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Topic 5: Power & Policy

Pluralism, Elitism & Corporatism

Michael de Percy

on 11 September 2013

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Transcript of Topic 5: Power & Policy

today's topics
Power defined
Key theories
The role of the state
Class, race and gender
Rational choice theory
Case Studies: Deploying the theories
Power & Policy: Pluralism, Elitism & Corporatism
Michael de Percy
Government-Business Relations
Many definitions exist, but include the ability to:

Decide who gets what, when and how

Allocate/distribute/redistribute resources

Influence outcomes

Make decisions

Exclude actors from decision-making processes

Power is shared widely between many different groups
No single group dominates
Rather, all groups have a chance to influence government and society
Associational groups

Interest or ‘pressure’ groups

Sectional groups

Single interest groups

Supported by J.S. Mill & de Tocqueville
society hierarchically ordered

power concentrated in the hands of a small number of groups or individuals

governments protect the interests of elites

the rest of the population is subject to the rule of the elites
A tripartite power sharing relationship between government, business and unions

Emphasises cooperation and consensus

Considers the three organisations to be most influential in the economy

Commonly associated with Hawke’s Prices and Incomes Accords from 1983 onwards…business agreed not to raise prices, unions agreed not to push for higher wages…
Hawke Government’s Prices and Incomes Accord (in Australia)

Often referred to as ‘neo-corporatism’ to distinguish from Mussolini’s Italy

Requires large union membership to be successful
Pluralism = Neutral judge

Elitism = Acts in the interests of elites

Corporatism = Attempts to have major groups representing society participate in decision making
Davis, Wanna, Warhurst & Weller (1993:15):

‘Public policy is the interaction of values, interests and resources, guided through institutions and mediated by politics’

(Institutional Approach)
Considine (1994):

Policy… may be expressed as any or all of these three things:
clarifications of public values and intentions;
commitments of money and services; or
granting of rights and entitlements.

(Critical Approach)
Marxist approach to understanding capitalism

Kuhn 2005: The egalitarian myth

7up longitudinal study in Britain
Public Policy
Huntington (1996)

Australia as a ‘torn country’ and ‘branch office of empire’

Paul Keating: Australia must become a republic to establish its identity as an independent country:
Australia had suffered untold years of “anglophilia and torpor”

Attempted to redefine Australia as an Asian country
Edward Said (2003) Orientalism

‘A way of coming to terms with the Orient based on the Orient’s special place in European Western experience’

‘The East is a career’
Benjamin Disraeli Tancred
Chapman (in Marsh & Stoker 1995)

Radical feminism emerged in late 1960s

Differentiated from equal rights and socialist precursors

Limitations of equal rights

Marginalisation in variety of contexts

Modern feminism new only in ‘association in a new political context’

Distinction between biological sex and cultural construction of gender
Process of learning the values, customs and behaviours of a given society.

Means by which culture is transferred throughout society and between generations

Way of developing a common understanding of the way society should operate and interact

Influence of family, peers and society in the formation of an individual’s political views and beliefs.

It is an educative process which influences the way people vote, their perspectives on political issues and their expectation of governments
Based on the utilitarian belief that an individual is a reasoning actor who weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice
Prominent in political science and microeconomics
Especially in fields like the study of interest groups, elections, behaviour in legislatures, coalitions, and the state (Dunleavy, 1991).
Rational choice theory:
How do we know what we know?

Deploying the theories
The National Broadband Network
Who benefits?
There are many interest groups
“I don’t want to offend anyone, but I would suggest there is probably some vested interests at play in the NBN,”
BigAir chief executive Jason Ashton, August 2010
Mining Tax: Super Profits
Big Business:
And my personal favourite!
Roof insulation scheme
Slamming the scheme
John Howard:

'"We have stopped worrying about whether we are Asian, in Asia, enmeshed in Asia or part of a mythical East Asian hemisphere". Instead, Howard defined Australia's geography as a "unique intersection - a Western nation next to Asia with strong links to the United States and Europe"' (Cerwonka 2004: 20).
John Howard: "Australia has a secular tradition with no established church. But, while that tradition must be respected, it was his personal belief the Judaeo-Christian ethic has been the most profound moral and cultural influence in this country and it should be preserved"
(Coorey, SMH, 12 April 2010).
Power defined
Key theories:

The role of the state

Class, race and gender

Rational choice theory

Case Studies: Deploying the theories
Next week:

Topic 6: Trade & Industry Policy:
From Protectionism to Free Trade

Paul Keating (2011)
Australia' success will be based on:

"a renewed emphasis on the value of hi-tech and education; and above all, a cultural change that integrates Australia more into East Asia. "Cultural transformation is the key for us," Keating says. He rates it as more important than economic reform.

"There is less interest now in being part of East Asia than there was in the 1990s," he laments.

Keating wants this idea revived. And he ties it to the republic arguing that to succeed in Asia we must become a republic, a proposition Howard always dismissed.
Full transcript