Talk:Public ownership

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Biased entry. Note the confident use of "will" and "are" in the Pro-Nationalization entries, compared to the "might" and "may" used for Anti-Nationalization. (23:12, 9 Mar 2004)

Well, that certainly changed! Recent efforts to NPOV the article have resulted in making it biased in the other direction (against nationalization). I've attempted to fix that problem and achieve balance. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 20:59, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The main entry should be Public ownership. The arguments listed as pro/anti nationalization are largely arguments for/against public ownership. The Nationalization page, if not merely a redirect to public ownership, should discuss the process of change which the term refers to. Rd232 18:25, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to move the current page to public ownership and then edit both. Rd232 18:32, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Wasteful competition?[edit]

"By creating a publicly accountable monopoly, nationalisation eliminates wasteful competition and transaction costs (e.g. instead of three companies producing the same thing resulting in duplication and inefficiency, one nationally-owned company can not make the same product)." The argumentation is really wandering here. Wasteful competition? That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard. - Jerryseinfeld 20:14, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well it's nice that you can dismiss an entire field of economic theory (transaction cost economics) in a couple of lines. A theory which among other things illuminates why big conglomerates exist and why there is such a thing as an employment contract. Note also two statistics: administrative costs in US healthcare system: 25%; in UK NHS: 2.5% or thereabouts (this was an academic article I read a couple of years ago, so figures are approx; but the difference was an order of magnitude). More fundamentally, competition is not costless. (Though the benefits often outweigh the costs compared to available alternatives, this obviously depends on the relative costs and benefits.) Thanks for listening, you've been a great audience... Rd232 18:32, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Where's the article you read? - Jerryseinfeld 20:00, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think I have it at work somewhere - I'll see if I can find it. Rd232 20:46, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Perhaps you should explain that "nationalization" is when the government buys a corporation, since the word redirects here, and remove the self-redirect. And "public ownership" is the worst kind of POV (point of view), "government ownership" is NPOV (neutral point of view), it should be moved there. - Jerryseinfeld 19:57, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I just did the first thing - it was work-in-progress when you wrote the above. The second... "Public ownership" isn't POV, and outweighs "government ownership" nearly 3:1 in Google. I agree, though, that "public ownership" is broader than just "government", although the terms are very frequently used synonymously. Certainly we could and should have a section on other forms of public ownership, like cooperatives; and maybe mention/link to the idea of a shareholding democracy (Manchester United fans' shareholding springs to mind). And there certainly needs to be somewhere on Wikipedia a decent discussion of the idea of publicness so that it can be linked to from here (I haven't found one). But simply moving "public ownership" to "government ownership" would need a fairly decent article on public ownership in general to avoid it looking like a POV statement, given the common usage of the term. Rd232 20:25, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)
"'Public ownership' isn't POV"? "Public ownership" is a communist term for "government ownership". - Jerryseinfeld 02:49, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
ROTFLMAO. I doubt this is true even in the US. It certainly isn't in Europe. And where communist states are concerned, they usually self-described as a more nebuluous "people's" ownership (eg Volkseigener Betrieb) - whilst non-communists described it as "state" ownership. Yes, "public ownership" contains positive aspirations (public accountability, public service, etc) where "government ownership" doesn't - but that doesn't necessarily make the latter neutral if it's implicitly denying or denigrating such aspirations. Similar criticisms (of non-neutrality) could be made about many other terms in common usage. It isn't Wikipedia's job to NPOV the entire world; see Wikipedia naming conventions on using the most common term - "public ownership" beats "government ownership" 3:1 in Google. Rd232 10:51, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Of course it outnumbers it, since it can mean pretty much anything you want it to mean. Public ownership is often when a "private" "natural person" own a share of a "publicly traded" corporation. - Jerryseinfeld 17:36, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
OK, forget Google (though I suspect most references are to the usage of this article); it's certainly the dominant usage, at least in Europe. And I've never seen it used in the way you mention above - for the obvious reason that a person is not a public! A largeish group of people can be a public (see my Manchester United example above). But this is still "private ownership" precisely because it takes rare things like the loyalty given to a football club a - non-economic value - to make them act as a public and not as a group of self-interested shareholders. Don't confuse the issue with "publicly-traded shares", which is public in the sense of "open to all", not in the sense of collective action. (NB further evidence of the need for a good Wiki definition of the multiple meanings of "public".) Rd232 19:44, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
That's a very good point. - Jerryseinfeld 22:59, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You know what, I found something that is "government" but not "public", there are no "public bonds" are there? - Jerryseinfeld 04:42, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You seem to be obsessed with proving that "government" does not equal "public". (Congratulations, d'you want a medal?) This has no bearing on which of the terms is more commonly used in cases such as "public debt" (clearly beating "government debt") and "government bonds" (clearly beating "public bonds"). (Yeah, I know, the world is not a consistent place.) Wikipedia policy is to use the most common term. On which basis, maybe the article should be moved to public sector, if you're prepared to overlook slight differences in connotation. Rd232 11:45, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Change "public services such as healthcare, education, the police and fire service and others are usually distinguished from nationalized industries that may produce coal, steel or financial services" to "public services such as healthcare, education, the police and fire service and others are usually distinguished from public goods like coal, steel". If one category is "public services" the other category must be "public goods". - Jerryseinfeld 23:03, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

 :) See comments elsewhere. They differ in their publicness, not in their serviceness. There is no single convenient term I can think of for "public sector but not a service". That you can suggest coal and financial services are "public goods" suggests you really ought to open an introductory economics book... Rd232 00:27, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Actually the whole article should be moved to government ownership. And for some reason public good actually list "services" as "goods". - Jerryseinfeld 04:34, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Sorry about tone, but much as I try to bite my tongue, you're infuriating me. It shouldn't be government ownership; it could be public sector. The latter might be better than public ownership, as it's more common; and while they're not identical in meaning they're probably close enough. Rd232 11:35, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Arguments for government ownership[edit]

  • "Public ownership can help prevent extreme imbalances of wealth." Shouldn't you say how? - Jerryseinfeld 23:53, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Don't you have a head? Use it. A public good is, by definition, public. It means that the wealth belongs to everyone and, in the case of a "democratic"(does it exists?) state, that this wealth is directly manageable by public vote. Instead of a constant research of profit and cyclic gifts for the "poors" shareholders, the wealth is used for public policies, education, health, everything, and the workers are paid globally THE SAME so extreme imbalances are avoided. There's no more"hey im the boss/master/chief assistant/thief here, give me 9000% of standard wages because i took, 54 years ago, a risk in starting this business!", and no more "hey, its too risky to be the boss, i deserve my HUGE wage(s), and i the business sinks, i will leave with ALL the FUCKIN MONEY ahahhahaha you sheeps...." There's no more of that. Everyone is a worker, the money is democraticaly controled and no one has the power to fuck his neighbour in order to be "rich"(is it really useful if the wages are corrects?) But i wonder why i talk about this, as it belongs to an other thinking system than yours, and if not "HEY YOU COMMUNIST YOU COMMUNIST!"(and im not, but its not an insult), i really wonder what you could learn me86.219.2.34 (talk) 18:26, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Arguments against public ownership[edit]

Removed "public ownership can prevent extreme imbalances of wealth". How on earth is that supposed to work? With large compensations for lousy work? - Jerryseinfeld 23:53, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Jerry, jerry, jerry... please stop and think before you dismiss things! Profit-making companies/industries owned by government distribute wealth more widely than private ownership, even when shares are public-traded and widely held. Just think if Microsoft (effectively a monopoly on desktop PC operating systems since about 1990 at least) were owned by the US government. All those billions in annual profits going to government spending (or lower taxation) pot instead of Bill Gates' bank account... It's not a terribly good argument because taxation will generally (not always) do the same job, with probably less effects on incentives/efficiency; but it IS an argument. Please put it back. Rd232 00:16, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Let me see if I understand this, it's "arguments against public ownership", and the argument is that "public ownership can prevent extreme imbalances of wealth", but since "progressive taxation" can do that to, it's not needed? - Jerryseinfeld 00:30, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It's "arguments for" - but not a very a good one, because of the persuasive counter of "progressive taxation". Anyway I'm not that bothered about the detail, because the whole page is so bad. It should not be structured that pro/anti way; it's not helpful for the reader. Rd232 11:30, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
As the topic says, it was an argument against, with the full text "although public ownership can prevent extreme imbalances of wealth, so can progressive taxation". - Jerryseinfeld 17:12, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

See also[edit]

"Non-governmental organization" is beside "private ownership". This just makes me sick, how the heck do you think they get their money? It's the worst kind of government "united nations" waste of tax payers money. - Jerryseinfeld 01:15, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Wow. Rd232 11:51, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)


"Rank and yank" was replaced with "threat of redundancy". I kind of like that, it's so, diplomatic. - Jerryseinfeld 00:25, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)


  • The content of this page is moved to government ownership, since government bonds are not "public bonds", government ownership is not "public ownership. - Jerryseinfeld 04:43, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • It was just "unmoved" without explanation. - Jerryseinfeld 00:03, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Smart restoriation G-string. Now you lost half the article. - Jerryseinfeld 23:41, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)


  • "Public ownership (government ownership) refers to an industry owned by the state at any level, central, regional or local (municipal)." It should be "Public ownership" refers to any public ownership of assets, industries, and corporations. - Jerryseinfeld 23:56, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • "The term "public ownership" is usually used to describe government ownership of commercial operations such as coal and steel producers, rather than public services such as healthcare, education, police, fire service." Says who? - Jerryseinfeld 00:00, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • They're all commercial operations. If there is ANY demand it's a commerical operation (or a "potential commercial operation" if you like). Instead of removing the sentence I changed it to be very clear, with FACTS, instead of the vague thoughts and ideas of the author of public services of what is "usually" said and thought. - Jerryseinfeld 17:16, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • Actually, "commercial" is such a vague term it should't be used unless you're writing one of those vague socialists nonsense articles. So it's "for-profit", in the eyes of who? It just doesn't mean anything and shouldn't be used. - Jerryseinfeld 17:39, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • Ye gods. In one fell swoops he prohibits the use of 'commercial' unless you're writing one of those vague socialists nonsense articles. Who was it who said "it's better to hold your tongue and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"? Not a thought that seems ever to have crossed your mind... Rd232 18:47, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Jerryseinfeld - you seem to be talking to yourself. (NB I had put nationalised industries, not "commercial operations"; I don't know who changed it.) Anyway, what do you think of the move request? Rd232 18:47, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"==Glossary== The term "public ownership" is sometimes used exclusively to describe government ownership of operations where the customer pays for all expenses in the production of for example coal and steel. Perhaps in contrast to "public services" where the customers may not pay all expenses so the taxpayer has to fund the revenue shortfall, in areas such as healthcare, education, police, fire service."

This is simply not true. Rd232 22:38, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Let's see how this can be structured. There already is government. Articles on the government topic should be subcategories to government, this one could be government operations. - Jerryseinfeld 17:07, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Or even better, it can be split into government ownership and government operations. - Jerryseinfeld 17:15, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You seem to oppose public sector on ideological grounds. Fine, but there are Wikipedia conventions you must respect, even if you ignore my opinion. Government operations is an ill-defined term that insofar as its meaning is clear, differs from public sector. In any case, "public sector" outweighs "government operations" in Google fully 17:1. On the other hand, it might be best for my blood pressure if we work on different pages, even if they end up having to be merged later... Rd232 17:59, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
By the way, it would be polite to give people a chance to respond to such suggestions rather than implementing them immediately. Rd232 17:59, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

public ownershippublic sector[edit]

The latter term is more common; the former term, although substantially equivalent, seems to be unhelpful to creating a good page. (See current introduction.) NB The page was originally Nationalization, but the arguments were really about public ownership and about the validity of government involvement in the economy, for example in public services. Public ownership may also be a UK-centric term; I'm not clear on this. Rd232 18:22, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • Objection (not really against the move, but as these articles being redirected as they are) — I don't see why the two of these articles are connected in the first place. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, the two terms don't define the same thing. Public Ownership can refer a.) to a company of which shares (securities) are available for sale to the public, or publically held or traded, as much as it can refer to b.) a company whose existence is as regulated monopoly (i.e. Power Companies like the former Montana Power) but the control of the company outside of the regulatory oversight is generally the same as any regular corporate entity, or c.) a company the government has taken over for the public good (through Nationalization). Public Sector on the other hand just refers to the part of the economy concerned with providing basic government services (defense, police, public works, public education, &c.). These, in all reality, should be two separate articles. —ExplorerCDT 06:27, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Public sector and public ownership have distinct meanings. The former refers to a mode of business financed by public funds and organized on behalf of the community (but sometimes carried out by private contractors), the latter to the legal possession of property, including business assets, by or on behalf of the community by an appointed representative such as the government. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 13:10, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose - different concepts. Icundell 21:19, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
BTW, I invite anyone with an opinion to come and edit the articles and help clarify the matter. Public sector currently directs to public ownership, and any help in developing both articles would be much appreciated. Rd232 22:51, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Your wish is my command. See public sector as an opening gambit. A bit rough and ready. Have tweak public ownership a bit too. Icundell 10:13, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Boy, I wish people said that to me more often :) ... Cheers for your help. Rd232 20:28, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)


User:Mihnea Tudoreanu is a communist. User:Mihnea Tudoreanu is a communist.--Jerryseinfeld 01:35, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

For once your paranoid self is correct. I am a communist working to achieve NPOV and remove your neoliberal capitalist bias from this article. So? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 01:44, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
How can you exactly achieve NPOV if you're removing the true (neoliberal, capitalist) description and if you're a communist? Isn't the final form of your achievements guaranteed to be a CPOV - a Communist Point of View? :-) Do you still view the words "neoliberal" and "capitalist" as insults? I thought that these people have already died decades ago! --Lumidek 02:00, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Haha, yes, I forgot that Neoliberalism had been recently promoted to the status of Most Holy and Absolute Truth, and that us anti-capitalist heathens shall be smited by the Sacred Invisible Hand. Thanks for reminding me. :-) -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 02:10, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"How can you exactly achieve NPOV if you're removing the true (neoliberal, capitalist) description..." ... you've really got the hang of this NPOV thing, haven't you Lumidek? Rd232 11:05, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

NPOV doesn't exist, only the sum of all points of view approach the "truth"(if there's one...) And its true, some of the articles were written by neo-liberals(and if they do not accept this denomination, lets call them "people influenced directly or indirectly by the economic schools of vienna and/or chicago"), but some articles were, to the contrary, by communists(even if i feel closer to them). I dont think that writing POV articles is a good way to proceed, but those "for/against" are really interesting and would make it possible to express nearly all the POV on a given problem. It would be, to me, really informative to have more of 'em done 'round here86.219.2.34 (talk) 18:03, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Weasel words[edit]

The following appears in the article:

There has been discussion of a public service ethos which makes public sector workers work harder than they would for a private employer.

There has been discussion by whom about the public service ethos? -- backburner001 18:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I highly doubt this. Almost every book/article I've read say that it is actually harder to motivate public sector workers, since bonuses, dismissals and such are restricted by law. Rodrigo Novaes 15:18, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, another reference in the article reads:

Of course, some of these measures may be considered positive rather than negative, but if they are not taken properly, in the long run they are likely to be an inefficient way to meet the desired goals.

Considered positive by whom? Written as it is, this statement is slightly POV toward public ownership supporters (while concealing this POV by acknowledging long-term inefficiency. -- backburner001 18:12, 13 June 2006 (UTC)


I am opposed to the merger of Public ownership and Government-owned corporation. A Government-owned corporation is only one of many types of public ownership. Biscuittin 20:09, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Removed merge flag, dormant since May.--Gregalton 02:58, 15 August 2007 (UTC)


On 29 July 2007 a large part of this article was removed without consultation. I regard this as vandalism and I intend to revert it. Please discuss. Biscuittin 08:08, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

No comments received. Reversion done. Biscuittin 08:25, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Other uses[edit]

Why is there no 'State Property redirects here, for other uses see State Property (disambiguation)' line? Since there are other uses for 'State Property' —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:06:06, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

Merge parastatal here[edit]

What's the difference? Tazmaniacs 13:20, 6 September 2007 (UTC) Note also the similarity with Government-linked companies. Tazmaniacs 13:22, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

It would probably be more appropriate in the Quangos article. Somearemoreequal 11:39, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The three articles public property, state property and public space are all very similar in kind. I think Wikipedia would be better served if these were merged into public ownership, so that a comprehensive article on the subject could be written. This would make it easier to compare the concepts. If the article grows too long with time, then the concepts can be separated, like has been done with state-owned enterprise. --Marcus 12:47, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

public property, state property yes. public space is substantially different and unlike the other two has a substantial article. Rd232 talk 14:22, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

WP:Bold blanking by User:Jmcnamera[edit]

Is it not true that sections may stand merely on their internal consistency and wikilinks which suffice for WP:V? (i.e., it's nice to have external refs to cite for every sentence but hardly expedient.) -MBHiii (talk) 04:48, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Lighten up![edit]

Public ownership is the only way our society can progress! Nobody actually "owns" anything. You can't "steal" something. Everybody owns it, but it's noone's responsibility. This whole wikipedia thing should not exist, because the internet should not exist except as a way of playing network games, because all of this talk is too political. I should be able to communicate my thoughts as unintelligibly as I feel like, because that's how the world works. I should be able to grunt and you get the point. Does somebody want to get me a beer? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 12 December 2009 (UTC)


I removed the unreferenced for and against section, which NPOV and just a list, which is discouraged. I also removed the reference needed header, which was from 2007.--SasiSasi (talk) 13:41, 27 March 2010 (UTC)