Chapter 1: Defining the regulatory space
Modern societies rely on four traditional ways for coordinating the aspirations of individuals with the aspirations of society as a whole. First, habit, tradition and social convention continue to play an important role in governing relationships even in a fast-changing world. Secondly, there is a world of the market economy that brings together buyers and sellers of goods and services. The term 'market economy' is a blanket term. Its use should not obscure the many different ways in which different markets are constructed within the total economy in order to bring buyers and sellers together. Thirdly, there is the role of law - long associated with easing the task of establishing and maintaining relationships, expectations about behaviour and resolving disputes when there is distance, physical or cultural or generational, between the parties to a transaction. Finally there is the role of democratic politics. Most people do not want to spend too much of their time on politics unless a public policy is of immediate salience to them. Nevertheless, democracies allow everyone to have a voice. When there are disputes in society about those things that affect everyone, or distributional issues that cut across different generations, such as pension provision, democratic politics provides a potential way of resolving the differences or keeping differences manageable. These traditional means of social coordination are used in ever-changing mixes and combinations.
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