The Corporate Global Privatizing Complex


Most folks are versed in (or at least have heard of) terms like “military industrial complex,” “factory farms” or even “education industrial complex” (a phrase used by educator Troy Grant and others). I believe these terms are still useful for a qualitative description of some of the facets of what we are witnessing education reform today. One-size-fits-all testing and curricula harken back to the days of industry and efficiency models. Indeed, as I have cited myself in other papers, how often we treat schools and children as if they were concentrated feed lots on a factory farm. And the military industrial complex reveals the powerful influence of “lawyers, guns, and money” (to quote Warren Zevon) in national and international geo-political and economic policies. If current policies are not grounded in solid pedagogical or developmental research, facts, or even a record of success…then WHY are such education policies being pushed faster, harder, and on larger scales? This framework presented here perhaps answers that question.

Current and future education reforms allude to something different happening in 2014(building on decades of groundwork). We are living in a historical moment in which previous paradigms are shifting beneath our feet, though certain traits may be passed along. We are a POST industrial world. With the influx of technology, uses and abuses of “big data”, and of economic policies of last few decades (circa Reagan through the present) favoring private corporate interests, the “industrial complex” paradigm is taking on a new face. I’d like to refer to this new phenomena and the Corporate Global Privatizing Complex (CGPC).

I have framed out a chart of the key areas in which CGPC is largely apparent, and leading the way. The goal of conducting this brief broad sweeping analysis to is demonstrate how and why education policy is what it is. The landscape of public education is shifting precisely because it is being orchestrated by the same people using the same techniques and are moving toward the same goals.

In other words, education reform (aka privatizing public education) does not exist in isolation. Education is the cornerstone of the larger global architecture reframing the production of, ownership of, and distribution of basic social services (national security, food security, and right to public education… intellectual security?) Note: One might easily add healthcare, environmental concerns, water and other basic human needs or services to this as well. I just focused on these basic four to exemplify how it all fits together.

Corporate Global Privatizing Complex

Click HERE to view the PDF chart: Corporate Global Privatizing Complex

What they all say (“Innovation” equals profits)

 Prison “investors see this as an opportunity. This is a potentially untapped market that will have very strong demand.”

According to NextUp Research, the research arm of Global Silicon Valley Corp., the e-learning market in the United States is expected to grow to $6.8 billion by 2015, up from $2.9 billion in 2010.

For Monsanto, “feeding the world is hugely profitable.”

In 2007, the number of Blackwater’s federal contracts, according to Erik Prince: “More than 50” with a total value in 2006 of all contracts at 1 billion.

Who (or what) do the key players in a Corporate Global Privatizing Complex all share in common?

1) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) leading the charge for crafting legislation that decimates public funding for public services and places public services into private (for profit) corporate hands.

2) Bill Gates—a hand in EVERY pie on the chart.

3) They’re actually connected to one another—notice how they conduct business and donate directly with one another:

Blackwater sold their clandestine intelligence services to the multinational Monsanto.

The purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million was made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates funds fast food franchises that buy and sell from factory farms and GMO products.

Gates donated 2.2 MILL to GEO.

Monsanto funds charter schools: and Teach For America.

GATES spend millions funding McCharter chains and is the largest donor to (progenitor of) Common Core and online testing/curriculum.

Pearson contracts with the military.

Pearson has had some questionable (and profitable) contracts dealing with Homeland Security going back to 2003.

The Council on Foreign Relations promotes the need for national standards as a need for national security, and that student testing data should be shared with Department of Defense for “security” purposes.

Erik Prince is the founder of private military corporation Blackwater USA. Prince is a former Navy Seal and a “billionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan  Republican  family.

His sister is Betsy Devos. The DEVOS family invests large sums of monies into privatizing education through charter schools and vouchers.

Monsanto creates more than genetically modified foods. The company also formerly manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDTPCBsAgent Orange, Monsanto’s Central Research Department began to conduct research for the Manhattan Project under contract from the US government. Monsanto assisted in the development of the first nuclear weapons.

4) The corporations identified on this chart are monopolies

Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed.

Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.”

Pearson is the world’s largest education company.

The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) is the world’s leading provider of correctional, detention, and community reentry services.

5) Each of these giant monopolies use lobbying and pressure via ALEC legislation to get government contracts to provide privately managed “public” services or needs, using our tax payer dollars to earn them billions of dollars and promote human suffering.

6) THEIR POLICIES AND PRACTICES DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD TO THE PEOPLE OF OUR COMMUNITIES. Their actions to “innovate” not only fall short of their promises…they have the exact opposite effect.


Published by educationalchemy

Morna McDermott has been an educator for over twenty years in both k-12 and post secondary classrooms. She received her doctorate in education, with a dissertation focus on arts-based educational research, from The University of Virginia in 2001. Morna's teaching, scholarship, and activism center around the ways in which creativity, art, social justice, and democracy can transform education and empower communities. She is currently a Professor of Education at Towson University.

8 thoughts on “The Corporate Global Privatizing Complex

  1. Didnt see it mentioned here, but Bill Gates also has shares in private prison corporations…. as well as in BigPharma and BigFood (processing, not growing, I mean)

  2. More evidence of what you write about here may be found in “Hot Coffee: Is Justice Being Served?”—a documentary that reveals what REALLY happened the the spilled hot-coffee McDonald case. Not the lies and hype most Americans heard in the corporate media.

    What happened to the victim in this court case is being replicated in the corporate manufactured crises of public education. What happened to her is happening across the country to other victims we never hear about and if we do hear about them, we usually only hear the corporate managed campaign to demonize the victim.

    Here’s the full documentary:

    Watch this documentary and you will discover how deep the computerization of the so-called free press has become. Instead, what we have is a propaganda machine that would have made Mao Tzedong proud and an avid student to learn how to do it better.

  3. Those that argue publicly for privatization almost always stress the “incipient waste and inefficiency” in government. They then point to big, glaring errors committed by the target agency as proof of their hypothesis. They imply, usually by default at how much more efficient and less wasteful their particular corporate entity is than government. It’s as if they never looked into the failures of Wall Street firms, Enron, Halliburton, BP, Exxon and scores of highly sophisticated corporations whose mistakes have been so large as to poison entire eco-systems and start wars. The noble “Job Creators” have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, but will the average working stiff ever ask them? Probably not. Any human endeavor is subject to mistakes. It’s the way we’ve operated since leaving Africa on two legs. It’s when closely held vested interests go looking for things in government they can do better (read: more profitably) that people need to begin to worry.

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