The New Regulatory Space
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The New Regulatory Space

Reframing Democratic Governance

Frank Vibert

This groundbreaking book analyses changing patterns of governance in modern democratic societies. Frank Vibert discusses how far we should be concerned about such changes and what we should be concerned about. Crucially, Vibert clarifies the status of regulation, revealing how regulation should be viewed, not only as a technique offering specific responses to particular policy problems, but also in its new role as the key mechanism for making adjustments between the different systems of coordination used in contemporary governance.
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Chapter 1: Defining the regulatory space

Frank Vibert


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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