The progressive expansion of private activities within the public supply of cultural goods and services seems consistent with a wider trend of the State, shifting from the authoritarian to the negotial paradigm. Although an effective attribution of competences and tasks can prove beneficial, advocates of the «minimal State» tend to limit the areas for public intervention, leaving most sectors to the rules of the marketplace. The recent legislative innovations of the Italian system appear even more advanced than this, pushing the State towards a purely commercial paradigm, where cultural heritage is used as a means to obtain loans from the private sector. This implies the realistic outcome of a general sale of cultural products, that would flow into private hands. Alternative strategies, aimed at responsibility, could improve effectiveness of cultural policy avoiding the risks of a wild privatisation.