Nationalization is the process of a government taking ownership and control of previously privately-held assets. These assets are usually companies, but not always. Executive Order 6102, issued by FDR, nationalized gold.

There are many examples of this happening, even in the history of the United States.

Sometimes the government creates its own corporations as well. These are covered in their own article, see Government Corporations.


Speech Relevance

From 'Encroaching Control':
The former president of the National Education Association spoke publicly on the probable need for temporary federal control of the school system in order to bring about integration in the South. The former chairman of the president's youth fitness committee has said much as we would like to keep our traditional system of local management of the schools we can no longer afford it. We must, in order to meet Russia on equal terms, adopt a same kind of nationalized program they have. The health, education and welfare department has quadrupled its staff.
Here, Reagan is sharing some of the reasons why the government might try to take control, then explains that part of the government have already increased their staff to compensate.
I doubt if the American people would ever out, outright for the nationalization of industry as we saw it take place in England a few years ago, but in spite of this, we find that the federal government owns and operates more than 19,000 businesses covering 47 different lines of activity. It ranges from the distilling of rum to the manufacture of surgical and dental equipment. 700 government corporations have an estimated book value of $260 billion. They operate tax-free, rent-free, dividend-free, in direct competition with our own citizens and each year lose billions of dollars in this operation.
A recently found Reagan article gives citation regarding the Federal ownership of businesses.
In May 1960 during testimony before the Senate Small Business Subcommittee on Relations of Business with Government, Elmer B. Staats, Deputy Director of the Bureau of the Budget, said that as of July 31, 1959, the government owned and operated 17,507 businesses.
Reagan does not expand on the names of these companies (in 'Encroaching Control'), except in mentioning the Spruce Products Corporation. In the previously mentioned article, Reagan mentions two others: the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation (ed. note: Farm Mortgage Refinancing Act, January 31, 1934, Farm Credit Administration). A document from the GAO (Government Accountability Office) references the "Virgin Island Corporation and a rum distillery."

Modern contemporaries of these "19,000 businesses" would be Amtrak, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Americorp.


Source Links

Nationalization (Wikipedia)

Corporations in the United States (Wikipedia)

U.S.GAO - B-25040, APRIL 15, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 928 document about Virgin Island Corporation