- The transfer of responsibilities from the state to the private sector of the economy (see, Privatizing the Public Sector, 1982). Privatization takes many forms, depending on the nature of the responsibilities concerned, and to whom they are transferred. It may involve the highly publicized transfer of the ownership of the property and assets of public corporations or of local authority housing. Equally, it may involve the more gradual and less publicized running down of state provisions, subsidies, and regulation. A commitment to privatization has been a hallmark of conservative governments in Britain and many other West European countries during the 1980s. For an interesting case-study see, Privatism and Urban Policy in Britain and the United States (1989). By far the largest programmes of privatization were initiated after the fall of the communist regimes in the former state socialist societies of Eastern Europe. The term should not be confused with the more obviously sociological concept of privatism.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.