Neoliberal Governance, Reproduction and Accumulation

Massimo De Angelis:

Since the mid 1980s the word “governance” has become a central “buzz word” of political speech in official publications and research papers from the offices of national governments and international institutions. Consequently, social research and commentary has also shown an increasing interest for it. A search in the British Library catalogue from the beginning of recorded time till 1975 returns 47 titles with the word “governance”, as compared to almost 1000 titles for the period between 1975 to today (May 2003).

The working hypothesis that I am trying to put to analytical test in the course of this investigation is that when we talk about governance we are talking about “global neoliberal governance”. The link between governance, neoliberal policies and the process of globalisation is of course not novel, and it has been highlighted by several authors. My contribution in this paper is to explore what can be called the critical “political economy” of governance, which to me implies, broadly speaking, investigating three types of complementary linkages: the link between governance and capital’s problematic of accumulation; the link between governance and social conflict, i.e. the problematic of social stability for accumulation; the link between governance and discourse, or governance as discourse to manage and promote that social stability which is fundamental for capital’s accumulation. These three dimensions lead to two underpinning questions. First, how is governance located in relation to neoliberal policies that have emerged and developed in the last quarter of a century? Second, how is the problematic of governance related to the phenomenon of “globalisation”, i.e. of accumulation of capital in the neoliberal period? (…)

Read full article at The Commoner, n. 7, Srping/Summer 2003:

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