chapter  20
11 Pages

Privatization and Debureaucratization: A Comparative Analysis of Bureaucratic Alternatives

WithJohn G. Merriam

Privatization, a global phenomenon, has major implications for bureaucratic role and scope, especially in state-dominated political systems. The purpose of privatization is to subject administrative activities to the disciplines of the marketplace, usually globally as opposed to merely domestically. The privatization phenomenon is in fact complex, regardless of the form that it takes, as it is all too often partial rather than complete. President Reagan’s Commission on Privatization, according to Harold Seidman’s study on which this selection is based, was viewed as a reaction to “big” government and an overgrown bureaucracy, although, comparatively speaking, federal civilian government has remained “relatively static”. A global movement toward decentralized planning and privatization appears to be in process. Great Britain and France, both nominally socialist democratic economies, have led the way, but Eastern European central command economies have also taken the cue. Great Britain is a most appropriate example often cited by countries recently attempting privatization.