Chapter 7: Poverty, Policy and the Politics of Competitiveness
7. Poverty policy and the politics of competitiveness Paul Cammack INTRODUCTION New institutional arrangements associated with the rise of neoliberal governmental rationality are said to be shifting governance out of the hands of the state to local or subnational and supranational levels of governance, to civil society and the market, and to horizontal networks of various kinds. This has prompted Hajer to talk of an institutional void in which ‘there are no clear rules and norms according to which politics is to be conducted and policy measures are to be agreed upon’ (Hajer, 2003, p. 175; see also Swyngedouw, 2005, p. 1992). Global public policy concerning poverty is certainly ‘located within an increasingly complex, multiple and overlapping network of interactions which are embedded in a transnational and subnational polity and economy’ (Chapter 1, p. 3). But the resulting policymaking arena is anything but an institutional void. First, there is a consensus among global governing elites and international institutions on policies appropriate for the alleviation of poverty. Its logic has moved beyond the replacement of Keynesian macroeconomic management by the neoliberal trinity of deregulation, privatization and free trade – rather than simply relying on markets, the aim is to restructure social institutions and relations in order to promote entrepreneurship and create, in the words of the World Bank (2004a), ‘a better investment climate for everyone’. Second, a variety of mechanisms have been developed to disseminate this consensus across developed and developing countries alike. Third, their objective is to make states the e...
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