Date01 March 2018
Published date01 March 2018
AuthorMahendra Prasad Singh
Subject MatterEditorial
The welfare state in liberal as well as social democracies ran into natural or
contrived crisis of human cupidities and fiscal overload by the end of the 1970s or
1980s. Political liberalism consequently came to be gradually supplanted by neo-
liberalism as the major economic reform in advanced bourgeois democracies.
It was subsequently prescribed and virtually forced upon the states in the capitalist
peripheries as well by multilateral agencies of global capitalism such as IMF,
World Bank and WTO. The states in the global South, including India, afflicted by
neo-feudal rent-seeking by the political and bureaucratic classes, could not stem
or resist the neoliberal tide. Moreover, the fall of the Berlin Wall, collapse of the
USSR and the end of the Cold War by the late 1980s witnessed the onset of
globalisation. One of the important manifestations of these parameter-altering
events of global significance in political economy and public administration was
the shift of emphasis from government to governance.
Government is an esoteric concept, focusing mainly on the internal institutional
complex of the state (e.g., horizontal separation of powers among the legislature,
executive and judiciary; vertical devolutionary or federal division of powers; rela-
tionship between elected or appointed officials, etc.). Governance, on the other
hand, is a new concept, focusing additionally on the external networks of the
political system interlinking the government, the market and the civil society.
Theorists of governance are busy hypothesising a shift in the assumptions
underlying the process of governing and postulating the appropriate relation-
ships between states, markets and civil societies. In this context, Hardiman (2012,
Chapter 16) focuses on three areas in which redesigning state institutions is
discernible: (a) the redrawing of the boundaries of state power and public admin-
istration in the context of privatisation, regulation and devolved governance as
parts of the new strategy known as new public management (NPM); (b) the trend
of delegated governance to institutions autonomous from the government aiming
at policy objectivity, technical competence and non-majoritarianism and (c) trend
towards issues of autonomous financial and monetary regulation. The dilemma of
a proper relationship between autonomy versus accountability in the new network
governance seems to have so far received inadequate attention in this emergent
scholarly literature.
Neoliberalism primarily came to resolve the contradictions of what it pejoratively
called ‘populist democracy’. In the process, it privileged capitalist accumulation
by weakening democratic control of capitalism. It turned oblivious of capitalism’s
own internal contradictions and self-destructive tendencies highlighted by Marx
Indian Journal of Public
64(1) vii–x
© 2018 IIPA
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0019556117735441

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