Chapter 2 Modern Governance: The Challenges for Policy Analysis
The nature of policy work depends on the context – the context has been changing in the last
decade. This chapter reviews the key forces underpinning this change: globalization, political
culture, and governance.
Public policy: a course of action inaction undertaken by public authorities to address a problem or
interrelated set of problems.
Policy analysis: disciplined application of intellect to public problems
In Canada, as elsewhere, the impact of the new economic order, the information revolution and
the growing populist demand for greater public participation as a means of solving problems is
being felt in virtually every sector and in every areas of government activity.
There are three powerful undercurrents beneath the waves of political turmoil and policy reversal
evident in Canada and throughout the industrialized world;. They are globalization, shifts in
political culture, and new ideas about governance and public management.
Thomas Friedman – globalization is the overarching international system shaping domestic
politics and foreign relations of virtually every country. It is a dynamic process that involves
inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies. Its driving idea is free market
capitialsim – which alls global economic forces to penetrate domestic economies.
It has its own dominant culture – largely American/western, has its own international balaice of
power – between nation states.
Recognizes that people live in communities that are deeply rooted and will bend only so far in the
face of global economics and cultural forces.
Scholte – recognizes four ‘cul-de-sacs’ in conceptualizing globalization: internationalization,
liberalization (removing restrictions between countries) universalization, and westernization. –
argues that ideas only built on these conceptions fail to understand that these have existed long
before modern globalization officially existed.
Globality – the sense that the entire planet is a single social sphere. Contemporary globalization is
defined by globality, which in turn is defined by information and communications technologies
and the Internet.
We explore contemporary globalization in terms of five ‘scapes’: ethnoscapes (movement of
people) technoscapes (internet etc) fincancescapes (financial flows) mediascapes (global media
coverage) ideoscapes (flow of ideologies) – globality is the sense that these scapes – despite their
heterogeneity – merge seamlessly and simultaneously in an almost ordinary way.
There has been a major economic transformation in the past 50 years – development of
international trading system (GATT, WTO, IMF) – the long ward trend has been of world trade
steadily upwards (including immigration)
Trans-national Corporations: an economic dimension of globalization (not in themselves new –ex
hudsons bay co.) different about new ones is that their commercial interests are primary, they
operate across the globe, and their national home base is relatively unimportant.
Final aspect of economic globalization is the increase in capital flows and mobility – millions if
individuals now invest in stocks, bonds, and currencies. Consequences of economic globalization:
development of international trading regimes means that governments have fewer policy
instruments at their disposal to protect domestic markets. Due to governments deliberately
entering into agreements to increase trade and investment that constrains their own powers to
discriminate in favour of their domestic industries or workforce.
Companies and people can more easily evade the traditional instruments at the disposal of
governments ex. Taxation, regulations, surveillance.
May drive a ‘race to the bottom’ as they try to attract international capital through lower and
lower standards. – counter argument – ‘California effect’ – trade can lead to higher
environmental standards as political jurisdictions with higher standards force foreign producers in
nations with weaker domestic standards to meet their standards.
Induces mutual interdependence and integration so that everyone is interested in everyone else’s
business. Ex negative in instances like mad cow outbreak and SARS.
Importance of States
- Act as facilitators not victims of globalization. Are important for managing the international
trade system and coordinating global responses to economic crises.
- Crucial for creating the regulatory and infrastructure texts for success.
- Economic globalization doesn’t mean the decline of government but a reconfiguration of its
activities using new instruments and facing new challenges.
- Countries still try to protect their economies as much as they can, and this can impede
institutional progress. – many individuals are concerned with inequality and threats to their
culture that globalization may bring and fear it’ll take away their jobs.
- Globalization of culture means ‘sameness’. Massive penetration of American culture – ex coke,
Hollywood etc means there is pervasive sameness t capital cities worldwide.
- Counter argument to view above is that it portends to a growing awareness of differences and an
emphasis on particularities – no longer makes it possible for people to see their own culture as
‘natural’ and the only single possible world.
- Media (TV, films) have a homogenizing dynamic, but the internet has the potential to permit the
development of differences – it is possible for the American cultural dominance to come to web
still ex. iTunes dominates the per-pay music scene.
- Globalization threatens local cultural traditions, destabilizes cult