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The move towards economic reform in the 1980s led to privatization of public functions in many countries. Corporatization was seen as a half-way house on the road to privatization. The effect of corporatization has been to convert state departments into public companies and interpose commercial boards of directors between the shareholding ministers and the management of the enterprises. These state-owned enterprises enable efficiencies to be gained without ownership of strategic organizations being transferred, but fall short of the full competitive model. Corporatization has been the policy of the People's Republic of China and has been used in New Zealand and most states of Australia in the reform of their electricity markets.

Corporatization is an aspect of Corporate nationalism, a political movement begun under the autocratic rule of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French from 1852 and refined in Italy under Benito Mussolini from 1922.

National railroads, The initial impetus to corporatization of functions that had belonged to national and local governing bodies began in the sphere of national railroad construction in mid-19th century.

Corporate highways.

Corporate electricity.

Corporate water. The first initiatives to privatize water delivery at a national level probably started with Napoleon III. The corporatization of water supplies has spread from France to the rest of the world. In a 2000 article, Fortune magazine exulted that water "will be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th." And the magazine was thrilled that "the liquid everybody needs . . . is going private, creating one of the world's great business opportunities." Trans-national conglomerates already have privatized all or parts of the water systems of Atlanta, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Bolivia, Casablanca, Charleston, Chattanooga, Ghana, Houston, Jacksonville, Jersey City, Lexington, New Orleans, Peoria, Ontario, San Francisco and other places. Today, some 10 corporations dominate the global water industry, with two French companies holding the lion's share. Most are multi-utility providers that are considered essential supporters of national infrastructure.


Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water 2002. Somewhat alarmist and partisan.

See also

New Zealand Electricity Market