Privatization: Property and the Remaking of Nature-Society Relations

In Privatization, Becky Mansfield et alii argue that contemporary privatization remakes nature-society as property and transforms people’s relationships to themselves, each other, and the natural world. This groundbreaking collection provides the first systematic analysis of neo-liberal privatization.

Rich case studies of privatization in the making reveal both the pivotal role that privatization plays in neoliberalism and new opportunities for challenging neo-liberal hegemony.

  • Rich case studies linked to broader questions on neoliberalism
  • Illustrates the importance of property relation and the complexities existing in the meaning and practice of property
  • Extends current geographical scholarship on neoliberalism –including neoliberalism and nature
  • Each essay touches on the disciplinary, regulatory dimensions of privatization
  • Highlights the importance of privatization, both broadly and specifically



Becky Mansfield is professor of Geography at Ohio State University and author of many books and papers. She is obviously a liberal and as such no wonder she is a harsh critic of free market environmentalism (FME) which advocates private property of natural resources, markets and deregulation.

She considers that private property is a form of dispossession that separates individuals from the means of production and forces them into wage labor. Of course it creates owners and make them efficient and profit seeking.(Locke)

However Mansfield states that beyond individual efficiency “property rights serve critical functions in making capitalist markets possible and the premise on which commodification, marketization and deregulation are built “

She considers that it is through privatization that neoliberalism becomes possible and remakes nature/society relation.

I do think that FME advocates should take into account Mansfield’s and the seven contributor’s papers to avoid some backlash from progressives and reach a middle of the road consensus or at least understand why so many good faith think tanks do not agree .(especially in Continental Europe)

Max Falque