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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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February 7, 2005

I've started reading Michael Keating's Who Rules: How Government retains control of a privatised economy. John Quiggin has read the book and his comments are here.

Keating says that the main purpose of the book: to critically examine [the] contention that marketisation of government necessarily leads to a loss of state power and policy direction. Instead of viewing the relationship between markets and government as a struggle for power, their mutual dependence should also be considered.

That is a fruitful perspective and it is one that Keating adopts. He rejects the libertarian view that government is unwelcome intruder into the sovereignty of individualist market forces.Keating also rejects the political Left view of rolling back the market and re-regulating capital markets.

Keating then goes on to say that the thesis he will explore is:

...that markets can be most often managed to assist in the achievement of many of the state's policy directions and goals. Indeed, a principle theme is that the shift to marketisation largely represents an attempt by governments to enahnce or restore power to achieve the economic and social objectives, while minimising any loss of efficency.

So the book is a middle way between the critics of marketisaton of the state, who claim that the state has lost its capacity to govern, and those who argue for a minimal state role in favour of totally free markets.The middle way places an emphasis on the power and the capacity of the state to decide and implement preferred courses of action to make a difference to the economy and society.

This overlaps with Foucault's governmentality approach, but Keating makes no reference to Foucault.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:58 AM | | Comments (0)