Privatizing Power: The ‘Lean’ State and the Armed Forces

  • Herbert Wulf


Privatization of military and security services embraces a wide variety of different concepts and developments. Privatization, occasionally also called commercialization or outsourcing, includes — willingly or unwillingly — giving up state authority in the exercise of the monopoly of violence. As already mentioned in the introduction I differentiate between two principally different types of privatization of power or violence. The first type, bottom-up privatization, describes activities of non-state actors, who use violence for their own political or economic gain. Usually, these actors operate without the authorization of state authorities or even against their explicit wishes, though occasionally representatives of the state system are also accomplices. These non-state actors, who can also be classified as violence entrepreneurs, such as militias, warlords, organized criminals, rebels, insurgents, secessionist movements and gangs, create a situation of insidious insecurity.9


Armed Force Private Company Geneva Convention Special Rapporteur Security Company 
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© Herbert Wulf 2005

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  • Herbert Wulf

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