Privatization and development : insights from a holistic approach with special reference to the case of Jordan
After three decades of state intervention throughout the world the 1980s and 1990s have seen a marked reversal. Instead of government control and centralized planning there has been a renewed emphasis on market-oriented strategy. Privatization constitutes one of the cornerstones of this strategy. The relationship between privatization and development is complex because privatization transforms the institutional framework through which people usually expound, negotiate, and promote their individual and group interests. In theory, privatization should assist in overcoming the problems of poverty and sustainable development through the "trickle down" effect. In this thesis, however, it will be argued that privatization in developing countries and in Jordan as a case study would not exclusively lead, on the grounds of efficiency, to a successful cure for the economic ills of those countries. The thesis also developed and applied to Jordan a methodology of analyzing privatization which departs from the mainstream view. This methodology considers privatization as one part of a whole system and can be understood within the context of development only in terms of the whole system. Thus, privatization is linked as an economic, social and political phenomenon with decentralization, participation, and development. The thesis concluded that development may mean decentralization, which certainly means participation, but privatization will not necessarily secure participation. It depends on how it is designed and implemented. If privatization is to be sustainable and people-centred, it _ has to be gradual, relatively crisis-free, untroubled and unenforced, marked by the fusion of collective participation from below (e.g., grass roots) and individual participation in the market place. This will depend exclusively on the commitment of the decision makers and their vision of empowering the people.