservancy’s Fundraising and the Capitalist Sector 5.3 The Central Park Conservancy’s Fundraising and the Non-profit Sector 5.4 Central Park’s Privatization and Independent and Communist Producers 5.5 Municipal Privatizations as Ensembles 6. Rethinking Municipal Privatization 6.1 Non-Progressive Municipal Privatizations 6.2 Non-Capitalist Enterprises and their Viability in the Context of Municipal Privatization 6.3 Progressive Municipal Privatizations: Democratic Enterprise Formation 6.4 The Policy Merits of Progressive Municipal Privatizations 6.5 Rethinking Municipal Privatization on the Left 7. Rethinking the Privatization of State-Owned Enterprises 7.1 The Global Privatization Movement 7.2 The Motives for Privatizations 7.3 Methods of Divestiture 7.4 What Privatizations of State-Owned Enterprises have done and not done: a Class Analytic Interpretation 7.5 Theorizing Progressive Privatizations Involving State-Owned Enterprises 7.6 The Policy Implications of Progressive Privatizations