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POLS 3470 (14)
Tim Mau (14)
Chapter 3

Uneasy Partnership, Chapter 3- Sources and Limits of Business Influence- Theories of Business-Government Relations .docx

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Political Science
POLS 3470
Tim Mau

Chapter 3: Sources and Limits of Business Influence: Theories of Business- Government Relations Definitions are in bold Changing atmosphere of economic and political systems through: dismantling nationalist and protectionist policies, expansion of trade agreements -has been largely applauded by corporate community Firm-centred industry culture with emphasis on -self sufficiency of individual businesses and the capacity of most business sectors to function without direct state interference or support in the economic marketplace -independence of management in making decisions on investment and workplace organization as opposed to legislated provisions for union participation as in some European countries -limits on the institution of politics into economic decision making, even though the legal framework for economic activity is frequently a by-product of political decisions and trade-offs -politicians seek power through ability to promote economic prosperity, giving business position of privilege Four concepts used to define and asses effectiveness of power inside and outside of government: 1. Outcome Manifestations: capacity of a political actor to affect or change political outcomes and to impose one's policy preference on an otherwise unwilling political system or prevent policy outcomes that conflict with one's own interest, even when outcomes may have broad political support -how autonomous is a particular group or individual in the policy making process? Standbury outlines major expressions of political autonomy - ability to initiate and have implemented on a regular basis policy actions that are strongly opposed by other major policy players -ability to obstruct or veto policies that have wide support -groups ability to alter or reverse a well-established policy that works against their group in particular, especially if it benefits other groups: usually done by changing the terms of a policy debate, centre the debate around yourself -ability to determine outcome of elections by shifting one's support for one party to another Examples of state autonomy (state acts in own interest, ignoring public) in Canada: Mulroney forcing the GST despite 88% of Canadian's against it Business challenges to governmental authority occur when governments retreat from proposed policy change from business lobbying efforts; efforts have more effect than public opinion example: tax reforms, failure to reform competition policies, some extent the National Energy Program -when policy making elites are divided, it is easier to sway opinion in favour of business through mobilization of public opinion 2. Process manifestations: examines ways in which groups can use policy process to serve their own interests in both competition and cooperation with other social or governmental interests -ability to influence policy making rests on following factors -willingness of government to provide access to process -ability of group to make themselves heard -available resources (businesses use associations) -willingness of government to take their suggestions into consideration -timing, extent of their participation -debate as to whether public's opinion is actually heard beyond symbolic gesture -businesses have greater chance to be heard the larger their stake in policy outcome is -few businesses have capacity to challenge interests unless they have the time, money to excersise countervailing power 3. + 4. Structural power and Intellectual power: describe ways in which different social groups, including business, can make their own interests central factors in defining or redefining the public interest Intellectual Power -capacity to shift terms of public debate overtime so the adverse public opinion gradually conforms to that of state; done through co-opting social actors, use of thinktanks, advocacy groups -countervailing power: appealing for public support for alternative policies that offer potential benefits to a broader cross section of society or by undermining the credibility of proposed changes through appeals to strongly held values -negotiation of free trade with US example of governments trying to persuade public opinion to accept position that is consistent with policy preference of business Structural Power -the capacity, over time, of a group to make their interests part of the normal environment of political, economic and social systems, therefore reinforcing certain views while suppressing others -helps when government lacks popular support to foster alternative approaches -considered to be democratic if it also benefits majority of citizens Theories of Political Influence and Competition 1. (A) Elite theories: emphasize the dominance of society by ruling minority which yields great power over public and political systems which maintain their control (B) Elite pluralism: differs from traditional elite theories by emphasizing diversity and relative decentralization of e
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