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Transfer of government services or assets to the private sector. State-owned assets may be sold to private owners, or statutory restrictions on competition between privately and publicly owned enterprises may be lifted. Services formerly provided by government may be contracted out. The objective is often to increase government efficiency; implementation may affect government revenue either positively or negatively. Privatization is the opposite of nationalization, a policy resorted to by governments that want to keep the revenues from major industries, especially those that might otherwise be controlled by foreign interests.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on privatization, visit Britannica.com.