Governance, Globalization and Public Policy
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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.
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Chapter 2: Economism and Public Policy

Adrian Kay


Adrian Kay INTRODUCTION A significant and consistent feature of the globalization debate is the contention that there now exists a series of non-negotiable external economic constraints on policy, which render certain policy choices ‘necessary’ in order for governments and workers to survive the forces of globalization. The argument usually develops that the globalization of economic activity exceeds the regulatory reach of national governments; simultaneously, the existing multilateral institutions of global economic governance are too weak to control this process; and thus global markets may effectively escape political regulation. Further, the exigencies of global competition impose a certain set of economic governance structures on national governments, which to resist or avoid runs the risk that nationally located economic activity will rapidly shift to other economic spaces with more favourable governance structures. One crucial aspect of these new governance structures is the ascendancy of economic modes of thinking within the policy process. The term ‘economism’ is employed in this chapter to refer to governance structures where economic logic or economically inspired advice is institutionally embedded, normalized and held as necessary in the determination of policy choices. The concept comes from Marxist history and originally referred to the belief that the economic mode of production absolutely determines a society’s social, political and intellectual life. However, it has come to have a more specific contemporary meaning as the transcendence of economic logic in the development, implementation and evaluation of public policy (Teivainen, 2002). The characteristic of this process has been a...

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