Both Chilean and British privatisation were experiments driven by business interests and shaped by a mix of free market dogma and, in the case of Britain, pragmatic politics. Yet they became models for countries that followed. And many did, to varying degrees, from Sweden and Finland in the north to Australia and New Zealand in the south. In the US where many government services were already privately-owned, although often by private monopolies, the free market push was for deregulation and the opening up of markets for competition.
In the UK, business groups and associations, such as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), played an active role in promoting privatisation as did individual corporations, consultants and financial institutions that saw potential profit for themselves in privatisation.
The promoters of privatisation all published reports selectively citing and describing privatisation success stories in the US, UK and Europe and neglecting to tell of the social costs of privatisation. They also wrote feasibility studies on privatisation and held conferences that brought together politicians, bureaucrats and private companies and consultants to discuss the wonders of privatisation.
Various economic crises have faciltated the push for privatisation, in particular, the Global Financial Crisis. Privatisation has been part of the rescue packages for European nations facing bankruptcies since 2008, including water, energy and transport in Greece, and water, transport and postal services in Italy.
- 'The Great European Fire Sale', Transnational Institute