industryterm:social services

  • Privatise child protection services, Department for Education proposes

    The power to take children away from their families could be privatised along with other child protection services under controversial plans the government has quietly announced.

    The proposal from Michael Gove’s Department for Education (DfE) to permit the outsourcing of children’s social services to companies such as G4S and Serco has alarmed experts. They say profit-making companies should not be in charge of such sensitive family matters, and warn that the introduction of the profit motive into child protection may distort the decision-making process.

    #privatisation #ppp

  • Wall Street swindles, not pensions, behind financial crisis in Detroit and other US cities - World Socialist Web Site

    The political establishment and the media have relentlessly promoted the myth that the crisis in Detroit and in cities across the US is a product of overgenerous spending on social services and benefits, with public employee pension liabilities cited as the main culprit.

    In reality, the driving force behind the Detroit bankruptcy has been a predatory interest rate swap foisted on the city by Wall Street bankers, which was signed by former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2005. Scores of states, municipalities, school districts and various other public entities entered into similar swap contracts over the past decade. These deals have enabled the world’s most powerful banking houses to systematically plunder public budgets across the nation, creating the conditions for the rising wave of municipal bankruptcies.

    #détroit #étatsunis #crise_financière #wall_street

  • danah boyd | apophenia » meandering thoughts on the #NSA scandal

    On the flipside, I’m always astonished by how normative surveillance is in poverty-stricken communities. Surveillance is common place and many poor people are used to having to fork over tremendous amounts of personal information to get social services. And, in communities defined by practices like “stop and frisk,” the idea of not being watched and targeted is completely alien. So when these groups find out that the State is monitoring mediated interactions, why should they be surprised? Why should they react? From their perspective, it’s just another tool for the State to do what they’ve always been doing, only perhaps without the direct costs to dignity that many of these people face on a regular basis.



    The debts caused by arms sales were often a result of corrupt deals between government officials but are being paid for by ordinary people facing savage cuts in social services.

    Investigations of an arms deal signed by Portugal in 2004 to buy two submarines for one billion euros, agreed by then-prime minister Manuel Barroso (now President of the EU Commission) have identified more than a dozen suspicious brokerage and consulting agreements that cost Portugal at least €34 million. Up to eight arms deals signed by the Greek government since the late 1990s are being investigated by judicial authorities for possible illegal bribes and kickbacks to state officials and politicians.

    According to the Economist, German businesses were reckoned in 1999 to pay “more than $3 billion a year all told to win contracts abroad”. In the international arms trade, “probably the world’s dirtiest legitimate business, one estimate reckons that roughly $2.5 billion a year is paid in bribes, nearly a tenth of turnover”.

    In 2011, German prosecutors succeeded in convicting two former managers of Ferrostaal for paying €62 million in bribes to key Greek and Portuguese officials in connection with the submarine deals.142 At the time Ferrostaal explicitly denied ever having paid bribes for the deals.143 The two former Ferrostaal managers were given quite lenient sentences, while Ferrostaal itself was fined €140 million for ‘obtaining an economic advantage’ through its two employees.

    Up to eight arms deals signed by the Greek government since
    the late 1990s are being investigated by judicial authorities
    for possible illegal bribes and kickbacks to state officials and
    politicians, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

    Among these is the purchase of US-made Patriot missiles and
    the German submarine deal. “Investigators are probing bank
    accounts and offshore companies in a bid to trace millions of
    euros received by senior state officials as sweeteners for the
    arms deals. Kathimerini understands that two cases involve
    possible offenses committed by two defense ministers who
    served before 2006.” Suspicious payments were reportedly
    made via Austria, the Caribbean, Liberia and Cyprus.

    Former defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, his wife and
    17 others are to stand trial, from April 2013, for kickbacks
    from arms purchases. Tsochatzopoulos, a founding member
    of the PASOK socialist party, is alleged to have pocketed €20
    million in kickbacks between 1998 and 2001, including €8 million from Ferrostaal in the submarine deal.

    The submarine corruption scandals are not limited to Greece
    and Portugal. Questionable payments were also involved
    in the sale of German submarines to South Korea....

    Another case under scrutiny has been the €1.7 billion sale of
    170 Leopard tanks to Greece by Kassel-based KMW, which
    denied having paid bribes for the deal.161 The refusal of cooperation from the Virgin Islands, a key link in the money trail,
    has stymied this investigation however.

    Corruption in Greece is frequently singled out as a cause
    for waste but at the same time companies like Ferrostaal
    and Siemens are pioneers in the practice. A big part of our
    defence spending is bound up with bribes, black money
    that funds the [mainstream] political class in a nation
    where governments have got away with it by long playing
    on peoples’ fears.”16

  • Europe plunging into recession

    Europe plunging into recession
    By Stefan Steinberg
    4 January 2012

    2011 was a year of austerity for Europe. At the behest of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, stringent programs imposing cuts in wages, pensions and social services, combined with the decimation of jobs, were introduced by governments across the continent.

    These austerity measures, designed to pay for massive bailouts of the banks following the financial crash of 2008, are now plunging Europe into new economic and social turmoil. This is confirmed by the most recent economic figures, which indicate that 2012 will be a year of renewed recession in Europe.

    Europe Récession Crisefinancière Dette