Edited by John Farrar and David G. Mayes
Chapter 2: Modernising the state: the New Zealand experience
Globalisation has not only changed the nature and operation of the financial and economic systems, it has also affected the nature and role of the state and the relationship between state institutions and citizens. Much has been written about the affect of globalisation on the state from the perspective of international relations experts. Susan Strange’s seminal work The Retreat of the State (1996) analysed the influence of global markets, transnational companies and technology on the power and influence of the state. Although Strange observed that ‘the casting of vote from time to time becomes a symbolic act’, she also noted, ‘The shift from state authority to market authority has been in large part the result of state policies’ (1996, pp. 44, 197). In the New Zealand context I would challenge the first observation which implies that the individual has no influence or power over the decisions of their governments, but would agree with the second observation and offer New Zealand as a case study of a state embracing and promoting the institutions, policies and ideology of globalisation from 1984 to 1996. Since that initial enthusiastic embrace of globalisation, New Zealand has embarked on a process of trying to find a balance between reconciling the reality of the free market with adherence to the concept of social protection for all citizens.
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