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States of Liberalization. Redefining the Public Sector in Integrated Europe – By Mitchell P. Smith. MARC SCHATTENMANN. University of Erfurt. Search for more .
Table of contents



Henceforth, these authorities were to. They were places which the countries and interests promoting these trends the US, UK and major users tried to use for the purpose of spreading the movement Renaud, Hence, they were also a locus for the reconfiguration of networks of actors and balances of power.

The creation of the ETSI European Telecommunications Standards Institute in , an independent body which took over the activities of technical standardization - hitherto the province of the CEPT - was symbolic not only of the importance attributed to standardization in the process of unifying markets on a scale exceeding the boundaries of the Community. In particular, it represented the desire to remove the formulation of standards from the exclusive control of the administrations and public utilities, and so to open it to all parties potentially concerned - whether public or private - and in particular to the equipment manufacturers and users.

The CEPT was itself called into question and made way for specialized bodies such as a forum of regulators Ectra and an organization representing operators ETNO , which had to find new dynamism and legitimacy. Thus, in the new technological and economic context of the eighties, the neo- liberal ideology conveyed, to a large extent, by these international authorities, appeared as the ideological operator of the change of model.

Neo-liberalism, in its doctrinal argument and its arsenal of practical recipes, was the intellectual instrument of the deconstruction of the public service model and the disentanglement of the stakes and interests. The criticism levelled at the state and corporatism, together with the idealization of competition and market mechanisms, were to act as a powerful agent in the delegitimization of the coalitions and rules of the game which had governed sectorial management, and to promote its opening to other interests.

The idealization of the virtues of competition, freedom and openness also helped to dismantle national protectionism and regulations, obstacles to the globalization of markets, and to delegit- imize the transfer mechanisms which had made it possible to satisfy public service demands. These were the basic contextual changes in which the upheaval of the eighties originated, and which explain the generality of change in the mode of sectorial regulation. We now need to consider the various ways in which they were perceived and in which change was brought about in countries which in other ways appeared very similar.

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The effectiveness with which these technological, economic and ideological changes eroded the established order, depended primarily on the level of performance and the internal coherence of the public service model in each country. The unequal erosion of the public service model. Although it appeared to have common tenets in the various countries monopoly, public management, public service obligations , this model of sectorial regulation, with varying intellectual and ideological roots and modes of concrete functioning, was applied in considerably different ways and with differing results.

It consequently proved to be adaptable. Whether fragmented or highly integrated, governed by conflict or negotiation, open or not to the advent of new interests, the sectorial policy networks, as they emerged in the seventies, approached the challenges of the new decade on a vastly different footing. Right into the eighties, the development logic of telecommunications consisted, very roughly, of a problem of the construction of collective infrastructures. The public monopoly was supposed to allow for the conception and the rational and efficient management of the network, in a public service perspective, that is to say, aimed, in principle, at equality of access to the service across the entire territory and for all categories of users, in the bounds of a balanced financial management.

This type of logic implied a dual series of challenges and problems:. For guaranteeing a satisfactory pace of development, while most European governments, with the exception of Germany, refused to recognize the strategic advantage of a cumulative development of networks or concretely to take into account its requirements. The gap thus widened everywhere compared to the rapid development experienced in the United States. Moreover, the prob-. Owing to this dependence the financial and organizational solidarity implicit in the integration following the telegraph of the Post and Telecommunications services into a single administrative framework also appeared less and less acceptable in the eyes of experts such as telecommunications managers.

These problems were to become particularly acute during the seventies as the discrepancy became obvious between the existing supply on the one hand, and the growth of the productive potential and the democratization of the telephone as part of daily life, on the other. They were, moreover, compounded by the necessity to modernize networks rapidly due to the emergence of digital techniques and the anticipated development of new communication services. Confronted with the same types of demand and problem, the countries under consideration provided relatively dissimilar answers, both to the question of the financial and managerial autonomy of the public operator that is to say, the way of managing the tension between industrial and macroeconomic policy and, to that of the structuring of the networks of public policy and their mode of internal regulation.

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In the UK and Italy, sectorial policy suffered considerably from its subordination to the demands of macroeconomic policy, while in France and Germany it was recognized as a priority in a perspective of modernization. For different reasons and in different forms, the dysfunctions of the instituted modes of articulation of interests became clear in the former two countries, while. The United Kingdom: early exhaustion of a tenuous and conflictual model. In the UK, as in Germany and France, debate on the status of the public operator had recurred since the beginning of the century.

It had attempted to define the institutional functional conditions best suited particularly financially to an activity of an industrial and commercial nature, implying massive investments and a long-term outlook. As a precursor, the UK made the move generally willed by the managing elite of the operators to a status of public corporation in This reform was not however enough to provide the desired degree of autonomy. Irrespective of the majority in power, the fixing of rates, the investment programmes and the access to credit remained subject to the demands of overall policy regulation.

The negative consequences of this subordination of sectorial policy to macroeconomic policy and to actors the Exchequer, finance capital who had little understanding of the demands of technical systems, were multiple deficit, irregularities and inadequate investment capacities. The revival of investment at the end of the period was not enough to offset these effects which were compounded - as the experts' report in , in particular, shows Carter Report, - by no less recurrent problems of management and serious difficulties of articulation of interests.

For complex reasons relating to various peculiarities of the British system and the state-industry relationship in that country ambiguity and limits of the objectives. The very idea of a particular responsibility of the public enterprise in the structuring and enhancement of the development perspectives of its partners seems, moreover, somewhat foreign to the British public service culture.

Apart from the mediocre managerial capacities of the Post Office management, responsibility lay with the ability of the industrialists and the trade unions to pressure even to block, if not to 'capture' the successive governments and in particular the Labour Party. Thus at the end of the seventies there existed a highly fragmented group of sectorial actors, dominated by the conflict, with no authority or forum for arbitration or mediation. This blockage of social negotiation and the political process signified, at a sectorial level, the general crisis in the Keynesian and social-democratic consensus to become a glaring reality during the strikes, with the winter of discontent'.

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Compared to the other major European countries, it cannot be said that the concrete situation in the sector was truly catastrophic, despite the low rates of productivity and penetration of the telephone. But the social perception of these dysfunctions was acute and gave rise to a rhetoric of 'decline', as well as to demands by organized bodies of professional users.

Germany and France: modernizing programmes sealing co-operation between the producers. All things considered, the course taken by Germany and France during the. After relatively futile but long debates which tended to find institutional solutions likely to provide the public operator with the development autonomy claimed by the governing elite, and faced with the political and trade union resistance to any solution of the public corporation type, this institutional problematics was replaced in both countries by one of resolutely voluntarist industrial modernization.

Sectorial policy was henceforth at the heart of governmental policy; its issues were recognized as being priorities, legitimated by their incorporation in a wider strategy. At the same time the financial constraint was removed.

These modernization policies were formulated and implemented by highly integrated and co-operative public policy networks linked by systems of political exchange which involved the definition of prices and tariffs and the sharing of rents, distribution and guaranteed markets, the constitution and sharing of know-how as well as the choice of technologies. Despite the criticism levelled at their mode of functioning, the achievements and potentialities of these networks bestowed on them, at the start of the eighties, a high degree of legitimacy. During these years, in both countries, the relations of interdependence between suppliers and public operators probably became less consensual or collusive, but they also became more stimulating, based more on the recognition of mutual interests, with growth helping to bind the partners.

Apart from these similarities, these two models are characterized by the mode of co-operation and hierarchical ordering of the actors involved. The neo-corporatist variant - the weight of the industries. In Germany, the theoretical leadership the public operator, the Deutsche Bun- despost DBP , as a contractor and regulatory authority, was triply limited: by an instituted and systematic representation of political powers and interests within neo-corporatist-type management bodies; by the power of the industrialists on the one hand and the trade unions on the other the Ministry of FIT had been the locus of a strong progression of co- management at the end of the seventies ; and finally, by the principle of consultation and search for a negotiated compromise as a rule of the game recognized by all the actors.

Control of the research and development system by the industrialists implied that DBP depended heavily on them for technological strategy - dependency which might be interpreted, here too, in terms of 'capture' Lehm- bruch, The problems of managing technological development, or the cartelization and closure of the market - the object of severe criticism at one stage - were amended in certain respects during the seventies and eighties. This, in particular, enabled actors such as IBM, who were potentially dangerous for the balance of power, to be integrated into the network of public policy.

The technocratic variant. In France, with the Telephone Plan launched in , the model of the grands programmes was deployed in a new context. The elite of the corps of Telecom engineers demonstrated as other corps had done in the nuclear, arms and aeronautical industries the quality of its sectorial leadership, its ability to structure and dynamize its environment and to use public purchasing and technological expertise to induce the constitution of industrial partners capable of assuming their autonomy and confronting the international market e.

Alcatel in the s. The leadership here was clearly on the side of the administration itself capable of renewing its modes of organization and its culture, and of mobilizing all its forces , in a relationship with its partners that was far more hierarchical, less negotiated and open to the charge of arrogance. Italy: the partitocratic deviation.


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The development of telecommunications infrastructures and services in this period of extension and consolidation of basic networks was, in Italy, to encounter a twofold difficulty which was peculiar to its case: the fragmentation of public management bodies, compounded by the stratification of the political world. Unlike most of the other major industrial countries, the Italian telecommunications system, an heir of the Mussolinian period, continued to be controlled after the War by a multiplicity of operators with heterogeneous status and competence marked by a chaotic history rather than by a functional rationality.

However, the situation deteriorated to the point where, at the end of the decade, there was considerable backwardness in terms of availability and quality of supply of services and networks, technical and economic effectiveness, levels of investments, and so forth. Analyses highlight the blocking of tariffs and hence of investments, with consequences which were amplified by the inefficiency and obstacles to development resulting from the organization of the sector. The institutional fragmentation led to divergent interests, reinforced by the crisis.

In Italy, unlike the other countries, tariff compensations between the different types of traffic were hindered by the multiplicity of operators and could therefore not be used to promote the coherent development of the networks. The conditions of financing and stability, which might permit the development of technical innovation among suppliers, were not fulfilled.

In fact these dysfunctions revealed the progressive deviation of the system of public management which had become the object of a vast sharing of emoluments between political parties or internal currents within them, and from which were constituted networks of parallel political clientelist exchange the lotizzazione'. In telecommunications, this interaction spread and merged into rival factions the authorities governing the public operators generally attributed to the different currents of the Christian Democrats , equipment suppliers and trade unions the central Catholic syndicate, CISL, benefited from a hegemonic position, especially in the ASST.

With the awareness of the new importance of the development of the electronic industries, the collective implications of such a situation began to. The primary necessity in the eighties was to bring out the debate and then definitively to include sectorial problems on the political agenda. As in the UK, the concretization of the classical public service model ended in a highly problematical sectorial situation.

Fundamentally, the more global political crisis which was starting to emerge was of an altogether different nature and the problems were to be posed in very different terms. The main question was to be that of a challenge, not to state interven- tionism and the public monopoly model, but to its inadequate accomplishment. Thus, at the dawn of the eighties the existing model had, depending on the country, more or less lost its effectiveness, coherence and internal stability. While in Germany and France it had not yet shown its limits nor exhausted its capacities to adapt, the UK, through its difficulty to interconnect state and industry, and Italy, through the mode of articulation peculiar to it parti tocracy , experienced malfunctioning in the system of public action, which profoundly delegitimized the public service model and the modernizing state, or at least called for reactions.

Two versions of the neo-liberal turning point. These dissimilar national sectorial situations and the degree to which they stimulated neo-liberal critique largely help to explain the two distinct forms that the neo-liberal turning point was to take in the eighties, in a process where the sectorial problematics were linked to the general evolution of ideas and systems of. A radical and doctrinaire version. Illustrated by the British case, the objective and debate soon focused on a radical restructuring of the market - with a general opening to competition and privatization - and on the withdrawal of the state as a producer and manager of public services and its concentration on the promotion and regulation of the market.

Since the exhaustion of the sectorial model merely corroborated the general failure of neo-Keyne- sian recipes as attempts to institutionalize social consultation, the sectorial dysfunctions blockage of innovation, insufficient supply, blockage of social negotiation were grasped by the Thatcher government as an excellent opportunity to put into practice, in an exemplary way, the key elements of an umbrella programme withdrawal of the state but reassertion of its authority, restoration of the nation in its international dimension, the interests of the City and of the world of international affairs, the struggle against all forms of corporatism, etc.

The twisting of orthodoxy related to an approach which was in reality highly pragmatic, was to be partially corrected in steps leading to the total withdrawal of the state from British Telecom capital and to the opening up of the market to more and more operators. In contrast with this version was a far more moderate, pragmatic version, made of successive adjustments and reinter- pretations, the hybridization of concepts and institutional arrangements which, through a progressive loss of coherence and the de facto change of the dominant rationality, finally led to more substantial institutional realignments.

Initially it. In fact, the ambiguous attempt to safeguard the norms and values of the public service led to a hybridization of concepts and finally to conflicts of rationality, in such a way that these apparently minor reforms rapidly destabilized the systems of representation and positioning of the actors. In a process which illustrates the words of G. Majone , the progressive opening to competition, the separation of regulator and operator, of post and telecommunications, the increasing value attributed to the entrepreneurial system of reference etc.

The switching of problematics and the removal of taboos which allowed the question of privatization to be placed on the agenda move to a private law status - Ltd. In particular, the constraints imposed by the financial crisis of the state, present everywhere, prompted the traditional sectorial actors, including the leading elite of public operators themselves, to look for a way out, or at least a way of moving away from the constraints of the state system. This dynamic was clearly. The politicization of sectorial policy and its different forms.

Whether the main issue was privatization or the reform of public intervention, the change had two dimensions: a the redefinition of the conceptual basis, the implications, and norms and principles of regulation from political regulation to competition regulated by law ; and b the reconfiguration of networks of actors and of their internal hierarchy openness and increasing complexity of the network of actors on the supply side, growth in the power of professional users and change in the conditions of construction of a social compromise from the corporatist or clientelist model to pluralism and modern forms of competition-co-operation.

In each of the countries, this process transcended the routine modes of policy formulation of policies and, in so far as it involved their consequent rearrangement, could not appertain only to the sectorial networks of public policy. As Hall13 observes, it called for the direct and forceful involvement of politics, a broad public debate, the mobilization of organizations and arguments which placed sectorial change in a superior, more global order of legitimacy.

The specific modalities of this political involvement had particularly important consequences, including in terms of content. They appertained not only to the places and powers concerned, but. The geography of power. The shift from the places and groups of actors normally involved in the formulation and negotiation of sectorial policy, towards global or transversal policy- making bodies is clearly illustrated in Tables 2. This politicization of sectorial policy was conducted by actors and involved political authorities which differed from one country to the next in a configuration signifying a legitimate order of powers, like the forms of democracy peculiar to each one.

Thus, as has often been emphasized, it appears obvious that in the UK the decisive factor as regards the orientation and radical nature of change was the personal involvement and personality of the Prime Minister leader of the majority party in close collaboration with several cabinet members, and the freedom of action conferred on the government by the British parliamentary system between elections. In Germany, it was the representatives of the parties and the Lander who assumed a special place and played a far more central role, entirely representative of the importance of their control over the government and the administration and their role in social consultation.

Already present and active in the 'ordinary' sectorial policy community and with the reform in a very specific way their representatives, with the question of privatization put on the agenda for the Reform II bill, became the only legitimate mediators in the deliberation and negotiation where, together with the government and aside from interest groups and the network of. This role and procedure can be explained by the will to create an extremely sound base for the compromise and its legitimacy since there was a chance that the reform envisaged might challenge the constitutional guarantees of equality of citizens and the Lander hitherto the responsibility of the federal administration and Deutsche Telekom.

In Italy, somewhat paradoxically, the politiciza- tion found its object in the necessary 'depoliticization' of sectorial public policy networks, that is to say, in the neutralization of relations, characteristic of the parti tocracy 'lotizzazione' , between partisan factions, social interests and public corporations. The sluggishness of the reform process clearly illustrates the difficulty experienced by those who took charge of this process ministers excluded from the sharing of emoluments in the sector, in particular, new leaders of the public sector in bringing about this shift of power and legitimacy.

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In the event we determine, at our discretion, that there is an abuse of the Free Shipping Program of any kind, we reserve the right to cancel, suspend, terminate, recover or recall orders, deliveries, payments and accounts deemed in abuse. We will send you an SMS containing a verification code. Please double check your mobile number and click on "Send Verification Code". Enter the code below and hit Verify. Free Shipping All orders of And, contrary to the Bologna regulations, the Gats regulations do have the status of international treaties, enforceable by international law and international courts.

This characteristic makes them quite important in practice. The aim of the Wto is to get rid of all regulations and measures that are impeding a world wide free trade. This policy is based on the assumption that an uninhibited free trade will lead us to the best of all possible worlds. Gats is applying the same free trade principle to services, and in our context it is crucial to realise that higher education is defined by Gats as one service among others, along with utilities like energy and water supply, health care, housing and social security, that is: domains that used to be seen as the core of the public sector in Europe.

The neo-liberal Gats point of view will have far reaching consequences for the citizens of Europe: higher education, instead of being a right of citizens of nation states, laid down by law, may be redefined as and transformed into a commodity—into an international service that must be sold and bought from any international provider. For Us-citizens this point of view may not look revolutionary, but for most Europeans it surely is.

The Bologna Declaration.

Although this rule also contains a few clauses for exceptions, it may easily induce future outside providers of higher education to sue national governments for subsidising their institutions of higher education on grounds that subsidies are impediments for open market competition and therefore are frustrating free and international trade. Another Gats-regulation is the so-called market access rule, prohibiting national governments to refuse access to their service market for any reason. Although this rule too contains a few clauses of exception, this may lead to a situation in which, for instance, an openly racist institution will start to supply educational services without risk of being banned because this would constitute a breach of free and open market competition.

So by redefining higher education as a service just like any other—as a marketable commodity—the Wto and Gats are basically eroding all effective forms of democratic political control over higher education.

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As far as Gats-regulations allow for exceptions to the basic economic rule, these still have to be considered and justified in terms of their economic consequences. Small wonder there is so little discussion in the Eu and the Us about that. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the economic view on higher education recently developed and formulated by the Eu-declarations is similar to and compatible with the view developed by the Wto and by Gats.

In the end, the Eu- and the Gats-views will probably also have similar implications. Education is only mentioned once in both the original and in the revised proposal [11]. So EU member states may and probably will categorise higher education as a service while keeping elementary and secondary education outside the domain of services.

The political context of the Bologna Declaration and its accompanying declarations consists of neo-liberalism and of neo-liberal public policy—so-called New Public Management npm. Npm is characterised by a paradoxical combination of free market rhetoric and quasi-totalitarian practices of control.

This combination explains a number of the characteristics of npm-institutions and practices—and the universities are being transformed into npm-institutions as we speak. Neo-liberalism is, in principle, trying to turn back the clock to the early 19th century in this respect by re-individualising the services which were collectivised in Europe during the 19th and 20th century by applying its market dogma. Small wonder therefore that the neo-liberal programme has been facing fundamental obstacles in practice.

The public health situation in the Us, where at least one fourth of the population has no health insurance at all and another third is not adequately insured represents this problem in optima forma. The pension situation in the Us, where an ever growing proportion of the working population has no pension whatsoever and a majority has no adequate pension, is another example [12].

Given the absence of any substantial notion of effectiveness from npm-discourse—because the notion of effectiveness presupposes the statement of substantial goals—being efficient is just defined as being cost-effective. Small wonder therefore that npm in the former public sector has manifested itself in the typical combination of:. Since npm sees the faculty primarily in terms of labour costs it is certain that this tendency will persist in the future [13]. Since there are no substantial goals behind this policy, every budget cut is just a stepping stone to the next.

The phenomenon of ranking of citations, journals, individuals, research groups, departments and universities is therefore an integral part of this transformation [16]. Its arrival in England was seen in attempts to introduce a series of managerial techniques and control strategies that had their roots in the private sector. In higher education the British government introduced league tables, ostensibly to rank the quality and quantity of teaching and research, relying on indicators to loosen the grip of professional autonomy on academic work.