"Mexico Oil Privatization Pays Off WIth Billion-Barrel Find" is the headline over a Bloomberg News article reporting on a new billion-barrel find in an offshore field, "possible only after the government ended the monopoly of state-run Petroleos Mexicanos."
Bloomberg reports, "Mexico opened up to exploration by private companies in an effort to slow and eventually reverse the decline in its oil production."
It looks as if there is widespread agreement that individuals motivated by profit do a better job at exploring for and producing oil than government employees do. It'd be interesting to think about what activities other than oil exploration fall into that category and might also be contracted out to private firms with improved results. Operating subway systems? Educating students? Or, conversely, are there other tasks that government employees do better and should be reserved to them?