Renewing public ownership: constructing a democratic economy in the twenty-first century

Document type
Cumbers, Andrew
Centre for Labour and Social Studies
Date of publication
9 July 2014
Policy paper
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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Since 1979 the privatisation and marketization policies of successive governments have delivered the economy into the hands of a narrow set of vested corporate and financial interests. The consequences are that decision-making is geared towards short-term profit and rent-seeking, at the expense of more longer-term thinking and in particular strategic concerns for the common good.

Privatisation has also been accompanied by a growing foreign ownership of the UK’s most strategically important resources and assets, raising important questions about government’s ability to control and administer important public policy objectives such as tackling climate change and providing essential services to the public at the lowest cost.

In response, this report argues that the UK needs to rethink its approach to ownership and control of the economy, developing more democratic institutions and structures that re-distribute economic decision-making power beyond its capture by financial, corporate and foreign interests.

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