So although privatization of everything Consisting primarily of examples and stories of how privatization failed—how charter schools perpetuated racial disparities in education, how private broadband failed to serve poor communities, how private health insurance made us sick and in debt—that made You wonder: would it be feasible to go private? If it can clean up the mess and blunders of our government, is it legal? It even explains why privatization has drawn bipartisan calls: Any criticism of public action, whether it’s public warfare or public schools, can be turned into a sales pitch for privatization. Of course, for opponents of privatization, this is an ugly question — and a clear, complete answer is desperately needed.
In her 2020 book, privatized state, Chiara Cordelli, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, tackles this problem in a way that is both simple and illuminating. “Benefiting others,” she writes, “is not enough to be the right to rule them.” The question of whether privatization is wrong is not a question of efficiency or economics. It is a political philosophy. Privatization, she argues, is a process that results in some being subject to the unilateral will of others. But, as a recent political project, democracy arose out of an apparent desire to curb the power of the private actors that define monarchical Europe. Privatization is absolutely anti-democratic, that’s all.
As is often claimed, this is not even an attempt to downsize the government. Cordelli points out that the size and scope of government has exploded since the privatization program began in the 1980s. Instead, she called privatization “the re-feudalization of the state.” The political vision of thinkers like Savass and Friedman and modern privatization fanatics like Donald Trump and Rahm Emanuel is a feudal order in which power is exercised in secret, in privately negotiated contracts, In Dynasty Private Companies, and beyond the law. From the perspective of a society that wants democracy, private government is an illegitimate government. In fact, one might argue that the whole point of democracy is to prevent privatization.