Privatisation became the totem of the 1980s efforts to move our economies away from the disastrous, increasing socialism of the previous century and more.
I propose that the equivalent focus of policy that is needed today should be christened "disintegration".
Politicians persuaded that market disciplines were necessary but nevertheless seeking to drive outcomes in the way they (rather than the market) thought best, found large companies very useful. Politicians and civil servants could introduce supposedly "market measures" that placed obligations on or incentivized large companies to deliver the preferred outcomes. These cozy arrangements could be manipulated by the behemoths, who enjoyed preferential access and undue influence over policy, to create barriers to entry and privileged commercial positions. We found ourselves in many sectors of the economy with bloated businesses "too big to fail".
One of the few valid activities of government in the economic field is to ensure competitive markets so that products are delivered to customers as efficiently as possible. Size and economies of scale may deliver cost reductions, but if that is not accompanies by strong competition, that is more likely to result in increased profits for the privileged few than it is to produce lowest costs for consumers (the real objective of a free-market economy). It is competition, not economies of scale, that reduces prices. The combination of both may produce the best result, but in many cases, big means flabby, not efficient. If scale genuinely deliveres efficiencies, a competitive market will tend in that direction.
So we must embark on a programme of "disintegration" of our vertically- and horizontally-integrated companies. Retail banks must be separated from commercial and investment banks. And large nationalized banks should be broken into smaller, competitive pieces (small enough to fail) before being returned to the private sector.
We must disintegrate the bloated Vertically-Integrated Large Energy companies (VILE companies for short) whose combination of supply, distribution and generation prevents liquid markets from emerging, and provides anti-competitive advantage from the guaranteed profits from the regulated distribution businesses.
We must disintegrate the dominant supplier of computer operating systems from the supply of software and hardware (i.e. no tie-ins with manufacturers, where they are forced to charge for a copy of Windows with every machine that they sell, if they want a decent price for the OS, regardless of whether the machine will actually be loaded with Windows).
And there will be many more. I expect to return to this subject frequently. But for now, remember that word: disintegration. It may take the next decade to gain traction in the political world, but it will eventually come to be seen as essential as privatisation to a functioning market economy. This is the battleground of the future.