chapter  10
7 Pages

Contracting Out

WithStuart S. Nagel

The idea of competitive bidding or contracting out of legal services raises some interesting questions. One question is simply whether it is possible for a Democratic Congress to trust a Republican administration with handling competitive bidding. In theory, this could be a highly liberal kind of privatization. A progressive system involves contracting out with contract provisions requiring environmental protection, workplace safety and consumer protection. It also involves contracting out to more than one supplier of the service in order to provide competition. The concept of contracting out normally refers to the reactionary version and therefore it tends to be opposed by liberals. A progressive version of contracting out, though, can be even better for promoting liberal values than government ownership and operation. A recent new form of contracting out is the running of the public schools in a city or school district by a private enterprise firm.