is a central component of the neo-liberal economic policies currently governing
much of our domestic and international economic policy. Privatization occurs
when a government-owned business is sold to a private company or when a private
firm begins offering services formerly provided by government.
In the United States,
many services such as sanitation; bus driving; the provision of social
services, including education; some utilities; and many functions in the
military have been privatized. Around the world, education, health care, water
and other utilities, steel mills, and oil refineries have all been privatized.
a service is privatized it becomes more expensive. For example, a private firm
may charge a fee for what had been provided free of charge (for example,
education) or prices may rise for goods (like water) that had been available at
a reduced (subsidized) price. Advocates of privatization argue that private
firms operate more efficiently than government. But often any savings due to
privatization are the result of paying workers lower wages and not the result
of efficiency gains.
mismanagement or corruption may occur when a government runs a company, the
same holds true for the private sector, especially in a country with poorly
developed legal and judicial safeguards. Too often privatization has resulted
in the sale of public assets at below-market prices, allowing private firms to
reap large profits. Moreover, government-run agencies can be held publicly
accountable in ways that private firms often cannot.
UCC General Synod Resolutions and Pronouncements
A Faithful Response: calling for a more just, humane direction for economic globalization (General Synod 24, 2003)
calls for the rules and institutions that shape economic globalization to be
Saving Social Security from privatization (General
Synod 25, 2005)
More information and ways to engage