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The transfer of services or institutions from state to private ownership. Ernst Ulrich Weizacker and his colleagues, in Limits to Privatization (2005, p. 6), identified four broad categories of privatization: (1) putting state monopolies in competition with private, or other state, operators; (2) outsourcing, whereby governments pay private actors to perform previously state-provided activities and services; (3) private financing, in exchange for delegated management, often turning the institution back over to the government after a period of profitable use; and (4) transfer of publicly owned assets into private hands. Privatization efforts under debate in the United States include the sale of Amtrak, a universal school voucher system, and the privatization of prisons, or at least certain prison services, such as health. For more information, see ...

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