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Alfons Bora

This chapter introduces in depth the scientific models and theories which have captured the idea of “shaping society” with their conceptual language. These scientific models are analysed from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. The underlying intuition is that a deeper understanding of the respective semantics will also improve our comprehension of the social structures in the field. The semantics of governance captures a widespread contemporary description of the exercise of power and its legitimation. Governance is understood as a form of statehood mainly characterized by negotiation and co-operation, in contrast to hierarchical steering, rule-making, enforcement and sanctioning. To a certain extent, governance has turned the scales against the more traditional concepts of law and regulation, which bear some connotations of the nineteenth and twentieth century nation-state and have allegedly become rather outdated models of societal organization. Contrary to this widespread intuition within the governance debate, the chapter demonstrates that the perspective of law and regulation is still fruitful for conceptualizing the relation between the different fields and subsystems of modern society. While governance indeed expanded the analytical realm towards new instruments of control and the new actors involved in decision-making, it did so all the while preserving and even strengthening the idea of controlling and powerfully shaping societal conditions. The chapter therefore suggests recollecting the functional nucleus of “governance” within the terminology of “regulation”. Such a nucleus places particular emphasis on the “ruling part” of governance semantics which (a) remains deeply concerned with questions of exercising influence and (b) feeds to a large extent on legal sources.

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References

New Modes of Shaping Social Change?

Edited by Regine Paul, Marc Mölders, Alfons Bora, Michael Huber and Peter Münte

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Preface

New Modes of Shaping Social Change?

Alfons Bora and Michael Huber

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Regine Paul and Marc Mölders

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Paul Verbruggen and Tetty Havinga

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Christian Koenig and Bernhard von Wendland

Regulation is the key to overcoming the tyranny of the marketplace in the pursuit of economic justice and welfare: it can prevent the abuse of economic dominance. Such abuse undermines a functioning market, the economic motor to producing welfare, sustainability and inclusiveness. Abuse of public capital is as omnipresent as the abuse of market dominance by private capital. The state can make major investments or compete with the private sector, or pick winners and subsidise them. Such interventions may be necessary e.g. to provide infrastructure. The wasteful allocation of public monies, however, can do immense harm: it can crowd out private investments, distort private incentives and help foreclosing markets. In any case, it deviates scarce funds from those who need them most. Therefore, regulation of state aid and public procurement is just as essential as regulation against the abuse of market dominance by private capital. State monopolies have been another public cause of economic exploitation until the recent past. Besides poor quality of service, consumer bondage within state monopolies used to entail much higher prices for services compared to liberalised markets in other jurisdictions. After liberalisation though, complex and well-adjusted regulation is crucial to induce functioning competition and to allocate the welfare benefits from liberalisation. Keywords: abuse of market dominance, liberalisation, state aid, states monopolies, regulation

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  • Elgar Research Reviews in Business

David Coen and Wyn Grant

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Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk

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Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk