In This Review

The Promise Of Privatization: A Challenge For American Foreign Policy
The Promise Of Privatization: A Challenge For American Foreign Policy
Edited by Raymond Vernon
Council on Foreign Relations, 1988, 295 pp
Purchase

The vogue for privatization needs analysis and gets a good bit of it in this interesting volume. Studies of Venezuela, the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey and several African countries tell more about the difficulties than the successes in shifting enterprises from governmental to private ownership in developing countries. The experience of Britain, the only industrial country studied, extends the cautionary tale because of the emphasis on monopolies. Professor Vernon's excellent survey shows that the push to change things is often more pragmatic than ideological and involves a wide range of considerations. The United States, he says, should be cautious about telling other countries how to order their affairs, not least because there is no "solid basis for a broadside attack" on state-owned enterprises.