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Wed May 29, 2013, 10:28 AM

New York City Public Libraries Attack Alert – Privatizing Prized Locations and Cutting Budget by 35%

from Naked Capitalism:

Nathan Tankus: New York City Public Libraries Attack Alert – Privatizing Prized Locations and Cutting Budget by 35%

Libraries (along with post offices) have been a central part of urban planning for over a century. Orthodox urban economics is all about taking a central urban area as given, and then calculating “optimal” rental values in the areas surrounding this center. Of course, the center of an urban area isn’t “given” or naturally occurring; they are designed and planned. Public facilities such as libraries helped generate central areas. In this context it is no coincidence wealthy benefactors such as Andrew Carnegie took interest in planning and constructing public libraries (Van Slyck 1991). The areas around public libraries gained customers and “locational rent” (in the language of the seminal economic geographer Von Thünen). Even though these institutions have become less important for land values and foot traffic, their presence helped generate these neighborhoods.

Now that these buildings have “done their jobs” (in FIRE sector terms) they can do one more thing for finance and real estate: be killed for private sector fun and profit. This is precisely what is taking place in New York City. The problem for FIRE is getting these privatizations to happen. Luckily for them, the financial crisis solved this problem. By generating budget shortfalls for state and local governments, the financial crisis has given people like mayor Bloomberg the opportunity to make cuts to popular social services like libraries. Why is FIRE interested in budget cuts? Because they reduce money needed for maintenance and thus make the library system appear too large for the city to handle (they also reduce public services, thus making them less popular). The Brooklyn Public Library, for example, has “a $230 million backlog of deferred maintenance, barely dented by the $15 million annual allotment of capital funding.”

Our billionaire Mayor is now trying to deliver a death blow to the public library system. In his budget for Fiscal year 2014 “the Administration is proposing a $193 million subsidy for the systems, which is a 35 percent reduction from the Fiscal 2013 Adopted Budget.” Unsurprisingly, the number one impact highlighted by the mayor is “branch closings”. According to Albor Ruiz writing in the New York Daily News, “More than 60 libraries will have to close their doors and there will be massive layoffs resulting in disastrous cuts to hours and services.” At this point in the negotiations, the final cuts may end up being somewhat less severe. However even a cut half or a third as large as this one would be devastating. .................(more)

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/nathan-tankus-new-york-city-public-libraries-attack-alert-privatizing-prized-locations-and-cutting-budget-by-35.html#US82khP2woIrJg7D.99

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Reply New York City Public Libraries Attack Alert – Privatizing Prized Locations and Cutting Budget by 35% (Original post)
marmar May 2013 OP
byeya May 2013 #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2013, 11:47 AM

1. Public education and free libraries are part of the foundation of the USA. Naturally the $$$boys


want to take them down the road of privatization, strip them of their assets, and leave the husks for what's left of the public sector to clean up.
It's a disgrace.
Bloomberg is worse than a disgrace.

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