Privatization, Structural Dependence, and the Problem of Legitimacy


  • Chiara Cordelli University of Chicago, United States



How should a normative evaluation of the merits and demerits of privatization proceed? In response to Joseph Heath’s approach to this question, I first argue that the difference between core and economic functions is not as relevant to establish the limits of privatization, as Heath suggests. I claim, second, that Heath problematically neglects the structural and aggregative effects of privatization. An instance of privatization that, if analyzed in isolation, is anodyne may no longer be so when seen as a further contribution to an already expansive process of privatization. Finally, I argue that Heath fails to consider the risks that pervasive privatization poses in terms of democratic legitimacy, by giving rise to a situation where, on the one hand, citizens are dominated by a privatized state and, on the other hand, the state itself is dominated by private actors.

Author Biography

Chiara Cordelli, University of Chicago, United States

Chiara Cordelli is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author of The Privatized State (Princeton University Press, 2020).




How to Cite

Cordelli, C. (2024). Privatization, Structural Dependence, and the Problem of Legitimacy. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 16(2), 66–84.