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Challenging privatization: a conceptual and theoretical argument

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This is the second of a three-part polemic against the destruction of state owned enterprises in China (the first, “Against Privatization: A Historical and Empirical Argument”, is published in JCPS 13:1, 2008). It critically examines the ideology of privatization and argues for alternative guidelines of reform. The central contention is that a healthy market economy does not require domination of private property; rather it relies on apposite political-legal-ideological power and regulatory-monitoring regimes of accumulation and distribution socially legitimated within a given public culture. Rejecting the fallacies of ownership determinism and precision requirement on property rights for morality and efficiency, this essay clarifies distinction between the notion of exclusive properties and the vision of their socialized utility and management. Justifications for reforming state and private sectors alike in accordance with a unifying commons of social defense and feasibilities of innovative reform measures and policy proposals in that direction, will be elaborated in a third essay titled “Overcoming Privatization: A Strategic and Institutional Argument”.

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