In recent years, in both the specialist press and the tabloids, the idea of privatization of social security has become a shimmering catch phrase. Politicians base election campaigns on promises of more or less privatization in social security. Many governments introduce private business management methods into their social security systems. Representatives of social security institutions and academics prepare theory papers on the possible outcomes of privatization. And international financial organizations describe doomsday scenarios based on the premise of failure to privatize.What is the role of privatization today in the development of national social security systems? How does privatization concern the developments in different social security programs such as old age, sickness, unemployment, accident insurance and family allowances? What are the visions and effects of privatization in social security?This volume provides an overview of the various positions of supporters and opponents of privatization in the main branches of social security, followed by national experience of privatized or part-privatized social security systems. While the perspective of each of the contributors is markedly different, the overall objective cuts across differences: namely, to develop the most efficient and cost-effective system of social security protection.The authors' views and knowledge are derived from their firsthand experiences with social security in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Representatives of the leading international organizations dealing with social security issues-the International Labour Organization, the OECD, the World Bank and the World Health Organization-further expand the parameters of the viewpoints and experiences expressed.This multifaceted book allows the reader to learn about the challenge of privatization in the various forms of social security by assembling a set of highly up-to-date, technically complex and legal issues based on practical analysis and actual experience. It will be of interest to those concerned with national social policy in a comparative context. This is the sixth volume in an ongoing series that aims to review social security in a comparative, global context. Xenia Scheil-Adlung is program manager, International Social Security Association, Geneva, Switzerland.