What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli

What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli
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Updated 26 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli

What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli

Many governmental functions today—from the management of prisons and welfare offices to warfare and financial regulation—are outsourced to private entities. Education and health care are funded in part through private philanthropy rather than taxation. Can a privatized government rule legitimately? The Privatized State argues that it cannot.

In this boldly provocative book, Chiara Cordelli argues that privatization constitutes a regression to a precivil condition—what philosophers centuries ago called “a state of nature.” Developing a compelling case for the democratic state and its administrative apparatus, she shows how privatization reproduces the very same defects that Enlightenment thinkers attributed to the precivil condition, and which only properly constituted political institutions can overcome—defects such as provisional justice, undue dependence, and unfreedom. 

Cordelli advocates for constitutional limits on privatization and a more democratic system of public administration, and lays out the central responsibilities of private actors in contexts where governance is already extensively privatized. 

Charting a way forward, she presents a new conceptual account of political representation and novel philosophical theories of democratic authority and legitimate lawmaking.

The Privatized State shows how privatization undermines the very reason political institutions exist in the first place, and advocates for a new way of administering public affairs that is more democratic and just.


What We Are Reading Today: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

What We Are Reading Today: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Updated 25 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

What We Are Reading Today: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant — in the blink of an eye — that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?

In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple, the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball and the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. 

Blink reveals that great decision-makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of “thin-slicing” — filtering the very
few factors that matter from a number of variables.