Taming the Regulatory State
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Taming the Regulatory State

Politics and Ethics

Noralv Veggeland

Taming the Regulatory State incisively analyses the regulatory top-down regimes that are currently dominant and in crisis. Taking a critical perspective, the book offers an account of the inherent vulnerability of the regulatory state caused by one-sided economic thinking and the predominance of governing through hard regulation.
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Chapter 1: The Arrival of the Regulatory State – and its Exit?

Noralv Veggeland


INTRODUCTION What does regulation mean with regard to the contemporary polity? Under the heading of ‘The Rise of the Regulatory State in Europe’, Giandomenico Majone has offered one succinct answer: ‘Privatisation and deregulation have created the conditions for the rise of the regulatory state to replace the dirigiste state of the past’ (1994: 77). He continued to explain that, ‘Reliance on regulation – rather than public ownership, planning or centralised administration – characterises the methods of the regulatory state’. Other scholars have formulated a wider definition with reference to societal values. Phillip Selznick has, for instance, provided an understanding of regulation that is of particular relevance to this book. He states that the central meaning of regulation ‘refers to sustained and focused control exercised by a public agency over activities that are valued by a community’ (Selznick 1985: 363). According to Selznick, the emphasis on valued communal activities is important because the regulatory effort helps to uphold public standards, ethics and norms. Thus, in its widest sense, we may define regulation as the totality of all mechanisms of social protection and control (Jordana and Levi-Faur 2004: 3). We may, however, differentiate these mechanisms. In our context, there are four explanatory conceptions of regulation that can be put forward (Baldwin et al. 1998): 1. 2. 3. 4. Law-directed conception: regulation as authoritative rules. Economics-directed conception: regulation as efforts of state agencies to manage the economy. Politics-directed conception: regulation as mechanisms of steering and democratic control. Sustainability-directed conception: regulation as a mean to handle...

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