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Privatization is the conversion of state or common property, or of an open-access resource, into private property. The privatization of a common property resource is also often referred to as enclosure. Privatization is justified on economic efficiency grounds, with claims that it ensures that owners or investors devote their full attention to enhancing the productivity of the privatized resources because they reap the full returns of their efforts. In addition, it is claimed that private property ensures that the costs of any environmental damage must be borne by the property owner, thus ensuring that such damage is minimized. Critics of privatization, however, insist that it usually serves only to enrich a small elite by handing them a resource formerly owned by all the people in ...

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