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

politics as management « Previous | |Next »
December 19, 2008

Historically, the right argued in favour of framing the market in a state managed by a highly skilled technocratic elite, albeit under a degree of political control, while coupling this with social solidarity managed by the state. The left sought to bring about egalitarian outcomes through social engineering and disliked the market as the generator of inequality.

The social democrat view of the interventionist welfare state was seen as broken by the 1980s because the state was held to be inefficient in guiding the economy and was acting as a brake on the freedom of the individual. The solution was to withdraw the state both from its management of the economy and to some degree from regulating it and the extension of the market into areas hitherto protected from it, like health and education. The victory of liberalism was followed by the capture of liberalism itself, by those who reduced it to an overwhelmingly economic reading of it

George Schöpflin in Open Democracy says in this period of the shift to marketisation:

saw the emergence of the slogan "politics as management" - a clearer illustration of depoliticisation is hard to imagine. The idea that the market is politically neutral in effect says that political forces should not intervene in regulating the market, including the consequences of introducing market values into areas traditionally exempt, basically because markets are self-correcting and will return to the optimal outcome, equilibrium.The result of this depoliticisation, that there are key areas of activity to which political and social considerations do not apply, has been a kind of political vacuum, now increasingly occupied by populist narratives.

Schöpflin says that the ideals of egalitarianism, social solidarity and social justice have been badly bruised in this process. The major income inequalities that have resulted have simultaneously affected the life-chances of significant sections of society and have left them without much of a stake in the system, especially where cumulative losers are concerned.

In Australia the inequality caused by the global market was countered by tax cuts and tax transfers. This pattern is continuing with the structural adjustment taking place to address global warming and it indicates that the state has continued to play a far greater role in determining economic strategy and regulating the economy

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:38 AM | | Comments (10)
Comments

Comments

Now that it becomes evident that as rudds election promises slowly become defunct one by one it is interesting to watch those that voted for him and the psychology of their comments.
Some have given up, some are angry and others hold strong to "things would of been much worse with howard" and "they are just following the howard model"
Its a good laugh for me.

Why is is this sort of stuff not in the newspapers, rather than the rubbish that is?
The offshoring of manufacturing was driven by neolib desire to discipline westernised workplaces as well as exploit cheap labour and all the tax cuts in the world do not replace a busted culture.
It's true we have an extreme, overt case as to native Australians, but also the disintegration of wider civil society and its cooperativist ethic, has left a gap in people's lives that wealth can not always compensate for.

Credit where credit's due Les. Would you rather see uncritical, slavish devotion instead?

Les
re your comment---"rudds election promises slowly become defunct one by one "

Which ones do you have in mind?

Paul,
the emphasis on structural reform---the state driving the direction for the economy---under Rudd re climate change is rather weak, don't you think?

Ross Garnaut certainly thinks so. The compensation--free permits--- for the heavy polluters was too great. Nor was there a clear mechanism to wind back the free permits for heavy industry. So the possibility remains that they could be open-ended.

Lyn,
yes and I want you's all kneeling naked whipping yourselves with barbed wire.

Nan,
Well the environment result is a bit of a let down.
I can't see any kids with laptop and the very fast broadband that everybody deserved seems likely to arrive sometime next millennium.
So the outlook for education and health given the coffers are decreasing looks bleak.

But he did do a good job of saying sorry.

Well, Gary. Tru neolib reckons weak government is the go. Government should be concerned only with defence and the protection of property.
To tell individuals how they might utilise their property is a no-no, ho ho!
The only time government should intervene is in cases like Gunns in Tasmania, where ill-informed people like the Greens attempt to interfere with private property and prerogatives.
Look, when things go crook market forces will ensure the fairest allocation of scarce snorkels, life rafts, sun block and oxygen-creating equip.
Oh, for a Reynolds or a Norton, but whether they would be frank about why politicians always carry brown paper bags when meeting with "Developers", is another question.

Les,
Rudd + Swan acted decisively in dealing with the effects of the global economic crisis.

The computers are being rolled in stages (2nd stage now from memory) and agreement has been reached with the states re the ongoing and backup costs.

What hasn't happened is the national broadband network.

Paul,
was the Howard Government a weak government concerned only with defence and the protection of property?

It was a "weak" government in the sense that it tried to operate on a problematic interpretation of neolib ideology. They operated a subtle form of command economy,for the dismantling of big governemt requires big spending and big government ( and lots of consultants ), it seems!
By contrast, but as a consequence partly of this silly ideological reductionism, Howard studiously avoided any facing up to ecological realities short of outright denial and used its "strong" powers to ensure these were ignored. It allowed Gunns to ruin the Greens From another trajectory, it tampered with AQIS, CSIRO and higher education, and also public broadcasting by tampering with funding and forms of privatisation.
Real Dark Ages stuff, after the Galileo/Church example of the late middle ages, involving the "fixed stars".
The regional forestry agreements were the ecological equivalent to the obnoxious NT Intervention in social policy, where aboriginals marginalised by two centuries of injustice were to have their secure incomes removed and hounded out off their comunities to rot on the margins of white society, in order to placate supposedly offended white "taxpayers".
The post-mods would probably say what happened was an inevitable reversion to a totalising system, a default sort of sheeps corpse of feudalism that operates for grubby vested interests rather than in the maintainence of a free market providing opportunities, including for self expression for all, based on merit and application.
The current ideology refuses to contemplate the underlying economic bases, in the sense of ecological sustainability of finite scarce resource, as parts of the equation. Enviro is only ever considered in terms of Cornucopia ( fecund limitlessness), which is an appalling error of Huntingdonian proportions. Stuff within the systemis limited, but not the system itself.
Well, newsflash!
That it derives from the ignorance and prejudices of previous generations may illustrate the power of superstructure in the maintainence of the system. The underlying formation that informs neo lib ideology is as fundamentaly flawed as the flat earth theory of medieval times. The Rudd government, in the contrast and contradiction in its pronouncements and actions before and after the election, seems to demonstrate the tenacity of a closed system outside of time and space, thru continuity.
People will try to adjust, but there always seem to be a minority of parasites who will up-end the Titanic to solve the forseeable problemof allocation of life rafts before the rest of the passengers wake up. This is what happened in the US and the world this year as to the stock market crashes and bailouts.
Situational goods?