The Case Against Privatization

Philosophy & Public Affairs (2013 Forthcoming)

30 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2012 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015

See all articles by Avihay Dorfman

Avihay Dorfman

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Alon Harel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 15, 2012


This article develops a non-instrumental argument against privatization of certain forms of political violence. Its primary foci are the privatization of prisons and the use of mercenaries in wars. The article maintains that some governmental decisions simply cannot be executed by private entities. While private individuals may act in conformity with the state's orders, such conformity cannot count as an execution of the order of the state and cannot be attributed to the state. Conformity that does not constitute an execution of the state's order, in turn, fails to realize the ends for the sake of which the infliction of force is justified, i.e., condemnation of the criminal behavior (in the case of punishment) and fighting for the polity’s public good (in the case of wars).

Keywords: privatization, public officials, political legitimation, punishment, war

Suggested Citation

Dorfman, Avihay and Harel, Alon, The Case Against Privatization (November 15, 2012). Philosophy & Public Affairs (2013 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Avihay Dorfman (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv, 69978

Alon Harel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
97 22 588 2582 (Phone)
97 22 582 3042 (Fax)

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