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Via della Ricerca Scientifica 1, 00133 Roma, giulia.volp[email protected] ...... 2014]) is fostered by the privatisation of utilities and outsourcing of public services, under the encouraging banner of liberalisation.

This can be summarised in four strands: the privatisation of public firms and services and the limitation of state intervention; the loss of functions of local and central government to other agencies; the transfer of functions from national governments to EU institutions; the limitation of the discretion of civil servants via the new pattern of public management, with its emphasis on managerial accountability.

Networked individuals publicly debated genuinely “public” matters, such as demo- ....

Politics overcome political system's boundaries and dilutes itself into society ( ....

2016), specifically those sectors producing the infrastructure of social reproduction and the bases of social citizenship, such as the distribution of water and energy, the production and distribution of food, the management of waste, as well as transport, healthcare, education.

In addition, in these sectors – many of which were previously considered as public utilities – the principle of point-value applies, becoming a socially accepted driver for corporate conduct: the validity of the economic action is not measured in terms of its usefulness, nor income in the strict sense (i.e.

In this paper we describe the characteristics and social implications of this transformation, referring to a specific case: the transformation of Italian railways.

Aside from certain specific features, this is by no means an exceptional story, as similar processes have occurred in the rail systems of other European countries.

Fernand Braudel (1977) showed that in the Fifteenth century, at the dawn of the modern era, three “layers” of the economy (“floors” of a building, in Braudel’s metaphor) were at work: first, the layer of material life; second, the layer of economic life as usually understood, structured by the market; third, the layer of capitalism, which Braudel saw as an anti-market, characterised by the production of huge profits, the opacity of transactions, the imposition of prices by means of power, cunning, and the circumvention of both controls and competition.