Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Liberalization, which literally is the act of making less strict, refers to the loosening of government controls. Although sometimes associated with the relaxation of laws relating to social matters such as abortion and divorce, it is most often used as an economic term. In particular, liberalization refers to reductions in restrictions on international trade and capital. Liberalization is often treated as synonymous with deregulation: that is, the removal of state restrictions on business. Although the two are, in principle, distinct (in that liberalized markets can still be subject to government regulations, for example to protect consumers), in practice both terms are generally used to refer to the freeing of markets from state intervention. Recent decades have seen a significant shift toward both liberalization and deregulation. The liberalization ...