State ownership

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A plaque marking state property in Riga, Latvia Valsts ipasums Meistaru iela 23.jpg
A plaque marking state property in Riga, Latvia

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. [1] 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. [2] 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. [3]

Contents

In market-based economies, state-owned assets are often managed and operated as joint-stock corporations with a government owning all or a controlling stake of the company's shares. This form is often referred to as a state-owned enterprise. A state-owned enterprise might variously operate as a not-for-profit corporation, as it may not be required to generate a profit; as a commercial enterprise in competitive sectors; or as a natural monopoly. Governments may also use the profitable entities they own to support the general budget. The creation of a state-owned enterprise from other forms of public property is called corporatization.

In Soviet-type economies, state property was the dominant form of industry as property. The state held a monopoly on land and natural resources, and enterprises operated under the legal framework of a nominally planned economy, and thus according to different criteria than enterprises in market and mixed economies.

Nationalization is a process of transferring private or municipal assets to a central government or state entity. Municipalization is the process of transferring private or state assets to a municipal government.

State-owned enterprise

A state-owned enterprise is a commercial enterprise owned by a government entity in a capitalist market or mixed economy. Reasons for state ownership of commercial enterprises are that the enterprise in question is a natural monopoly or because the government is promoting economic development and industrialization. State-owned enterprises may or may not be expected to operate in a broadly commercial manner and may or may not have monopolies in their areas of activity. The transformation of public entities and government agencies into government-owned corporations is sometimes a precursor to privatization.

State capitalist economies are capitalist market economies that have high degrees of government-owned businesses.

Relation to socialism

Public ownership of the means of production is a subset of social ownership, which is the defining characteristic of a socialist economy. However, state ownership and nationalization by themselves are not socialist, as they can exist under a wide variety of different political and economic systems for a variety of different reasons. State ownership by itself does not imply social ownership where income rights belong to society as a whole. As such, state ownership is only one possible expression of public ownership, which itself is one variation of the broader concept of social ownership. [4] [5]

In the context of socialism, public ownership implies that the surplus product generated by publicly owned assets accrues to all of society in the form of a social dividend, as opposed to a distinct class of private capital owners. There is a wide variety of organizational forms for state-run industry, ranging from specialized technocratic management to direct workers' self-management. In traditional conceptions of non-market socialism, public ownership is a tool to consolidate the means of production as a precursor to the establishment of economic planning for the allocation of resources between organizations, as required by government or by the state.

State ownership is advocated as a form of social ownership for practical concerns, with the state being seen as the obvious candidate for owning and operating the means of production. Proponents assume that the state, as the representative of the public interest, would manage resources and production for the benefit of the public. [6] As a form of social ownership, state ownership may be contrasted with cooperatives and common ownership. Socialist theories and political ideologies that favor state ownership of the means of production may be labelled state socialism.

State ownership was recognized by Friedrich Engels in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific as, by itself, not doing away with capitalism, including the process of capital accumulation and structure of wage labor. Engels argued that state ownership of commercial industry would represent the final stage of capitalism, consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and manufacture by the state. [7]

Within the United Kingdom, public ownership is mostly associated with the Labour Party (a centre-left democratic socialist party), specifically due to the creation of Clause IV of the "Labour Party Manifesto" in 1918. "Clause IV" was written by Fabian Society member Sidney Webb.

User rights

A plaque marking state property in Jurmala Valsts ipasums lit 1.jpg
A plaque marking state property in Jūrmala

When ownership of a resource is vested in the state, or any branch of the state such as a local authority, individual use "rights" are based on the state's management policies, though these rights are not property rights as they are not transmissible. For example, if a family is allocated an apartment that is state owned, it will have been granted a tenancy of the apartment, which may be lifelong or inheritable, but the management and control rights are held by various government departments. [8]

Public property

There is a distinction to be made between state ownership and public property. The former may refer to assets operated by a specific state institution or branch of government, used exclusively by that branch, such as a research laboratory. The latter refers to assets and resources that are available to the entire public for use, such as a public park (see public space).

Criticism

In neoclassical economic theory, the desirability of state ownership has been studied using contract theory. According to the property rights approach based on incomplete contracting (developed by Oliver Hart and his co-authors), ownership matters because it determines what happens in contingencies that were not considered in prevailing contracts. [9]

The work by Hart, Shleifer and Vishny (1997) is the leading application of the property rights approach to the question whether state ownership or private ownership is desirable. [10] In their model, the government and a private firm can invest to improve the quality of a public good and to reduce its production costs. It turns out that private ownership results in strong incentives to reduce costs, but it may also lead to poor quality. Hence, depending on the available investment technologies, there are situations in which state ownership is better. The Hart-Shleifer-Vishny theory has been extended in many directions. For instance, some authors have also considered mixed forms of private ownership and state ownership. [11] Moreover, the Hart-Shleifer-Vishny model assumes that the private party derives no utility from provision of the public good. Besley and Ghatak (2001) have shown that if the private party (a non-governmental organization) cares about the public good, then the party with the larger valuation of the public good should always be the owner, regardless of the parties' investment technologies. [12]

More recently, some authors have shown that the investment technology also matters in the Besley-Ghatak framework if an investing party is indispensable [13] or if there are bargaining frictions between the government and the private party. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Privatization transferring something from the public sphere to the private

Privatisation 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 ; 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.

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.

Private property legal designation of the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities thank wi

Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities. Private property can be either personal property or capital goods. Private property is a legal concept defined and enforced by a country's political system.

A state-owned enterprise (SOE) is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. Defining characteristics of SOEs are their distinct legal form and operation in commercial affairs and activities. While they may also have public policy objectives, SOEs should be differentiated from government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely nonfinancial objectives.

Economic system system of production and exchange

An economic system, or economic order, is a system of production, resource allocation and distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. It includes the combination of the various institutions, agencies, entities, decision-making processes and patterns of consumption that comprise the economic structure of a given community. As such, an economic system is a type of social system. The mode of production is a related concept. All economic systems have three basic questions to ask: what to produce, how to produce and in what quantities and who receives the output of production.

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.

Common ownership refers to holding the assets of an organization, enterprise or community indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or groups of members as common property.

The Lange model is a neoclassical economic model for a hypothetical socialist economy based on public ownership of the means of production and a trial-and-error approach to determining output targets and achieving economic equilibrium and Pareto efficiency. In this model, the state owns non-labor factors of production, and markets allocate final goods and consumer goods. The Lange model states that if all production is performed by a public body such as the state, and there is a functioning price mechanism, this economy will be Pareto-efficient, like a hypothetical market economy under perfect competition. Unlike models of capitalism, the Lange model is based on direct allocation, by directing enterprise managers to set price equal to marginal cost in order to achieve Pareto efficiency. By contrast, in a capitalist economy managers are instructed to maximize profits for private owners, while competitive pressures are relied on to indirectly lower the price to equal marginal cost.

Property rights are theoretical socially-enforced constructs in economics for determining how a resource or economic good is used and owned. Resources can be owned by individuals, associations, collectives, or governments. Property rights can be viewed as an attribute of an economic good. This attribute has four broad components and is often referred to as a bundle of rights:

  1. the right to use the good
  2. the right to earn income from the good
  3. the right to transfer the good to others, alter it, abandon it, or destroy it
  4. the right to enforce property rights

An economic ideology distinguishes itself from economic theory in being normative rather than just explanatory in its approach. Economic ideologies express perspectives on the way an economy should run and to what end, whereas the aim of economic theories is to create accurate explanatory models to describe how an economy currently functions. However, the two are closely interrelated, as underlying economic ideology influences the methodology and theory employed in analysis. The diverse ideology and methodology of the 74 Nobel laureates in economics speaks to such interrelation.

Privatization in Russia

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.

Maitreesh Ghatak is an Indian economist who is the Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He is an applied microeconomic theorist with research interests in economic development, public economics, and the economics of organisations.

The social dividend is the return on the capital assets and natural resources owned by society in a socialist economy. The concept notably appears as a key characteristic of market socialism, where it takes the form of a dividend payment to each citizen derived from the property income generated by publicly owned enterprises, representing the individual’s share of the capital and natural resources owned by society.

Production for use is a phrase referring to the principle of economic organization and production taken as a defining criterion for a socialist economy. It is held in contrast to production for profit. This criterion is used to distinguish socialism from capitalism, and was one of the fundamental defining characteristics of socialism initially shared by Marxian socialists, evolutionary socialists, social anarchists and Christian socialists.

State socialism is a political and economic ideology within socialism advocating state ownership of the means of production, either as a temporary measure in the transition from capitalism to socialism or as characteristic of socialism itself.

Social ownership is any of various forms of ownership for the means of production in socialist economic systems, encompassing state ownership, employee ownership, cooperative ownership, citizen ownership of equity, common ownership and collective ownership. Historically social ownership implied that capital and factor markets would cease to exist under the assumption that market exchanges within the production process would be made redundant if capital goods were owned by a single entity or network of entities representing society, but the articulation of models of market socialism where factor markets are utilized for allocating capital goods between socially owned enterprises broadened the definition to include autonomous entities within a market economy. Social ownership of the means of production is the common defining characteristic of all the various forms of socialism.

Market socialism is a type of economic system involving the public, cooperative or social ownership of the means of production in the framework of a market economy. Market socialism differs from non-market socialism in that the market mechanism is utilized for the allocation of capital goods and the means of production. Depending on the specific model of market socialism, profits generated by socially owned firms may variously be used to directly remunerate employees, accrue to society at large as the source of public finance or be distributed amongst the population in a social dividend.

Socialist economics comprises the economic theories, practices and norms of hypothetical and existing socialist economic systems. A socialist economic system is characterized by social ownership and operation of the means of production that may take the form of autonomous cooperatives or direct public ownership wherein production is carried out directly for use rather than for profit. Socialist systems that utilize markets for allocating capital goods and factors of production among economic units are designated market socialism. When planning is utilized, the economic system is designated as a socialist planned economy. Non-market forms of socialism usually include a system of accounting based on calculation-in-kind to value resources and goods.

References

  1. "Public Ownership". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved January 25, 2018. Ownership by the government of an asset, corporation, or industry.
  2. Tupper, Allan (February 7, 2006). "Public Ownership". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved January 25, 2018. public ownership generally refers to enterprises, wholly or partially government owned, which sell goods and services at a price according to use. According to this definition, government-owned railways, airlines, and utilities are examples of public ownership, but hospitals, highways and public schools are not.
  3. Gregory, Paul R.; Stuart, Robert C. (2003). Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 27. ISBN   0-618-26181-8. There are three broad forms of property ownership-private, public, and collective (cooperative).
  4. Hastings, Mason and Pyper, Adrian, Alistair and Hugh (December 21, 2000). The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought . Oxford University Press. p.  677. ISBN   978-0198600244. Socialists have always recognized that there are many possible forms of social ownership of which co-operative ownership is one. Nationalization in itself has nothing particularly to do with socialism and has existed under non-socialist and anti-socialist regimes. Kautsky in 1891 pointed out that a ‘co-operative commonwealth’ could not be the result of the ‘general nationalization of all industries’ unless there was a change in ‘the character of the state’.
  5. Ellman, Michael (1989). Socialist Planning. Cambridge University Press. p. 327. ISBN   0-521-35866-3. State ownership of the means of production is not necessarily social ownership and state ownership can hinder efficiency.
  6. Arnold, Scott (1994). The Philosophy and Economics of Market Socialism: A Critical Study. Oxford University Press. p. 44. ISBN   978-0195088274. For a variety of philosophical and practical reasons touched on in chapter 1, the most obvious candidate in modern societies for that role has been the state. In the past, this led socialists to favor nationalization as the primary way of socializing the means of production…The idea is that just as private ownership serves private interests, public or state ownership would serve the public interest.
  7. Frederick Engels. "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (Chpt. 3)". Marxists.org . Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  8. Clarke, Alison; Paul Kohler (2005). Property law: commentary and materials. Cambridge University Press. p. 40. ISBN   9780521614894.
  9. Hart, Oliver (1995). "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure". Oxford University Press.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. Hart, Oliver; Shleifer, Andrei; Vishny, Robert W. (1997). "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 112 (4): 1127–1161. doi:10.1162/003355300555448. ISSN   0033-5533.
  11. Hoppe, Eva I.; Schmitz, Patrick W. (2010). "Public versus private ownership: Quantity contracts and the allocation of investment tasks". Journal of Public Economics. 94 (3–4): 258–268. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2009.11.009.
  12. Besley, Timothy; Ghatak, Maitreesh (2001). "Government versus Private Ownership of Public Goods". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 116 (4): 1343–1372. doi:10.1162/003355301753265598. JSTOR   2696461.
  13. Halonen-Akatwijuka, Maija (2012). "Nature of human capital, technology and ownership of public goods". Journal of Public Economics. Fiscal Federalism. 96 (11–12): 939–945. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.07.005.
  14. Schmitz, Patrick W. (2015). "Government versus private ownership of public goods: The role of bargaining frictions". Journal of Public Economics. 132: 23–31. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.09.009 .