Privatization vs nationalization

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Privatization and nationalization are two words that have opposite meanings, which makes them antonyms. We will examine the different definitions of privatization and nationalization, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Privatization is the process by which a government-owned business or a publicly-owned business is transferred into private ownership. The idea may be that privatization leads to a more efficient institution, or privatization may occur simply as a bribe or reward to supporters of a regime. The word privatization came into use in the 1940s to describe the movement in Nazi Germany to return industry to the hands of private individuals. Privatization is the American spelling, the British spelling is privatisation.

Nationalization is the process by which privately owned business is transferred into government or public ownership. The idea may be that the business is so important to the well-being of the public that it can not be trusted to private individuals, or it may be that the government is over-reaching. The term nationalization dates back to the 1870s. Nationalization is the American spelling, the British spelling is nationalisation.


They also called for a review of the privatisation process that led to the takeover in November 2013 of the electricity generation and distribution companies created from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria. (Punch)

The privatisation of the British military’s fire and rescue services has been suspended after the outsourcer Serco challenged the Ministry of Defence’s decision to award the contract to its rival Capita. (The Financial Times)

Indonesia’s nationalization of a major copper and gold mine formerly run by U.S. metals company Freeport-McMoRan is a win for Indonesian President Joko Widodo who has been calling for the reclamation of strategic resources. (The Nikkei Asian Review)

The All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) congratulates each one of the public sector banker for the 50 glorious years of bank nationalization observed on Thursday and gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by each of the citizens of the country in the eventful journey. (The Sentinel)