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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the return to private ownership of property (such as industrial enterprises, banks, land, and shares of stock) previously nationalized by the state. The purpose of denationalization is to strengthen the private capitalist sector, and it is a form of state financing of large monopolies.

Denationalization is carried out by selling state property, usually at reduced prices. At the same time, former owners are given a preferential right of purchase. Denationalization may be partial, as when some of the shares of stock of state companies are sold and state ownership is converted to a mixed state-private ownership. The metallurgical industry in Great Britain was denationalized in 1953 and the truck transportation industry in 1955. Laws passed in France in the 1950’s authorized the sale of 30 percent of the capital of Air France and transferred the firm France Color, which then produced 75 percent of the country’s dyes, into private hands. In the Federal Republic of Germany during the 1950’s the stock of more than 30 enterprises was sold to private capitalists. In Austria in 1957, 40 percent of the stock of the largest nationalized banks, Kreditanstalt and Lenderbank, and of several dozen industrial enterprises was transferred to private ownership. In Italy in 1959 the stock of two large chemical companies was similarly sold.

Another form of denationalization was the sale at reduced prices of enterprises built at state expense during World War II. In the United States in 1946 the large monopolies, which had rented 79 percent of all capacity built with state capital, purchased 70 percent of it at a price that averaged 60 percent of the initial cost. The situation in Great Britain was similar.

Acute class struggle develops around denationalization. The working people oppose denationalization, seeing state ownership as a factor in the further collectivization of capitalist production and a means of limiting the economic power of the monopolies. Monopoly capitalists usually strive for denationalization of highly profitable enterprises and sectors. Attempting to avoid open class struggle against denationalization, Western European capitalists carried it out during the 1950’s under the slogan of “people’s capitalism.” Partial denationalization by selling stock to production and office workers at state enterprises is used for the same purpose. Denationalization in the developing countries is usually carried out by reactionary and conservative regimes, frequently under the pressure of foreign capital, which has made denationalization the price of economic and military-political assistance by the imperialist states.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, in May, only days after Shahzad's arrest, a bipartisan group in Congress led by Senator Joseph Lieberman introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act, which would allow the government to denationalize a citizen upon a finding by the secretary of state that he provided material aid or support to a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the secretary, or that he engaged in hostilities against the U.S.
Dulles, four justices maintained that Congress lacked the power to denationalize any citizen without his consent; a fifth joined the decision but not its reasoning on this point, leaving that constitutional argument without majority support.
One of the first things Cristiani did when he was elected in 1989 was to denationalize the coffee and sugar industries."
As Austrian political theorist Rainer Baubock has pointed out, it would have been utterly perverse for Germany or Austria to denationalize Hitler posthumously.
In September, 1977, the government announced to denationalize about 2,000 Agro-based industries.
This Committee decided to denationalize Tarbela Cotton and Spinning Mills and handed it over to a private party.
Portraying Morsi as a Hamas-led puppet, in order to denationalize the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, comes at the cost of Syrian and Palestinian refugees' need for protection.
The Thatcher government did not denationalize coal and steel; it sold British Airways, Rolls-Royce, British Gas and British Telecom.
Chirac is using the prerogative to denationalize industries as well as to change the electoral law.