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The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back

Regular price $ 18.99

by Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian

New Press

4/11/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781620977972


A sweeping exposé of the ways in which private interests strip public goods of their power and diminish democracy, the hardcover edition of The Privatization of Everything elicited a wide spectrum of praise: Kirkus Reviews hailed it as "a strong, economics-based argument for restoring the boundaries between public goods and private gains," Literary Hub featured the book on a Best Nonfiction list, calling it "a far-reaching, comprehensible, and necessary book," and Publishers Weekly dubbed it a "persuasive takedown of the idea that the private sector knows best."

From Diane Ravitch ("an important new book about the dangers of privatization") to Heather McGhee ("a well-researched call to action"), the rave reviews mirror the expansive nature of the book itself, covering the impact of privatization on every aspect of our lives, from water and trash collection to the justice system and the military. Cohen and Mikaelian also demonstrate how citizens can--and are--wresting back what is ours: A Montana city took back its water infrastructure after finding that they could do it better and cheaper. Colorado towns fought back well-funded campaigns to preserve telecom monopolies and hamstring public broadband. A motivated lawyer fought all the way to the Supreme Court after the state of Georgia erected privatized paywalls around its legal code.

"Enlightening and sobering" (Rosanne Cash), The Privatization of Everything connects the dots across a wide range of issues and offers what Cash calls "a progressive voice with a firm eye on justice [that] can carefully parse out complex issues for those of us who take pride in citizenship."


"Deserves a wide readership, and would be an informative and appropriate addition to courses in urban politics and public administration, but also potentially courses on democratic theory, American politics, and contemporary political economy." -- Journal of Urban Affairs

"Cohen and Mikaelian have written a seminal book on how government went wrong in the age of Reagan--an essential resource for future reformers on how not to govern." -- The American Prospect

"Privatization has become disturbingly widespread, as Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian show in their new book, The Privatization of Everything, seeping into every aspect of our society, from our schools, to our food inspection, to weather forecasting, to even the administration of our public welfare systems." -- The New Republic

"Brilliantly distills and illustrates the critically important idea that our public goods should be controlled by the American people." -- Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains

About the Authors:

Donald Cohen is the founder and executive director of the research and policy center In the Public Interest and the co-author (with Allen Mikaelian) of The Privatization of Everything and It's Never Our Fault (And Other Shameless Excuses) (with Nick Hanauer, Joan Walsh, and Zachary Roth). He lives in Los Angeles.

Allen Mikaelian is a New York Times bestselling author. The co-author (with Donald Cohen) of The Privatization of Everything, he lives in Washington, DC.