The purpose of this volume is to address privatization as an issue of globalization, to give it a history apart from the totalizing notion of neoliberalism and the prescriptive models of economic theory. The consensus among social theorists and observers is that this global process of privatization is a result of neoliberalism, a practice and ideology whose central tenet is the primacy of markets. Certainly, the rhetoric and policies of neoliberalism have been spreading rapidly throughout the globe, but the blanket use of this concept has not enabled us to get inside the real social and political transformations that marked the last decades of the twentieth century. The writers in this volume introduce the particularities of social and labor histories and locate privatization in narratives of class politics and struggle. Bringing social and labor history into the analyses of privatization, at the same time, these essays put labor history, often monographically focused, into larger discussions of the state and capitalism. These essays make the class agenda of privatization explicit, viewing it not just as the "opening of markets," but as clear assaults on the working classes and on the public claims that workers and citizens are able to make on the economy's resources and productivity.