Alternatives to Privatization: Public Options for Essential Services in the Global South
David McDonald is a professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University. His research relates primarily to the delivery of basic services (such as water, electricity and health care) in the global South, and encompass a broad spectrum of related questions around urbanization, environmental justice, and uneven development. Much of this research has been conducted via the Municipal Services Project which he founded and codirects since 2000. The focus of the project was initially on the impact of privatization, cost recovery, and other neoliberal policy reforms on the delivery of basic service in Southern Africa, but has since broadened its geographical and thematic scope. Their primary focus now is on “alternatives to privatization” in the delivery of basic services, with research partners throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. McDonald holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Toronto. McDonald’s talk will look at theoretical concepts of what does (and does not) constitute a “public” service, and what might make them “successful,” backed up by a comprehensive set of empirical data on public services initiatives in over 40 countries.