Contracts between the state (or its agents) and individual citizens who are dependent on, and required to consume, these services do not much resemble the economic and legal fictions of agreements between freely exchanging individuals. These are compulsory or coerced contracts, initiated and enforced through power differentials between users and state agents. More generally, though, the attempt to use choice as a ‘liberation’ of the citizen from public monopolies is intended to act as a discipline on producer power, requiring producers to compete to attract (non-cash paying) customers). Being competitive and successful are thus naturalised as dominant organisational imperatives for schools, trusts and hospitals.
Janet Newman and John Clarke, Publics, Politics and Power (London, 2009), 81.