Social Finance

by Graham H. Cox last modified 2016-09-16T17:44:53-04:00
Resources for the growing critique of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and other social finance vehicles of private investment for social enterprise.

Social impact bonds: the next horizon of privatization | Sarah Ryan & Margot Young

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Jun 19, 2018 02:31 PM
"This paper shows how Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) serve to expand privatization in areas of social reproduction and care work. SIBs extend neoliberalism and austerity in the social care sector through the financialization of care work. They open these domains as a new frontier for investment markets, creating inequity for already marginalized groups. The paper concludes with an overview of the SIB landscape in Canada and explores its possibilities for growth." The authors are both researchers at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Alternative to private finance of the welfare state | Dexter Whitfield

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Sep 14, 2015 09:50 AM
The first detailed critical analysis of the growing global market in social impact bond projects and reveals that they are the latest new ‘buy-now-pay-later’ scheme to privatise public services and the welfare state. Details 30 financial and public policy flaws in these projects. Proposes an alternative strategy consisting of government and public sector plans for early intervention and prevention; Public Service Innovation and Improvement Plans at departmental or service level; and trade union/community alliances to develop strategies and scope for transnational action.

The New Health and Social Care Economy | Dexter Whitfield

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Jul 06, 2015 11:07 AM
This ground-breaking report puts the health and social care sector at the centre of importance to achieve sustainable economic growth. Commissioned by New Directions, the definitive analysis covers Sefton MBC, Liverpool and Greater Manchester City Regions and the North West regional economy. It demonstrates the economic importance of the health and social care economy; sets out the terrain on which the integration of health and social care must take place including privatisation, inequalities, austerity, demographic change and quality jobs; and makes local and national 40 recommendations.

New approach is possible and needed for social policy in Alberta

by Barret Weber of the Parkland Institute — last modified Aug 20, 2015 08:54 AM
A new study by the Parkland Institute details the devastation to Alberta's social services sector following decades of experimentation by the provincial Tories. The main goal of many of these initiatives was to cut government spending on social welfare and offload provision to anyone willing to take them on – for-profit and not-for-profit organizations alike.

As corporate charity replaces social programs, where are governments? | Stephen Kimber

by Graham H. Cox — last modified May 28, 2015 02:04 PM
"Far be it from me to suggest corporations shouldn't show social responsibility or provide community benefits. They should. But it is worth asking why private companies seem able to do what our governments no longer can. And to wonder whether we really want decisions about important social concerns -- who deserves financial help with their education, which among the many important and needy social service providers, should get inevitably scarce funds -- turned into bread-and-circuses online popularity contests and corporate marketing campaigns masking as charity?"

The Wall Street Takeover of Charity | ProPublica

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Dec 10, 2014 12:55 PM
"The idea of the funds was to make it easier for individuals to give to charity. People could drop money into the account during flush times, and donate as they see fit, not in a panicked rush to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for contributions. So far, this has turned out to be a bad deal for society."

City Places Investors Ahead of Kids With Social Impact Bonds

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Nov 04, 2014 05:16 PM
"If there’s one thing we know about Wall Street, it’s that most Wall Street firms are not in the business of philanthropy. Yet the city is about to enter into a $30 million agreement with several Wall Street lenders to finance an early education program that from all appearances will allow banks to profit off the educational success of children with almost no risk to their own bottom lines."

Social impact bonds: cleared for landing in British Columbia | CUPE

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Mar 24, 2014 02:15 PM
"Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) represent a new and particularly disruptive form of social service privatization that bears resemblance to the introduction of public private partnerships for the development of hard infrastructure. Social impact bonds pose a major risk to the preservation of valuable public services. Based on this detailed critique, unions and non-profit organizations involved in the delivery of services to people must oppose them. Early steps have been taken to introduce SIBS to Canada and a number of provinces. Read this report to learn the recent history of social impact bonds and how they have been used in other jurisdictions such as United Kingdom, New York and Utah. The repot looks at the structure of social impact bonds and their role in co-opting not-for-profit organizations into a position of supporting a for-profit model of service delivery. It examines the growing literature on SIBs that has arisen since their introduction and draws attention to host of concerns relating to their governance systems, trends in bond financing and problems with determining appropriate methods of evaluating their outcomes."

New flaws emerge with Social Impact Bonds privatization schemes | NUPGE

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Feb 07, 2014 02:32 PM
"A recent example is the investment by Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest investment banks in the world, into two Social Impact Bond projects. To get Goldman Sachs to put money into Social Impact Bonds, charities had to guarantee their investment. “With Social Impact Bonds, if a project fails, charitable donations will go to a company that made $7.9 billion in 2012,” said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. “That's more than bad policy; it's obscene.” Tax credits are also being proposed as a way to subsidize investment in Social Impact Bonds. The British government is expected to introduce them this year and there's been support from some Social Impact Bond boosters in Canada. "

Flaws in the Social Impact Bond/Pay for Success Craze | Jon Pratt

by Graham H. Cox — last modified May 14, 2013 12:46 PM
"However, there are actually no proposed special service innovations for the work supported by the SIBs. Whether it is reducing recidivism, increasing job retention, or preventing homelessness, each service is described as applying effective methods considered current best practices in their field—all publicly known. Will SIB-financed services produce improved outcomes through the enhanced discipline that’s derived from their participation in the SIB process, with its mandate to pay only for results? It’s an aspiration, to be sure, but there is no evidence to back it up. This high-stakes carrot-and-stick approach is not unlike the expectations inherent to the “No Child Left Behind” education legislation, which had its own heavyweight marketing promotion before dismal unintended consequences set in, including cheating scandals by pressured school administrators throughout the United States."

NS Throne Speech Announces Public-Private Partnerships In Social Sector | Social Impact Bonds | HMC

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Apr 16, 2013 01:46 PM
"Danny Cavanagh, President of CUPE Nova Scotia, is not pleased. "Why can't we provide these services ourselves?" Cavanagh wonders. "Instead of handing somebody a profit, we can probably do more, and do a better job, rather than line somebody's pockets and keep shareholders happy." "It's privatizing social services through the backdoor,” Cavanagh argues. “It's an opportunity for a bank or a huge multinational corporation to get through the door.” "

Social impact bonds: The anti-philanthropy | David Macdonald

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Feb 13, 2013 02:55 PM
So what is a “Social Impact Bond”? Well the idea is that a banker or foundation decides to fund a particular service. When (you’ll see why not “if” below) the program hits its goals, then the government pays the funder back all they invested and includes a profit margin of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 7%-15% on top.

Social Impact Bonds: The Next Stage of Casino Capitalism

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Jul 27, 2015 05:53 PM
Social Impact Bonds come from the same dark place in the financial world as complex derivatives, the trading of which lead to the great financial crisis. They are a way for the great gamblers of financial markets to place bets on "success," in this case betting on the delivery of social services on the cheap. It is a disaster in the making for anyone who actually needs support.
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