Sunday, March 07, 2010


In the big budget movies of some years ago Arnold Schwazenegger often played the all-action hero. Today he is the governor of California and is finding that in an economic downturn capitalism isn't so easy to manage. One of the causes of that state's economic  deficit is the growing number of prisoners and the consequent growth of economic deficit in the  state's budget.  "The fact that 9.5% of spending now goes to prisoners while only 5.7% goes to universities - 25 years ago, prisons got 4% and universities 11% - is indeed a harsh indication of California's fall from grace." (TIME, 13 February) Schwazenegger has proposed three different ideas lately to deal with the problem. One is to pay Mexico to build prisons and have US prisoners in them, another is to spend more of the state's budget on prisons and finally he proposes to privatise prisons as a cheaper way of running things. Twist and turn as they may capitalism's politicians are finding that capitalism throws up problems that are incapable of easy Hollywood solutions. RD

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