Public ownership

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Concept.png Public ownership Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png

Public ownership, also called government ownership and state ownership, is the ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to an individual or private party. Public ownership specifically refers to industries selling goods and services to consumers and differs from public goods and government services financed out of a government's general budget. Public ownership can take place at the national, regional, local, or municipal levels of government; or can refer to non-governmental public ownership vested in autonomous public enterprises. Public ownership is one of the three major forms of property ownership, differentiated from private, collective/cooperative, and common ownership.

In market-based economies, state-owned assets are often managed and operated as joint-stock corporations with a government owning all or a controlling stake of the company's shares. This form is often referred to as a state-owned enterprise. A state-owned enterprise might variously operate as a not-for-profit corporation, as it may not be required to generate a profit; as a commercial enterprise in competitive sectors; or as a natural monopoly. Governments may also use the profitable entities they own to support the general budget. The creation of a state-owned enterprise from other forms of public property is called corporatisation.

In Soviet-type economies, state property was the dominant form of industry as property. The state held a monopoly on land and natural resources, and enterprises operated under the legal framework of a nominally planned economy, and thus according to different criteria than enterprises in market and mixed economies.

Nationalisation is a process of transferring private or municipal assets to a central government or state entity. Municipalisation is the process of transferring private or state assets to a municipal government.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Antidote to Privatisation is Public OwnershipReport19 September 2022Prem Sikka"The report recommends progressive taxation and democratisation of corporations, so that they serve the interests of communities and people rather than just shareholders and executives. It recommends that essential industries, such as energy, be brought into public ownership. It shows that there is very little cost associated with bringing energy, and other essential industries, into public ownership."


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