Why was state ownership initiated and how was it so widely extended during the 20th century? Why has state owned property during different periods been privatised and how was these operations conducted?
In this project we seek to advance the story about central issues of state ownership and privatisation in Sweden from a long-term perspective. In short, the purpose of the project is three-folded.
First, analysing the driving forces behind state ownership since the mid-1800s and in particular highlight periods when state ownership has increased widely. The driving forces behind nationalisation has rarely been based on ideological grounds, instead the main reason, among others, has been in the wake of economic crises, and the government has acted as “owner-of-last-resort”.
Second, the project will analyse the first privatisation process that occurred in the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, with help of an earlier classified source material (the minutes of the so-called “Privatisation Committee”).
Third, the project will highlight the privatisation occurring right now where the conservative-liberal government intended to sell 6 state-owned companies, for instance the bank Nordea and the mortgage institute SBAB. So far the government have sold parts of the Telecom company Telia-Sonera, and the entire liquor company Vin & Sprit). In the wake of the current financial crisis the privatisation process has stopped and in one case even been reversed (the financial institute Carnegie).
These issues will be analysed in the light of the experiences gathered during the privatisation process in the previous planned economies in Central and Eastern Europe the last two decades. During these operations a lot of new knowledge about different modes of privatisation and their outcomes has been generated, and the point of departure for this project is to analyze the privatisation in Sweden from an international perspective, which can give us new insight about this processes. Still, major questions remain open in the case of Swedish privatisations.