Legitimized by the arguments of efficiency gains, public housing, pensions, unemployment insurance and health care are all being gradually privatized. In many countries, even the state’s ‘night-watchmen’ role of providing security is offered by private prisons and security guards. In the face of these and other developments, this book argues that on the basis of efficiency, morality and equality there is still an overwhelming need for public intervention – the res publica.
Public or Private Goods? brings together leading scholars from various disciplines including economics, sociology, political science, geography and spatial planning. The book explores core public tasks that the state has traditionally provided but which are increasingly privatized and subsumed into the private sector. For example, although the state still funds and regulates core domains, it provides fewer and fewer visible goods. The authors show how this apparent invisibility of the state presents serious challenges for both income equality and democracy.
This thoughtful interdisciplinary book will appeal to advanced students and academics in political science, public sector economics and public finance. It will also provide stimulating reading for politicians, policymakers and anyone interested in the provision of public services.