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Public or Private? Public Corporations, Companies and the Decline of the Middle Ground

Abstract

In the era of New Public Management in the Anglo-Saxon countries, governments have become infatuated with things private and disparaging of things public. This dramatic attitudinal shift has been reflected in the importation of private sector business method into so much of what government does, and in the championing of “privatization” in its various forms as a way of reducing the size and importance of public sectors. The change represents a retreat from the more traditional acceptance that a valuable social purpose was served by “middle ground” structures and activities located in the outer parts of these public sectors, i.e., between the highly politicised cores of government systems and the highly commercialised institutions of private enterprise. In particular, this article argues that the form of the public (or government, statutory or crown) corporation epitomised such social value, and that the state-owned company which is now so often replacing it represents an abandoning of social value.

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Wettenhall, R. Public or Private? Public Corporations, Companies and the Decline of the Middle Ground. Public Organization Review 1, 17–40 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011516927634

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  • public sector
  • public corporation
  • state-owned company
  • corporatization
  • privatization