Anodyne Privatization


  • Joseph Heath University of Toronto, Canada



Privatization of state services has been a flashpoint for political conflict over the past several decades. The goal of this paper is to explain why someone who is a supporter of the welfare state might also support the privatization of certain state services, in certain cases. Recent philosophical literature has focused on the most problematic privatization initiatives, especially the introduction of private prisons and military contractors. As a counterpoint, this paper describes a set of anodyne privatizations, understood as privatizations that no reasonable person could object to. The key step in this analysis involves showing that privatization is not a unitary phenomenon. There are different types of privatization, different degrees of privatization, and also different motives for privatization. There are also important normative differences between these initiatives, which might lead a reasonable person to support some but not others.

Author Biography

Joseph Heath, University of Toronto, Canada

Joseph Heath is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.




How to Cite

Heath, J. (2023). Anodyne Privatization. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 16(2), 25–65.