, or nationalisation
, is the process of transforming private assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government
or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets or assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being transferred to the state. The opposites of nationalization are privatization, municipalization and demutualization. When previously nationalized assets are privatized and subsequently
returned to public ownership by a later government, they are said to have undergone renationalization
. Industries that are usually subject to nationalization include transport, communications, energy, banking and natural resources
Nationalization may occur with or without compensation to the former owners. Nationalization is distinguished from property redistribution in that the government retains control of nationalized property. Some nationalizations take place when a government seizes property acquired illegally. For example, in 1945 the French government seized the car-makers Renault because its owners had collaborated with the Nazi occupiers of France.
Nationalization is to be distinguished from "socialization
", which refers to the process of restructuring the economic framework, organizational structure
, and institutions of an economy on a socialist
basis. By contrast, nationalization does not necessarily imply social ownership and the restructuring of the economic system. By itself, nationalization has nothing to do with socialism
, having been historically carried out for various different purposes under a wide variety of different political systems and economic systems. However, nationalization is, in most cases, opposed by laissez faire
capitalists as it is perceived as excessive
in, and control of, economic affairs of individual citizens.