Governance, Globalization and Public Policy

Governance, Globalization and Public Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett

Governance, Globalization and Public Policy is concerned with exploring the nature of the policy arena in the context of globalization and the reconstitution of the state. The contributors to this book seek to broaden, extend and integrate theoretical, conceptual and substantive policy debates. The book begins by exploring the concepts and perspectives associated with globalization and governance, the relationship between them and the repercussions for public policy and the state. It also considers developments at the global and regional levels and the implications of the emergence of new regulatory regimes in the context of liberalization and privatization. The focus then turns to a broad range of substantive areas of public policy such as human rights, health and health care, housing markets, poverty, security and counter-terrorism.

Chapter 3: Governance, Business and Social Policy: International and National Dimensions

Kevin Farnsworth

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Kevin Farnsworth INTRODUCTION The issues of business power and influence over policymaking have reemerged in the academic literature in recent years after a hiatus spanning almost two decades. The demise of academic interest in business power mirrored the falling out of favour of Marxist ideas, and its rediscovery can be traced to the growth of interest in the global economy and the central role played by corporations in globalization processes. Despite the rekindled interest in these general themes, however, business power is often under-theorized in the literature, whilst specific issues concerning the role of business in social policymaking remain relatively under-researched. This chapter theorizes corporate power before examining how globalization has transformed the power and influence of business. It then investigates how business has helped to shape social policy internationally and nationally, taking the UK as a case-study. A THEORETICAL OUTLINE OF BUSINESS POWER In order to better conceptualize and comprehend corporate power under globalization it is useful to begin by outlining the various ways in which power is exercised by business. To facilitate this, a conceptual distinction is drawn between structural and agency power. Structural power can be defined most simply as the ability to influence social policy without exercising agency, and it is derived, not from the actions of business agents, but from the monopolization of capital: financial holdings, industrial plants and machinery. According to theories of structural power, various mechanisms restrict the choices of policymakers and the activities of labour to those...

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