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Privatization (or privatisation in British English) can mean different things including moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heavily regulated private company or industry becomes less regulated. Government functions and services may also be privatised (which may also be known as "franchising" or "out-sourcing"); in this case, private entities are tasked with the implementation of government programs or performance of government services that had previously been the purview of state-run agencies. Some examples include revenue collection, law enforcement, water supply, and prison management.
Another definition is the purchase of all outstanding shares of a publicly traded company by private investors, or the sale of a state-owned enterprise or municipally owned corporation to private investors. In the case of a for-profit company, the shares are then no longer traded at a stock exchange, as the company became private through private equity; in the case the partial or full sale of a state-owned enterprise or municipally owned corporation to private owners shares may be traded in the public market for the first time, or for the first time since an enterprise's previous nationalization. The second such type of privatization is the demutualization of a mutual organization, cooperative, or public-private partnership in order to form a joint-stock company.
The Economist magazine introduced the term "privatisation" (alternatively "privatisation" or "reprivatisation" after the German Reprivatisierung) during the 1930s when it covered Nazi Germany's economic policy.It is not clear if the magazine coincidentally invented the word in English or if the term is a loanword from the same expression in German, where it has been in use since the 19th century.
The word privatization may mean different things depending on the context in which it is used. It can mean moving something from the public sphere into the private sphere, but it may also be used to describe something that was always private, but heavily regulated, which becomes less regulated through a process of deregulation. The term may also be used descriptively for something that has always been private, but could be public in other jurisdictions.
There are also private entities that may perform public functions. These entities could also be described as privatized. Privatization may mean the government sells state-owned businesses to private interests, but it may also be discussed in the context of the privatization of services or government functions, where private entities are tasked with the implementation of government programs or performance of government services. Gillian E. Metzger has written that: "Private entities [in the US] provide a vast array of social services for the government; administer core aspects of government programs; and perform tasks that appear quintessentially governmental, such as promulgating standards or regulating third-party activities." Metzger mentions an expansion of privatization that includes health and welfare programs, public education, and prisons.
The history of privatization dates from Ancient Greece, when governments contracted out almost everything to the private sector.In the Roman Republic private individuals and companies performed the majority of services including tax collection (tax farming), army supplies (military contractors), religious sacrifices and construction. However, the Roman Empire also created state-owned enterprises—for example, much of the grain was eventually produced on estates owned by the Emperor. David Parker and David S. Saal suggest that the cost of bureaucracy was one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire.
Perhaps one of the first ideological movements towards privatization came during China's golden age of the Han Dynasty. Taoism came into prominence for the first time at a state level, and it advocated the laissez-faire principle of Wu wei (無為), literally meaning "do nothing".The rulers were counseled by the Taoist clergy that a strong ruler was virtually invisible.
During the Renaissance, most of Europe was still by and large following the feudal economic model. By contrast, the Ming dynasty in China began once more to practice privatization, especially with regards to their manufacturing industries. This was a reversal of the earlier Song dynasty policies, which had themselves overturned earlier policies in favor of more rigorous state control.
In Britain, the privatization of common lands is referred to as enclosure (in Scotland as the Lowland Clearances and the Highland Clearances). Significant privatizations of this nature occurred from 1760 to 1820, preceding the industrial revolution in that country.
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The first mass privatization of state property occurred in Nazi Germany between 1933–1937: "It is a fact that the government of the National Socialist Party sold off public ownership in several state-owned firms in the middle of the 1930s. The firms belonged to a wide range of sectors: steel, mining, banking, local public utilities, shipyard, ship-lines, railways, etc. In addition to this, delivery of some public services produced by public administrations prior to the 1930s, especially social services and services related to work, was transferred to the private sector, mainly to several organizations within the Nazi Party."
Great Britain privatized its steel industry in the 1950s, and the West German government embarked on large-scale privatization, including sale of the majority stake in Volkswagen to small investors in public share offerings in 1961.However, it was in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States that privatization gained worldwide momentum. Notable privatization attempts in the UK included privatization of Britoil (1982), Amersham International PLC (1982), British Telecom (1984), Sealink ferries (1984), British Petroleum (gradually privatized between 1979 and 1987), British Aerospace (1985 to 1987), British Gas (1986), Rolls-Royce (1987), Rover Group (formerly British Leyland, 1988), British Steel Corporation (1988), and the regional water authorities (mostly in 1989). After 1979, council house tenants in the UK were given the right to buy their homes (at a heavily discounted rate). One million purchased their residences by 1986.
Such efforts culminated in 1993 when British Rail was privatized under Thatcher's successor, John Major. British Rail had been formed by prior nationalization of private rail companies. The privatization was controversial, and the its impact is still debated today, as doubling of passenger numbers and investment was balanced by an increase in rail subsidy.
Privatization in Latin America flourished in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of a Western liberal economic policy. Companies providing public services such as water management, transportation, and telecommunication were rapidly sold off to the private sector. In the 1990s, privatization revenue from 18 Latin American countries totaled 6% of gross domestic product.Private investment in infrastructure from 1990 and 2001 reached $360.5 billion, $150 billion more than in the next emerging economy.
While economists generally give favorable evaluations of the impact of privatization in Latin America,opinion polls and public protests across the countries suggest that a large segment of the public is dissatisfied with or have negative views of privatization in the region.
In the 1990s, the governments in Eastern and Central Europe engaged in extensive privatization of state-owned enterprises in Eastern and Central Europe and Russia, with assistance from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the German Treuhand, and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
Ongoing privatization of Japan Post relates to that of the national postal service and one of the largest banks in the world. After years of debate, the privatization of Japan Post spearheaded by Junichiro Koizumi finally started in 2007. The privatization process is expected[ by whom? ] to last until 2017. Japan Post was one of the nation's largest employers, as one-third of Japanese state employees worked for it. It was also said to be the largest holder of personal savings in the world. Criticisms against Japan Post were that it served as a channel of corruption and was inefficient. In September 2003, Koizumi's cabinet proposed splitting Japan Post into four separate companies: a bank, an insurance company, a postal service company, and a fourth company to handle the post offices and retail storefronts of the other three. After the Upper House rejected privatization, Koizumi scheduled nationwide elections for September 11, 2005. He declared the election to be a referendum on postal privatization. Koizumi subsequently won the election, gaining the necessary supermajority and a mandate for reform, and in October 2005, the bill was passed to privatize Japan Post in 2007.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone's privatization in 1987 involved the largest share offering in financial history at the time.15 of the world's 20 largest public share offerings have been privatizations of telecoms.
In 1988, the perestroika policy of Mikhail Gorbachev started allowing privatization of the centrally planned economy. Large privatization of the Soviet economy occurred over the next few years as the country dissolved. Other Eastern Bloc countries followed suit after the Revolutions of 1989 introduced non-communist governments.
The United Kingdom's largest public share offerings were privatizations of British Telecom and British Gas during the 1980s under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher, when many state-run firms were sold off to the private sector. The privatization received very mixed views from the public and the parliament. Even former Conservative prime minister Harold Macmillan was critical of the policy, likening it to "selling the family silver".There were around 3 million shareholders in Britain when Thatcher took office in 1979, but the subsequent sale of state-run firms saw the number of shareholders double by 1985. By the time of her resignation in 1990, there were more than 10 million shareholders in Britain.
The largest public shares offering in France involved France Télécom.
Egypt undertook widespread privatization under Hosni Mubarak. Following his overthrow in the 2011 revolution, most of the public began to call for re-nationalization, citing allegations of the privatized firms practicing crony capitalism under the old regime.
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There are five main methods[ citation needed ] of privatization:
The choice of sale method is influenced by the capital market and the political and firm-specific factors. Privatization through the stock market is more likely to be the method used when there is an established capital market capable of absorbing the shares. A market with high liquidity can facilitate the privatization. If the capital markets are insufficiently developed, however, it would be difficult to find enough buyers. The shares may have to be underpriced, and the sales may not raise as much capital as would be justified by the fair value of the company being privatized. Many governments, therefore, elect for listings in more sophisticated markets, for example, Euronext, and the London, New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges.
Governments in developing countries and transition countries more often resort to direct asset sales to a few investors, partly because those countries do not yet have a stock market with high capital.
Voucher privatization occurred mainly in the transition economies in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Additionally, privatization from below had made important contribution to economic growth in transition economies.
In one study assimilating some of the literature on "privatization" that occurred in Russian and Czech Republic transition economies, the authors identified three methods of privatization: "privatization by sale", "mass privatization", and "mixed privatization". Their calculations showed that "mass privatization" was the most effective method.
However, in economies "characterized by shortages" and maintained by the state bureaucracy, wealth was accumulated and concentrated by "gray/black market" operators. Privatizing industries by sale to these individuals did not mean a transition to "effective private sector owners [of former] state assets". Rather than mainly participating in a market economy, these individuals could prefer elevating their personal status or prefer accumulating political power. Instead, outside foreign investment led to the efficient conduct of former state assets in the private sector and market economy.
Through privatization by direct asset sale or the stock market, bidders compete to offer higher prices, generating more revenue for the state. Voucher privatization, on the other hand, could represent a genuine transfer of assets to the general population, creating a sense of participation and inclusion. A market could be created if the government permits transfer of vouchers among voucher holders.
Some privatization transactions can be interpreted as a form of a secured loanand are criticized as a "particularly noxious form of governmental debt". In this interpretation, the upfront payment from the privatization sale corresponds to the principal amount of the loan, while the proceeds from the underlying asset correspond to secured interest payments – the transaction can be considered substantively the same as a secured loan, though it is structured as a sale. This interpretation is particularly argued to apply to recent municipal transactions in the United States, particularly for fixed term, such as the 2008 sale of the proceeds from Chicago parking meters for 75 years. It is argued that this is motivated by "politicians' desires to borrow money surreptitiously", due to legal restrictions on and political resistance to alternative sources of revenue, viz, raising taxes or issuing debt.
Literature reviews [ citation needed ] Yet, some empirical literature suggests that privatization could also have very modest effects on efficiency and quite regressive distributive impact. In the first attempt at a social welfare analysis of the British privatization program under the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major during the 1980s and 1990s, Massimo Florio points to the absence of any productivity shock resulting strictly from ownership change. Instead, the impact on the previously nationalized companies of the UK productivity leap under the Conservatives varied in different industries. In some cases, it occurred prior to privatization, and in other cases, it occurred upon privatization or several years afterward.find that in competitive industries with well-informed consumers, privatization consistently improves efficiency. The more competitive the industry, the greater the improvement in output, profitability, and efficiency. Such efficiency gains mean a one-off increase in GDP, but through improved incentives to innovate and reduce costs also tend to raise the rate of economic growth. Although typically there are many costs associated with these efficiency gains, many economists argue that these can be dealt with by appropriate government support through redistribution and perhaps retraining.
A study by the European Commission found that the UK rail network (which was privatized from 1994–97) was most improved out of all the 27 EU nations from 1997–2012. The report examined a range of 14 different factors and the UK came top in four of the factors, second and third in another two and fourth in three, coming top overall.
Privatizations in Russia and Latin America were accompanied by large-scale corruption during the sale of the state-owned companies. Those with political connections unfairly gained large wealth, which has discredited privatization in these regions. While media have widely reported the grand corruption that accompanied those sales, studies have argued that in addition to increased operating efficiency, daily petty corruption is, or would be, larger without privatization, and that corruption is more prevalent in non-privatized sectors. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that extralegal and unofficial activities are more prevalent in countries that privatized less.
A 2009 study published in The Lancet medical journal initially claimed to have found that as many as a million working men died as a result of economic shocks associated with mass privatization in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe during the 1990s,although a further study revealed that there were errors in their method and "correlations reported in the original article are simply not robust." Historian Walter Scheidel, a specialist in ancient history, posits that economic inequality and wealth concentration in the top percentile "had been made possible by the transfer of state assets to private owners."
In Latin America, there is a discrepancy between the economic efficiency of privatization and the political/social ramifications that occur. On the one hand, economic indicators, including firm profitability, productivity, and growth, project positive microeconomic results.On the other hand, however, these results have largely been met with a negative criticism and citizen coalitions. This neoliberal criticism highlights the ongoing conflict between varying visions of economic development. Karl Polanyi emphasizes the societal concerns of self-regulating markets through a concept known as a "double movement". In essence, whenever societies move towards increasingly unrestrained, free-market rule, a natural and inevitable societal correction emerges to undermine the contradictions of capitalism. This was the case in the 2000 Cochabamba protests.
Privatization in Latin America has invariably experienced increasing push-back from the public. Some suggest that implementing a less efficient but more politically mindful approach could be more sustainable.
In India, a survey by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) —Utilization of Free Medical Services by Children Belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in Private Hospitals in New Delhi, 2011-12: A Rapid Appraisal—indicates under-utilization of the free beds available for EWS category in private hospitals in Delhi, though they were allotted land at subsidized rates.
In Australia a "People's Inquiry into Privatisation" (2016/17) found that the impact of privatisation on communities was negative. The report from the inquiry "Taking Back Control" https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/cpsu/pages/1573/attachments/original/1508714447/Taking_Back_Control_FINAL.pdf?1508714447 made a range of recommendations to provide accountability and transparency in the process. The report highlighted privatisation in healthcare, aged care, child care, social services, government departments, electricity, prisons and vocational education featuring the voices of workers, community members and academics.
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Arguments for and against the controversial subject of privatization are presented here.
Studies show that private market factors can more efficiently deliver many goods or service than governments due to free market competition.Over time, this tends to lead to lower prices, improved quality, more choices, less corruption, less red tape, and/or quicker delivery. Many proponents do not argue that everything should be privatized. According to them, market failures and natural monopolies could be problematic. However, anarcho-capitalists prefer that every function of the state be privatized, including defense and dispute resolution.
Proponents of privatization make the following arguments:
Opponents of certain privatizations believe that certain public goods and services should remain primarily in the hands of government in order to ensure that everyone in society has access to them (such as law enforcement, basic health care, and basic education). There is a positive externality when the government provides society at large with public goods and services such as defense and disease control. Some national constitutions in effect define their governments' "core businesses" as being the provision of such things as justice, tranquility, defense, and general welfare. These governments' direct provision of security, stability, and safety, is intended to be done for the common good (in the public interest) with a long-term (for posterity) perspective. As for natural monopolies, opponents of privatization claim that they aren't subject to fair competition, and better administrated by the state.
Although private companies will provide a similar good or service alongside the government, opponents of privatization are careful about completely transferring the provision of public goods, services and assets into private hands for the following reasons:
In economic theory, privatization has been studied in the field of contract theory. When contracts are complete, institutions such as (private or public) property are difficult to explain, since every desired incentive structure can be achieved with sufficiently complex contractual arrangements, regardless of the institutional structure (all that matters is who are the decision makers and what is their available information). In contrast, when contracts are incomplete, institutions matter. A leading application of the incomplete contract paradigm in the context of privatization is the model by Hart, Shleifer, and Vishny (1997).In their model, a manager can make investments to increase quality (but they may also increase costs) and investments to decrease costs (but they may also reduce quality). It turns out that it depends on the particular situation whether private ownership or public ownership is desirable. The Hart-Shleifer-Vishny model has been further developed in various directions, e.g. to allow for mixed public-private ownership and endogenous assignments of the investment tasks.
The economy of Mauritius is a mixed developing economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism. Since the 1980s, the government of Mauritius has sought to diversify the country's economy beyond its dependence on just agriculture, particularly sugar production. In terms of energy, Mauritius' endowment with alternative energy resources and good governance makes it one of the potential winners in the global transition to renewable energy and the country is ranked no. 8 among 156 nations in the index of geopolitical gains and losses after energy transition.
A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, production and distribution are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply and demand. The major characteristic of a market economy is the existence of factor markets that play a dominant role in the allocation of capital and the factors of production.
A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of market economies with elements of planned economies, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. As such, there is no single definition of a mixed economy. One definition is about a mixture of markets with state interventionism, referring specifically to capitalist market economies with strong regulatory oversight and extensive interventions into markets. The other definition is apolitical in nature, strictly referring to an economy containing a mixture of private enterprise with public enterprise.
Public finance is the study of the role of the government in the economy. It is the branch of economics that assesses the government revenue and government expenditure of the public authorities and the adjustment of one or the other to achieve desirable effects and avoid undesirable ones. The purview of public finance is considered to be threefold: governmental effects on (1) efficient allocation of resources, (2) distribution of income, and (3) macroeconomic stabilization.
The public sector is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises.
State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community as opposed to an individual or private party. Public ownership specifically refers to industries selling goods and services to consumers and differs from public goods and government services financed out of a government's general budget. Public ownership can take place at the national, regional, local, or municipal levels of government; or can refer to non-governmental public ownership vested in autonomous public enterprises. Public ownership is one of the three major forms of property ownership, differentiated from private, collective/cooperative, and common ownership.
A public–private partnership is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors, typically of a long-term nature. In other words, it involves government(s) and business(es) that work together to complete a project and/or to provide services to the population. Because PPPs are a cooperative between government and the private sector, they are an example of multistakeholder governance. Public–private partnerships have been implemented in multiple countries, are primarily used for infrastructure projects, such as the building and equipping of schools, hospitals, transport systems, and water and sewerage systems.
The socialist market economy (SME) is the economic system and model of economic development employed in the People's Republic of China. The system is based on the predominance of public ownership and state-owned enterprises within a market economy. The term "socialist market economy" was introduced by Jiang Zemin during the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1992 to describe the goal of China's economic reforms. Originating in the Chinese economic reforms initiated in 1978 that integrated China into the global market economy, the socialist market economy represents a preliminary or "primary stage" of developing socialism. Despite this, many Western commentators have described the system as a form of state capitalism.
Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming private assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets or assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being transferred to the state. The opposites of nationalization are privatization and demutualization. When previously nationalized assets are privatized and subsequently returned to public ownership at a later stage, they are said to have undergone renationalization. Industries that are often subject to nationalization include telecommunications, electric power, fossil fuels, railways, airlines, iron ore, media, postal services, banks, and water.
A privately held company, private company, or close corporation is a business that is not owned by the government, non-governmental organizations or by a relatively small number of shareholders or company members which does not offer or trade its company stock (shares) to the general public on the stock market exchanges, but rather the company's stock is offered, owned and traded or exchanged privately or over-the-counter. More ambiguous terms for a privately held company are closely held corporation, unquoted company, and unlisted company.
Capital formation is a concept used in macroeconomics, national accounts and financial economics. Occasionally it is also used in corporate accounts. It can be defined in three ways:
Economic liberalization is the lessening of government regulations and restrictions in an economy in exchange for greater participation by private entities; the doctrine is associated with classical liberalism. Thus, liberalization in short is "the removal of controls" in order to encourage economic development. It is also closely associated with neoliberalism.
ZCCM Investments Holdings is a successor company to Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Limited, of Zambia.
According to the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2005–2010), the Privatisation Organisation of Iran affiliated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance is in charge of setting prices and ceding shares to the general public and on the Tehran Stock Exchange. The privatisation effort is primarily backed by reformist members of the Iranian government and society who hope that privatisation can bring about economic and social change.
Privatization in Croatia refers to political and economic reforms which include the privatization of state-owned assets in Croatia. Privatization started in the late 1980s under Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković and mostly took place in the 1990s after the breakup of Yugoslavia, during the presidency of Franjo Tuđman and the rule of his party Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and continued in the 2000s with the privatization of large state enterprises. Many aspects of the privatization process are still seen as controversial as the political and economic turmoil, coupled with the events of the simultaneous 1991–95 independence war, are thought to have led to a degree of criminal activity.
Privatization in Russia describes the series of post-Soviet reforms that resulted in large-scale privatization of Russia's state-owned assets, particularly in the industrial, energy, and financial sectors. Most privatization took place in the early and mid-1990s under Boris Yeltsin, who assumed the presidency following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
State, county, and city economies are constantly challenged in running government operations. A government-run sector may transfer the responsibility for carrying out the service and/or resource management activities and responsibilities to the private sector.
The Privatization process in Pakistan is a continuous policy measure programme in the economic period of Pakistan. It was first conceived and implemented by the then-people-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League, in an attempt to enable the nationalized industries towards market economy, immediately after the economic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989–90. The program was envisaged and visioned to improve the GDP growth of the national economy of Pakistan, and reversal of the nationalization programme in 1970s— an inverse of the privatization programme.
The Economic liberalisation in Pakistan refers to a policy measure programme in order to promote and accelerate the economic independence and development in the economic context of history of Pakistan. Started in different times in the history of the country, the programme was intended and had mainstream goal to promote GDP growth for the national economy and economical and social values in the country.
Privatizationin Australia is the process of transiting a public service or good to the private sector through a variety of mechanisms that was commenced by the Federal Government in the 1990s, receiving bipartisan support. More generally, privatization is a set of economic policies that is part of a broader system of deregulation of government services, underpinned by the ideology of neoliberalism, in order to achieve economic outcomes of growth, efficiency and productivity. Some examples of sectors that have been privatized include finance, telecommunications and infrastructure. Australia's public service has also transformed with the introduction of New Public Management (NPM) in the late twentieth century which altered public administration models to appear more "business-like" through performance evaluations that emphasize efficiency, productivity and service delivery.
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