The concept of privatization attracted much attention in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as Margaret Thatcher's privatization policies were implemented in the United Kingdom. My goal here is not to comment on the merits of privatization as a policy, but rather to investigate the history of the term "privatization" in economics and to shed some light on the context in which the word was coined. Although the origin of the term is often attributed to a 1969 book by Peter Drucker, I will show that this attribution is incorrect, and that the terminology of privatization played an evolving role in German economic policy from the 1930s through the 1950s.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.