Lisa Maria Herzog
University of Groningen
European Journal of Political Theory, Ahead of Print. The legitimacy of putting public activities – such as providing education and welfare, but also running prisons or providing military services – into the hands of private companies is hotly contested. In The Privatized State, Chiara Cordelli puts forward an original argument, from a Kantian perspective, for why it is problematic: it replaces the omnilateral will of all citizens, which is realized through public institutions, with the unilateral will of agents to whom these activities have been delegated. While adding an important dimension to the debate, I am not fully convinced that private institutions always fail to realize the omnilateral will, and that this is the only, or always most central, normative problem of privatization. Instead, many concrete cases of privatization seem normatively overdetermined in their wrongness. Nonetheless, Cordelli’s brilliant discussion invites us to rethink these phenomena from an important angle and helps us to better understand what an ideal civil service would look like.
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DOI 10.1177/14748851211038725
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