Enclosures and Disciplinary Integration
Chapter 7 Enclosures and Disciplinary Integration
This is chapter 7 of my 2007 book The Beginning of History. Its title is Enclosures and Disciplinary Integration and it discusses capitalist crises as "disequilibrium" crises or "social stability" crises. It might be useful to provide a general framework to understand the current crisis in terms of the latter. It also maps out crises as mechanisms for capitalist reproduction and discusses the role of shifting capitalist governance to deal with these crises as well as the possible cracks in this governance.
Generation and Homeostasis
The value practices M-C-M’, accumulation, must attend the needs of a variety of social actors and groups, and at the same time make sure that these needs, desires and value practices manifesting in terms of struggles do not break away from its ordering principles but on the contrary, become moments of its reproduction. This tension between rupture and recuperation is what constitutes the basic homeostatic processes of capital.
Homeostasis is a term introduced by cybernetics starting in the early 1940s to describe the automatic process of self-regulation of living organisms to maintain a dynamic balance.1 It is a process in which feedback loops of circular causality are essential mechanisms. Through a sequence of self-balancing (`negative’) and selfreinforcing (`positive’) feedback2, feedback loops allow all living organisms to solve the basic problems of life, from the “humble amoeba” to human beings: “finding sources of energy; incorporating and transforming energy; maintaining a chemical balance of the interior compatible with the life process; maintaining the organism’s structure by repairing its wear and tear; and fending off external agents of disease and physical injury. The single word homeostasis is convenient shorthand for the ensemble of regulations and the resulting state of regulated life” (Damasio 2003: 30).
While the automatism of homeostatic processes in biological systems is the result of a set of instructions codified by the DNA, in a social system like capitalism this automatism can only emerge out of a social construction. This social construction, which is certainly messy and never conforming to neat models, seems nevertheless to originate out of two main moments, one generative and the other preservative through self-organisation. The generative and self-organising moment of the system we call capitalism are enclosures and disciplinary integration. Struggles, social conflict, are not outside these two moments, but to a certain extent part of them both. Or, perhaps more precisely, in so far as struggles that are born out of value practices that are outside capital are coupled back to capital’s loops, they help constitute the dynamism of capital’s homeostatic mechanisms. Also, the processes that go under the name of globalization, are to a large extent processes of extension and deepening of these generative and self-organizing moments of capitalism.
The generative moment is the one that creates markets, that is creates people and communities “willing” to buy and sell commodities, creates “proletarians”, that is people with no other means of livelihood but those they can get by selling their labour power in the market, or be involved in petty commodity trade. Much of this willingness is of course the result of various forms of state practices of expropriations of commons and social engineering that reduce alternative means of livelihoods.
Seen from the perspective of the generative principle, enclosures, market values appear to us for what they are, as the order of things of a particular social force, class, elites. This because any time an enclosure is forced on the social body, be this a privatization, or a cut in entitlement, an expropriation of land or a patent on a life-saving medicine, a clash of values generally surface with the correspondent struggles. They value privatization, we do not. They value market forces, we do not. They value forced relocation, we do not.
With this generative moment, a set of rules is created, rules that are often forcibly introduced and maintained through the use of force (the state). These rules constitute a context for social interaction by defining how to access resources produced socially, sets of property rights, legal regulations filtering and channelling social action in certain ways. I discuss extensively this generative moment in terms of enclosures in chapters 10 and 11. Out of the activity of social production predicated on these rules as well as the daily practices of their contestation, there follow given self-organising patterns of articulation among producing singularities constituting the social body. What is generally called “the economy” here is a bad term to capture these patterns. As we have seen in the previous chapters, these self-organising patterns articulate both waged and unwaged work, production and reproduction. Therefore, they cannot refer to monetized production only as in the case of economic narratives of market’s patterns of self-organisation, from Adam Smith’s invisible hand to Friedrich Hayek’ s market order. Furthermore, unlike economists, we are interested in processes, in modes of doing, of producing and, therefore, because doing is always a social act, modes of relations across producing singularities. Production is always co-production.
Disciplinary integration thus refers to the integration of different value practices in a systemic “whole” that constitutes the process of self-expansion of capital. Now note, this is integration and not coexistence among different value practices. Integration implies the reduction of diverse practices to the one model that is pervasive in society (Irigaray 1997: 128). Capitalist integration implies the articulation of diversity through the common value practices of capitalist markets and their correspondent processes of measurement. As we will see in chapters 12 and 13 this integration is disciplinary, because it relies on disciplinary forms of command over subjects, the continuous dispensation of rewards and punishments to shape norms of interaction and social production emerging from capital’s value practices in perpetual struggle with other value practices. It is also preservative of the rules generated by enclosures, because through repetition subjects tend to become normalised to them. Yet, this is a normalisation that does not abolish conflict among value practices, but that turns this conflict into the driving engine of the evolution of the organisational form of capitalism while basic processes of homeostasis keep social forces and conflicting value practices coupled together. In other words, in the daily reproduction of our livelihoods we are involved, knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly, in a form of civil war cutting across the social body.
This can be better seen upon a brief reflection on the term homeostasis as applied to capitalism. Generally speaking, homeostasis is the property of open systems such as living organisms. Its purpose is to regulate the internal environment of such systems, so as to maintain stable conditions, by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments emerging from the playing out of opposite forces.3 In the open system we termed capitalism, the ultimate forces that must be kept in dynamic balance in order to avoid to break the system they are part of, are those social practices predicated on opposite values. In ancient Greek, the word “stasis” means “civil war”4, and this is perhaps echoed in endless fables and myths of brother killing brother, as happens when the social body is ripped apart and a new beginning occur: Cain killing Abel, Romulous killing Remus. During the 5th century BC “Stasis became politicized into conflict between those who favoured government by many (democracy), and those who desired rule by the few (oligarchy)” (Sidebottom 2004). Capitalist markets do just the opposite, they depoliticise this struggle, by making it the foundation of their dynamics. On a daily basis, they are able to articulate value practices that are predicated on and push for democratization of social cooperation of labour (which depends on extending access to social resources) with those that are predicated on and lead to oligarchic power-over the social means of production (which depend on channelling social resources away from democratic control). From our perspective therefore, capitalist homeostasis means the same (homeo) civil war (stasis), that is a “civil war” within the global social body which we are increasingly forced to adopt in order to reproduce our livelihoods. Neoliberal globalisation is the intensification of this war. But this civil war is the sanitised and normalised form taken by the class struggle that Marx had sought to be the bottom line driving force of history, a class struggle that is ultimately a struggle among value practices. As we will see in chapter 9 in the illustration of disciplinary trade and “flying geese”, by pitting livelihoods against each other today global capital rides on the class struggle (civil war) against and beyond its value practices, and turn it from a threat to the condition and result of everyday busyness, a constituent force of its power. To refer to the homeostatic processes of capitalist markets therefore is not just to refer to the ebbs and flows of business activities, cycles, and “the economy”, but to life practices and correspondent social relations that are underpinning these patterns.
A Conceptual Map
Let us try to clarify how generative and preservative practices can be seen to give rise to some general features of capitalist sub-systems. Figure 4 offer a conceptual map linking production and reproduction loops discussed in the previous chapters. At the top end of the map, we link the production and reproduction loops to the historical practices constituting their geneology (enclosures) and those constituting their preservation (disciplinary processes). As we will see in chapter 10 and 11, enclosures occurs through processes that commodify existing “commons” (and hus introducing new laws regulating rights), or by state defence of existing enclosed spaces, vis-à-vis struggles demanding its abolition. In either case, the state deploys institutional force to maintain, protect or extend commodity relations and enclosures. In these chapters I will also argue that this process of enclosure is continuous in capitalism and not only confined to some “primitive” stage. This for two reasons. First, because capital’s telos, or drive, is to extend and pervade more and more spheres of human life and nature. In other words, commodification is an inherent character of capital. Second, because historically the accumulated result of past struggles effectively constitutes new forms of commons that capital, if it cannot administrate in its own terms with new forms of governmentality compatible with accumulation, must enclose.
On the other hand, both spatial and temporal integration within the M-C-M’ circuit requires social cooperation to occur. Cooperation occurs essentially in two ways. Either within productive “nodes” in society i.e. in companies, households, schools or any relatively self-contained and discrete institution or across “nodes”. 5 In both cases the disciplinary processes that are in place shape, channel and frame the activities of the social body into value practices that reproduce capital vis-à-vis practices predicated on other values. Struggle is therefore constituent of disciplinary processes. Classic examples of disciplinary processes and correspondent forms of cooperation within nodes are the factory, studied by Marx (1976a), the school, the clinic and the prison, these latter two studied by Foucault. I will generally abstract from cooperation within nodes, and will focus mainly on social cooperation across nodes. However, as it will become clear in chapters 14 and 15 in which I compare the panopticon-prison and the market order, there are strong organisational similarities between the two. This because the disciplinary mechanism of the market and correspondent measuring processes (chapters 12 and 13) is grounded on a relation among subjects that, as argued in chapter 4, erase the singularities of others, by either physically obliterate them or integrate them in alien modes of doing things and socially cooperating. Also, as we have seen in chapter 5, patriarchy as a mode of relation to the other, as a system of line management, inscribes itself in capitalist organisations in competition to each other.
The main difference between disciplinary processes constituting social cooperation within and among nodes is in the role of money and correspondent impersonal market mechanism. In other words, while in “institutions of confinement” (whether a factory, a prison, hospital or school in the traditional Foucaultian sense) everybody knows who is “the bastard” watching on us and measuring our activities and thus the emerging disciplinary processes are grounded on more or less direct power relations among subjects, in the daily experience of disciplinary market systems, it is not possible to identify a “bastard”: every singularity is pitted against the other through an impersonal mechanism centred on money. In this latter case, often our immediate “rulers”, managers and bosses, through the help of the oracles of finance, only become the spokespersons for heteronymous benchmarks that need to be met and beaten given certain resource constraints. In other words, to a large extent they become the clerics mediating between the god of the market and its people, and in such a role they are first line instruments for work extraction. But the source and social constitutions of both those benchmarks and resource constraints through which work is extracted from people at the point of production and reproduction, is not immediately visible from the perspective of those whose work is extracted, that is most of us inserted in the vertical wage hierarchy. If things in organisations go wrong, a crisis occur, bankrupts envisaged, often the blame fall on “bad management”, as if the successful extraction of work from people using a variety of often instrumental, devious, and opportunistic means for what, ultimately, has the sole purpose of threatening someone else livelihoods can be classified, from an ethical point of view, as “good”. 6 The market order is one in which social cooperation across nodes emerges out of patterns of market exchange, grounded on real, imagined or threatened competitive modalities of social interaction, all of which have nevertheless tangible effects such as patterns of widening income and wealth polarisation. However, from a perspective that wants to pose the “question of alternatives” the root of the problem are not these patterns that emerges out of this mode of social interaction. These are the symptoms of the problem.
We must be alerted to the fact that historically, when these symptoms are treated with redistributive policies (rare event in the neoliberal world) under the pressure of struggles from below, the basic dynamics remain, recreating the conditions through which new patterns of unequal distribution of income and wealth emerge. Furthermore, redistributive concessions are often tied to lines of division across the wage hierarchy, excluding from the deal the weakest sections among the coproducers: migrants, women, the invisible. Finally, these concessions are accompanied to demands for a correspondent productivity increases, as the balance between income received by the producers and work extraction is the key relation defining the general level of profitability. From the perspective of the alternatives, redistribution is important not so much because it represents any solution to capital’s mode of doing, but because it can provide the resources necessary for empowerment vis-à-vis the demands of an abstract mechanism like capitalist markets. But this only to the extent these increased social resources in the hands of the commoners are turned as condition for the consititution of new forms of social cooperation based on different value practices, to the extent these resources are linked to the constitution of an “outside” (Chapter 16).
The problem with the market as the central order through which the co-producing social body reproduce livelihoods is in the fact that, paradoxically, it makes people to socially cooperate by threatening each others’ livelihoods, subordinating each singularity to the artificial rule of an increasingly demanding clock, thus turning any innovation, any creative idea, any new product of human communication and ingenuity, no matter how well its use-values might help solve certain problems, into a force threatening someone else livelihoods, into a benchmark with the power of disciplining. In capitalist production therefore, scarcity is not as economists tell us the problem-condition of human interaction. Rather, it is the ongoing result of any problem solved, of any new idea, no matter how well intended, of any new product of social cooperation. In its capitalist competitive form, social cooperation something that we cannot avoid since we are social beings is turned into an alien force.7
In any given time and place, the degree of competition depends of course on institutional context. But even in case of near monopoly in some sector, the competitive form of the social interaction is maintained institutionally through the opening of markets to trade liberalisation, which fuels if not real at least threatened competition, or anti-monopoly laws implemented by the state, or simulation of competition as in the case of many state owned public services. On the other hand, it is reproduced systemically through migration of capital from one sector to another, through threat to share prices and comparison among profit rates that accompanies the calculus of expected profitability. Clearly, market interaction is also expression of the configuration of power relations created and/or maintained by historically stratified enclosures and correspondent property rights. These power relations which we can identify in specific contexts by answering questions such as who has what entitlements? Who has what commodity and in what amount? Who has what financial backing and at what conditions? play themselves out in strategic competitive interactions in the market giving rise to particular configurations of systemic integration. Systemic integration within the social circuit of capital is thus the net results of the interaction of forces each one of which is driven by its own plan and backed by its own powers. The emergent result of such interaction is of course unpredictable since the condition of each of the qualitative transformation necessary to allow the reproduction of social capital M-C-M’ is ridded with what Marx calls the “possibility” of crisis (Bell and Cleaver 2002). Crisis, which Marx roots in the polarity between use value and exchange-value of the commodity and in the alienated character of social labour in capitalism, that is the struggles among value practices, is indeed the all-pervasive condition of commodity production, not only at times of its utter manifestation, but also in times of relative business tranquillity. Whatever are the various predisposition of crisis for the purpose of this analysis they can present two main characters. They either take the form of “disequilibra” in the operations of markets, with consequent ebbs and flows in business activity, changes in market prices, sectors’ restructuring and firing and hiring of workers. Or they take the form of crisis of social stability.
In the first case, crises are inherent part of the disciplinary processes of markets, processes that are founded on competitive modes of interaction among productive nodes in society and, as Hayek reminds us, compel agents to adapt or die. From the point of view of people participating in market disciplinary process, these latter corresponds ultimately to processes of subjectification, that is the creation of subjects who to a variety of degrees accept the norms of the capital’s circuits in the pursuit of their own conatus of self-preservation. Combining Foucault analysis of disciplinary processes with Marx’s analysis of capitalist production, we can
understand subjectification as those social processes through which norms of behaviour and interaction compatible with the requirement of capitalist accumulation and its value practices are reproduced8. For example, the role of reproduction as reproduction of labour power (say get your kids ahead of the competitive game); the unchallenged acceptance of the commodity form, its naturalisation in a particular sphere of life (say “getting a job” as a way to acquire the means to meet needs, or paying for a social service like health and education, or an essential resource like water, or, indeed, check out food items purchased in a supermarket); or the acceptance as normal of a given wage hierarchy (say socially useful housework is unpaid while socially destructive arm-dealing and stock brokering gets highly rewarded); the acceptance as necessary of goals and priorities that are heteronymous to subject’s goals and priorities (say the “necessity” of labour market and pension reforms for the sake of global competitiveness); the compliance with new methods of doing things for the sole purpose of “staying ahead of the game”, even if the old ways work perfectly well, or new ways predicated on value practices other than capital’s could be adopted. The integration over the overall capital’s circuit thus passes through a variety of processes of subjectification. In this sense, to a variety of degrees, we are all involved in these processes and, in the daily routines reproducing our livelihoods. Following Foucault, we can interpret these strategies of norm creating subjectification as disciplinary strategies, that is as repetitive practices of rewards and punishment aiming at co-opting or bypassing resistance and channelling it in “normal” patters of behaviour. Although Foucault’s analysis is confined to discrete disciplinary institutions, such as the prison, the hospital or the school, a critical analysis of what Hayek calls the “market order” shows several fundamental similarities with the disciplinary process in these institutions (chapter 14), the most important of which is perhaps that the market disciplinary process contribute to create not only normalised subjects, but also new standards of production, and what Marx referred to as the quantitative aspect of the substance of value, i.e. “socially necessary labour time” (Chapter 13).
While market discipline, with its systems of rewards and punishment, promotes production of norms and normalised subjects, this always clashes with subjectivities that escape capital’s subjectification, value practices that set themselves as an absolute barrier to the value practices of capital. Struggles are ubiquitous in capitalism, whether in micro and hidden forms or macro and open conflictuality, and the disciplinary mechanisms of the market are, in normal circumstances, only partially able to co-opt them. Thus, at any given time, the “positive” effect from the perspective of capital that disciplinary processes have on the creation of “normal subjects” is counterpoised to the negative force that struggles have on disciplinary mechanisms. The end result between disciplinary processes and struggles is open ended, and depends on historical contingency and balance of forces. But ultimately, to maintain a balance between these “pluses” and “minuses” is the key rationale of disciplinary processes. As we will discuss in chapter 13, Marx’s “law of value” becomes intelligible once we bring struggle at its core.
There are however times in which this “balance” cannot be maintained and conflict threatens the particular forms of disciplinary mechanisms as well as their very rationale. The “disequilibria” of flows, the cycles, the ebbs and flows of business activity are no longer sufficient to discipline subjects, to channel norms of behaviour, to make them accepting and internalise the normality of competitive market interaction. To the extend this happens, crisis presents itself as a crisis of social stability, a crisis that, whatever its systemic trigger puts into question the viability and/or legitimacy of many of the qualitative transformations necessary for accumulation (M-C-M’).
From the perspective of accumulation, social stability is the stability of social arrangements and interaction in forms compatible with the accumulation process, the extensive commodification of life, particular forms of disciplinary processes of market interaction and extraction of work. It is ultimately, a stability of the coupling between reproduction and production, between the value practices cantered on life-preservation in the broad sense and the value practices centered on the preservation of capital. Thus, there are potentially many instances in which social stability thus defined enters into crisis: when capital is increasingly unable to guarantee access of goods and services necessary for reproducing bodies and social cohesion correspondent to given “class compositions”; or when the aspirations of new generations are at odds with the “deals” agreed by older generations and shaping the times; or when subjetification has gone so far as to erase all hope and push exasperation in larger sectors of the population; or when on the contrary hope is self-generated by social movements that challenge what they believe is the subordination of the nature, dignity, peace, justice, life to greed, but that we can read as the systemic drive of accumulation; or when a combination of these and other factors emerges in particular historical circumstances so as to threaten the legitimacy of many of the enclosures and integration practices and process at the basis of accumulation. These are all the cases that, from the perspective of capital’s conatus of self-preservation, require strategic intervention beyond mere repression and coercion. What capital needs here is an approach that allows the acknowledgment of the problems and issues at the basis of the crisis as “social stability”, but at the same time their cooptation within the mechanism of accumulation and its value practices.
This double function can be described, in general terms, with Foucault’s use of the term “governmentality”. This is an art of government that, unlike “enclosures” is not based on decree but on management although this, as we will see, is also predicated on the iron fist of the state. With governmentality, the question is “not of imposing law on men but of disposing things9: that is of employing tactics rather than laws, or even of using laws themselves as tactics to arrange things in such a way that, through a certain number of means, such-and-such ends may be achieved” (Foucault 2002: 211). We cannot here discuss this category in details, as Foucault’s work on this issue is dense of historical details and insights.10 For our purpose here, governmentality is the management of networks of social relations on the frontline of clashing value practices.11 This management does not come from a transcendental authority that is external to the network itself, such as in the problematic of the Machiavelian prince. Rather, the problem and solution of authority is all internal in the network, and it is for this reasons that it deploys tactics rather than laws: tactics and strategies aimed at creating a context in which the nodes interact without escaping the value practices of capital. Social stability compatible with the priorities and flows necessary for accumulation, is one of the rationales of capitalist governmentality.
Examples of these practices are post-war Keynesianism and current discourses of neoliberal governance. A classic example of this “governmentality” are the productivity deals that were at the basis of the Keynesian era. These where the result of a long institutional process grounded on the crisis and struggles of the 1930s, the worldwide revolutionary ferments following the Russian Revolution, and became the kernel not only of Keynesian policies, but also the hidden parametric assumptions of post-WWII Keynesian models. Here the state did not implement laws establishing prices and wages (when it tried this in emergency situations it mostly failed), but promoted guidelines and an institutional context in which unions and capital would negotiate within an overall framework. In other words, “social stability” in the case of Keynesianism was seen as the output of a production process that had “government” as its “facilitaror” and class struggle as its enforcer on the global scene. While I refer the reader to the literature for a discussion of Keynesianism12, in what follows I want to deal with the modern form of governmentality: neoliberal governance.
What today is called “governance” is the name given to the neoliberal strategies of governmentality. As in the case of the Keynesian form, governance too emerges out of a crisis that increasingly presents itself as problem of “social stability”, a crisis that actualises the predisposition to rupture of accumulation, predisposition to interruption, slowing down, or refusal to maintain and increase the speed of flows which are necessary for the expansion of capital within the M-C-M’ cycle.
Neoliberal governance emerges as an attempt to manage clashing value practices along the requirements of capitalist priorities in an increasingly integrated world. Neoliberal governance is a central element of the neoliberal discourse in a particular phase of it, when neoliberalism and capital in general face particular stringent problems of accumulation, growing social conflict and a crisis of reproduction. Governance sets itself the task to tackle these problems for capital by attempting to relay the disciplinary role of the market through the establishment of a “continuity of powers” based on normalised market values as the truly common values across the social body. Governance thus seeks to embed these values in the many ways the vast arrays of social and environmental problems are addressed. It thus promotes active participation of society in the reproduction of life and of our species on the basis of this market normalisation. It depends on participation on the basis of the shared values and discourse of the market. According to this logic, every problem raised by struggles can be addressed on condition that the mode of its addressing is through the market: say the environmental catastrophe can be dealt with the market of pollution rights and the human catastrophe of poverty can be dealt with microcredit and export promotion.
The last quarter of a century corresponds to the emergence, consolidation and beginning of crisis of neoliberal policies. Governance discourse is located in this dynamic, broadly comprised by three phases. The first phase corresponding to the emergence of the neoliberal strategies between the late 1970s and mid 1980s was characterised by heavy “pro-markets” policies both in the North and in the South. In the North, this meant a heavy process of restructuring, often accompanied by anti-union laws, anti-wage/inflation policies, cuts in social spending and development of corporate welfare. On the other hand, in the South the same process occurred but in the form of the management of the debt crisis which begins and intensifies in this period. Hence we have structural adjustment policies, cuts in food subsidies and, from the perspective of capital’s value practices, other “uneccessary” expenditures from public budgets. In this period we also witness the beginning of massive social movements from the South, something that will become a serious problem to many governments in the second phase.
In the second phase roughly between mid 1980s and mid 1990s we have the consolidation of neoliberal policies into what has been called the “Washington Consensus” (Williamson 1990; 2000), the elements of which are now familiar and giving shape to many national policies and international agreements.13 The Washington consensus gives more coherence to policies that were initially implemented by means of rough and often crude ideological battles (Phase 1 are after all the years of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan), but its implementation meet with increasing problems and resistance.
In the context of this consolidation, IMF, WB and governmental institutions briefing papers begun to refer to “good governance”, understood as a particular system of government countries had to be structured. Ultimately, “good governance” implied the configuration of government bodies in such a way as to facilitate the terms of the Washington consensus and make them irreversible. At the same time, a crucial aspect of this period is the emergence on the public scene of the so called “civil society organizations” together with an acceleration of third world social unrest spreading now also in what will be called “transition economies”. The phenomenon, which is the truly birth place of what became later visible in Seattle, becomes so pervasive that academics began to take notice of struggles (Walton and Seddon 1994) and some campaigners in their attempt to “persuade” the Northern public and governments of the irrationality of the debt can wave the spectre of more “IMF riots” or “food riots” and social instability in general as a very likely cost if the debt crisis is not solved (George 1988). We need to indulge a bit more on this second phase, because it is here that we have the development of the context in which modern governance discourse emerges. It is useful to read the set of policies of the Washington Consensus by reading them as three normative prescriptions (Chandhoke 2002: 43). First, the state, both in the North and in the Global South should withdraw from the social sector. Second, the market should be given open access to all spheres in life and social reproduction and thus be free from all constraints. Third, people should organise their own socio-economic reproduction instead of depending on the state.
This trinity of normative prescriptions was often met with social opposition both in the North and, especially, in the South. Also, the implementation of neoliberal policies created a vacuum in social reproduction that has opened the space for new social and political actors. Neoliberal policies of enclosures, cut in social welfare and increase in corporate welfare have contributed to enormously increase income and wealth polarisation both within countries and among countries in the world. This, together with the reduction in entitlements, had devastating effects on the possibility of reproduction of livelihoods and communities. The neoliberal solution was of course based on the conviction that the market could/should supplant the state in providing for the needs of social reproduction. We know this in fact was not the case, as the horror statistics regarding the state of global health, access to food, water, public services some of which have been discussed in chapter 2 show. As the market was not able to provide for peoples’ needs of reproduction, we have a tremendous increase in the so-called “third sector”, that is that diverse and heterogeneous constellation of “civil society organisations” (CSOs), or Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), of local, national, transnational and international relevance. The latter for example grew of about 400% in the last twenty years (Anheier and Themudo 2002: 195).
As noted, the constellation of NGOs is of course highly heterogeneous, not only in terms of their reach local, national and transnational but also in terms of their forms of organisation networked or hierarchical their goals advocacy and campaign, education, mobilisation, meeting basic needs, intervention in emergencies, and so on as well as their general attitude towards political processes. This implies that although in several instances many of these NGOs dangerously share economic discursive premises with their state and corporate counterparts14, while others even consciously and actively promote neoliberal state and business values and agendas15, in many other cases they are the organisational expression of the social body striving to re-produce itself vis-a-vis capital.16 This primarily because their recent growth emerged through the same recent process that created the “globalised” market. The rationale of the vast majority of these organisations which we must remember are diverse and heterogeneous was thus to fill a vacuum in the need of social reproduction, a vacuum created by the restructuring of the state following neoliberal policies. Whether through charities, campaigns to raise awareness on critical issues, or direct intervention in reproduction in education, health, or replacing welfare state through networks of churches or mosques, civil society organisations have sprang into public domains to fulfil human needs. In the eyes of the neoliberals, such an emergent activity of society self-defence against market colonisation, is seen as an opportunity to build “social capital”, i.e. to promote a form of social cohesion that is compatible with capital accumulation. But in the eyes of the millions of grassroots organisers, the opposite is true: their activities is seen, amidst all the possible contradictions, doubts, and inadequacy of their actions and discourses not as social capital but as “social solidarity”, i.e. a form of social cohesion that sets a limit to capital accumulation and the colonisation of life by capitalist markets. It is this contrast between two meanings attributed to the signifier “civil society” that defines “governance” as another terrain of struggle.
The third phase in our periodisation (from the mid 1990s to the present) reflects precisely this. In this phase we witness major world economic and non economic institutions discussing the problems of governance, whether a post-Washington consensus ought to be developed17, of how to put together civil society and business, of how corporate governance should include issues that are important to “civil society”, and on the other hand, how “civil society” should meet the needs of business. At the same time, global social movements not only make their force felt into the streets and fields of the world, but are also undergoing a process of recomposition, a process still open ended, but, despite the set-back as a consequence of the war in Iraq and its attack on “civil liberties”, is still occurring in the meshing and circulation of discourses and values practices. In this period, the movement is not simply and no longer a series of distinct and isolated protests against the IMF, the World Bank or neoliberal economic policies, but a meshing of different movements, the creation of new composite identities emerging from the mixing of political and social subjectivities. What the mass global media saw in Seattle in 1999, in which students and workers, environmentalists and gay and lesbians, third world farmers and anarchists, communists and greens, build bridges in a highly productive and creative swarm, was only the tip of an iceberg of a process that was underway from at least the mid 1990s18.
Governance and “The Prince”
In Foucault’s terms governance can be defined as management of networks and flows “disposing things” made of different actors (government, civil society and business institutions) “continuity among powers” who are encouraged to become “partners” of a continuum called governance.
The problem is that Foucault seems to believe that the problem of sovereignty and that of governmentality belong to different epochs,19 that there is a kind of historical split between the time of sovereignty and the time of governmentality. I think the challenge is to see how in moments of crisis, capital seeks to articulate these two forms, how the power to coerce, to rule and to control is articulated with the power to seduce into agreement, and to establish continuity among powers in society. 20 Indeed, it may well be that the relation between the “rule of the prince”, sovereignty, and governance as governmentality may express a second line attempt to implement the policy of the “prince”.
The issues that have been considered as an application of governance in the last fifteen years are numerous. In the case of Genetically Modified Food, Levidow (2003) showed for example that in the mid-1990s the EU was granting safety approval through lenient risk-assessment criteria similar to the USA, but soon mass protest undermined that framework. In response, EU and national authorities engaged in a governance process with civil society, even on a trans-Atlantic scale.
Although the results are still ambiguous and indeterminate, the discursive parameters feature more stringent criteria as means to solve the problem of public confidence and legitimacy.
The UN global compact lists nine principles on the areas environment, labour and human rights issues which extend to a wide range: social, environmental and biodiversity management, management of emergent environmental problems at every level of aggregation (local, regional and global); promotion of human rights; labour rights, child labour and forced labour; international financial management. Another area of application worth mentioning is the production of war and the management of neoliberal peace (Duffield 2001). War here is not simply the product of an army in the war theatre, but is the co-regulation of different network of actors, the army, the media, the NGOs, the charities. Often these actors have different interests and goals, yet the way they are organised into a whole constrains their choices. The way these actors are articulated, their governance, allow them to claim they all “do their job”, without being able to question the rules of their functional integration in a broader mechanism.
Others make the example of regulatory functions that were once of national governments as the realm of governance networks. For example, the policing of “dirty money” flows across countries, in which international networks of bank’s clerks under pain of criminal sanction, supervise each other’s activities and standards across borders (Wiener 2001: 456).
The need for governance is also evoked in the case of global financial regimes, with civil society organisations said to have a “positive” function to play in their role as educators of the public on the intricacy of financial issues, their role as monitors of financial transactions promoting accountability and “transparency”. Crucially, the role of “civil society” in governance of finance is said to enhance social cohesion21 and legitimacy for the neoliberal International Economic institutions.22
Finally, after mass protests of the 1990s, governance talk is now a must in the design and implementation of controversial development projects: roads, dams, infrastructures in general. The neoliberal project is centred on massive infrastructure projects, especially those that promote the velocity of circulation of commodities (road, railways, new airports), or information for the sake of increasing productivity and competitiveness of the different regions. These projects often meet local and translocal resistance, for environmental reasons, displacement of communities, and so on. The answer that the governance discourse gives to that controversy is that the policy goes on anyway, however, different views are “taken on board” through the process of consultation on how to implement it.
Governance discourse and the continuity of powers: disciplinary markets as Commons
The “continuity among powers” referred to by Foucualt and that in terms of neoliberal governance allow the management of networks and flows made of different actors (government, civil society and business institutions), encouraged to become “partners”, is established through the formation of a common discourse, one that is grounded on the coupling among the value practices of capital (the acceptance of disciplinary markets) and other value practices. There are perhaps four operational pillars at the basis of this discourse.
1. Self-regulation and co-regulation.
2. Partnership among social actors.
3. Principles of selection.
4. Polanyi’s inversion.
Self-regulation and co-regulation.
As governmentality, also governance is supposed to be self-regulatory. For example, the UN Global Compact, a list of principles on environment, human right and labour standards that firms and NGOs are urged to subscribe, states: The global compact is not a regulatory instrument-it does not `police’, enforce or measure the behavior or actions of companies. Rather, the Global Compact relies on public accountability, transparency and the enlightened self-interest of companies, labour and civil society to initiate and share substantive action in pursuing the principles upon which the Global Compact is based (United Nations2000a).
The voluntary basis of governance has been heavily criticised as ineffective, in so far as the tackling of world’s problems such as environment, poverty, labour conditions and so on (Richter 2002). It is one thing to force the oil industry to stop further explorations and invest in renewable sources of energy instead, it is another thing to invite the oil industry to embrace the principle of “sustainability” and act with “civil society”. But voluntary engagement in the governance process is not simply the reason at the basis of ineffectiveness on these fronts. If I am a polluting firm and I voluntarily subscribe to a principle of sustainability, I am showing that I am in the “right direction” for redeeming myself by putting my activities under heavier scrutiny from civil society organisations. My word will be held into account. The problem however is that in this logic the account is simply and uniquely through media exposure, which means that “tactics” and “strategies” can be always employed to offset bad PR. Voluntary regulation is precisely what provides the space to navigate the contradictions emerging when different goals are posed, to navigate the contradictions allowing to gain time for deploying diverse and more media friendly tactics, and thus help constitute a “continuity of powers”.
Finally, it must not be forgotten that the voluntary co-regulation always within given parameters of co-regulation defined by existing framework of governance layer I.
Partnership among social actors
Another important pillar of governance discoursive practice is the idea of “partnership”. Partnerships is sponsored and promoted by UN agencies and UN global compact, national governments, global economic institutions and transnational corporations in a variety of instances. Its rationale is to establish that “continuity of powers” in such a way that different interests groups in partnerships (say firms and CSOs) can draw mutual benefit and their respective goals are pursued efficiently. Areas of application range from drawing up codes of conduct, to social audit and particular micro projects on the territory.
The advocates of such partnerships are of course moving from the ideological standpoint that regards existing market mechanisms and configuration of property rights as given, and justified by the fact that, as in the case of high tech industry for example, “only private sector firms can provide the research, technology and development capacity to address global health, environmental, and information challenges of the coming decade” (Richter 2002). They can indeed, but unfortunately, a part the fact that tax payers are subsidising private research and profits, private companies mostly provide research that pays off good financial returns, not the one that is most needed.(23)
But the key issue here is that the idea of “partnership” forces conflicting actors into discoursive common ground (Duffield 2001). It is for this reason that critics uggests an alternative vocabulary to use when CSOs have to deal with TNCs.(24) It therefore implies the ideological belief that the goals of different actors are not mutually exclusive. Consequently, it closes debates on values. By closing the debate on values, partnership has interiorised the perspective of the “end of history”. We are thus told that the only viable way for us to deal with the major issues we are concerned about is through voluntary participation in partnership
with large business, their goals, their aspirations, their ways to do things and to relate to the “other” (the “human other” either as competitor or invisible, the “nature other” either as resource or invisible) in short, their value practices. Once set up, the partnership process reproduces those norms through a system of mutual checks. Internalisation of norms is not given, but a strategic positing within the continuation of the systems. The mechanism of partnership is based on different actors sharing fundamental premises and the objective of mutual checks is the deviation from those premises. Partnership is constructed on the basis of such norms. Partners are partners because they share a discoursive norm. Thus we have a process of domestication and diffusion of the market norms/priorities through the social field, the naturalisation of those norms and critical focussing only on the deviations from those norms. By helping highlighting deviations from a norm (labour, environmental, etc.), neoliberal governance does not question the social production and values of those norms. Within the partnership discourse, just as polemics and controversy are constructed around these norms, so is the space for corporate public relation point scoring. For example, Nike’s web site (http://www.nike.com, accessed June 2003) fences off its critics by boasting that Nike’s Vietnamese factories are paying above Vietnamese minimum wage ($34 a month). Perfectly legal, perfectly moral, and commendable too: Nike can rescue its reputation by paying above minimum wage. It pays for corporations to invest in countries in which governments introduce minimum wages near starvation. All the same, Shell can claim it is complying with environmental regulations in Durban, SA, yet respiratory illnesses of school children in South Durban are four times higher than elsewhere and there are sharp differences in air pollution levels and polluting incidents at Durban, SA and Frederica, Denmark Shell refineries (Friends of the Earth 2002). Partnership does not recognise the universality of human needs, but the universality of the market norm. It does not recognise commons as conditions for the reproduction of livelihoods, but posits disciplinary markets as the common on the basis of which livelihoods are pit against each other. Disciplinary markets become the yardstick against which deviations from the norm are measured, appraised, evaluated and brough back to the market standard and in so doing the social production of this norm is internalised and left unchallenged.
Discoursive common ground of this nature leaves out classic questions of political theory regarding social justice, social contract, legitimacy, authority or power. Why have we abandoned this discussion? What sense there is in avoiding confronting disciplinary markets with other values?
Principles of selection
If “Partnership and participation imply the mutual acceptance of shared normative standards and frameworks”, than “[d]egrees of agreement, or apparent agreement, within such normative framework’ establish lines of inclusion and exclusion” (Duffield 2001). Indeed, once CSOs are confronted with the offer of partnership the key questions are for example the following: what are the principles of selection? Who are the agents/actors participating in the establishment of partnerships? Who do they represent? Will they accept the common ground
necessary to play “games under rules”, or will they want to play games about rules (Stoker 1998). And if there rules are not that of the market and profit, will they be labelled “rouges”, “deviants”, “terrorists” and criminalised accordingly? And if they are part of the game, to what extent are they under external pressure (such as budgetary constrains, limited access to resources) that limit their space and power to set desired rules?
The case of “corporate governance” can provide us with some general principles of selections.
Principle number 1, discretion. You are selected “partner” if you sign a confidentiality agreement. Your results of monitoring of environmental performance (or record on human or labour rights) will not be disclosed.(25)
Principle number 2: Setting up hand picked groups instead of working with existing ones*(26). There is of course a long corporate tradition in organising their opposition and turning them into “partners”, in which companies have created unions to undermine less manageable workers’ own. The same tradition is now extended to include environmental and other groups.
Principle number 3: Enforced selection. Working with local authorised groups in totalitarian countries. Shell again here is pointed out in its work in China.(27) The UN is aware of this tactic that defines as “beneficial and silent complicity” (UN 2000a: 24).
Principle number 4: Divide and rule. Invite existing groups to closed door regular consultation, thus discouraging public debate.(28)
Another pillar of the governance discourse is what we may call “Polanyi’s inversion”. Karl Polanyi was the institutional economist whose seminal work The Great Transformation represented an important criticism of the myth of selfregulating markets and the neoclassical conception of the “economy” as a realm of human action that is independent and separated from society (Polanyi 1944). He argued that the economy, rather than being a distinct realm, is embedded in society. Governance discourse turns Polanyi’s criticism of neoclassical economics into its head as it is based on the need to embed society and the environment into the economy, into business priorities. Embedding society and environment into economy and business priorities is for example a landmark of the UN sponsored Global Compact 2000.
The rationale is that a commitment to corporate citizenship should begin within the organization itself by embedding universal principles and values into the strategic business vision, organisational culture and daily operations. (United Nations 2000b: 3, my emphasis)
Why is there the need for embedding society and environment into economy and business priorities? Because of a “growing moral imperative to behave responsibly is allied to the recognition that a good human rights record can support improved business performance” (United Nations 2000a: 18). Human rights, environmental protection and “universal values” are thus good for business. But what about if they are not? What types of value come then first, “universal values” or shareholder values? And how are we then supposed to deal with the issue if the latter come first, since there are only voluntary codes?
An illustration of the bias of such an approach can be given by visiting the web site of one of the signatories of the global compact, Shell. After several public relation disasters concerning the allegation of the links between the oil company and the Nigerian regime in the repression of the movement of the Ogoni people and the execution of human right leader Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995, Shell launched a huge public relation campaign and is now in the front line on the question of corporate governance and working with civil society in what we called governance layer II. In 1997 they made a “public commitment to contribute to Sustainable development.” In 1998, they published their first Shell report “documenting the actions we have taken to meet our responsibilities and creating value for the future.” In its website (http://www.shell.com, accessed June 2003) Shell boasts a commitment to sustainable development, a concept “developed under the auspices of the UN as a way for governments to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.” Although “[b]usinesses alone cannot create a sustainable future” they have however “an important role to play”. The pledge is thus that “We [ie. Shell], as part of society, intend to play our part both as a company and an energy provider.” In 2002 they published another report in which “meeting the energy challenge” includes talks of collaboration with other parts of civil society and sustainable development projects. Sustainable development becomes a way to “integrate the economic, environmental and societal aspects of our business to achieve sustained financial success, safeguard our environment and develop our reputation as partner and provider of first choice for all of our stakeholders.” In this sense, “Sustainable development is not just about the environment and social concerns, it’s very much about economic performance too. For these reasons it makes good business sense.” Embedment and a continuity among powers is here a must: “Our biggest challenges now are consistent delivery across all our operations and weaving together the economic, environmental and social strands of sustainable development, rather than addressing each in isolation.”
However, as soon as one’s browser is pointed at the page listing Shell’s seven principles of sustainable development, one cannot fail to notice principle number 1, “Generating robust profitability,” or, to quote fully: Successful financial performance is essential to our sustainable future and contributes to the prosperity of society. We use recognised measures to judge our profitability. We seek to achieve robust profitability by, for example, reducing costs, improving margins, increasing revenue and managing working capital effectively.
This is soon followed by principles number 2, “Delivering value to customers”. All the other principles more familiar to environmentalists are subordinated to the sustainability of markets and profitability.
We can thus wander whether this Polanyi’s inversion that acknowledges on one side the “values” of society on grounds such as “human rights”, “environment”, “labour standards”, and on the other subordinate them to the economic and business priorities of corporate capital, is just a type of public relations. Shell for example forecasts a yearly expenditure for renewable energies of about $200m a year, 1.7 % of their capital expenditure. Yet at the same time current yearly expenditure for fossil fuel exploration and reproduction is $8bn (Friends of the Earth 2002).
Neoliberal Governance and the Beginning of History
Governance, far from representing a paradigm shift away from neoliberal practices, has been shown to be central element of the neoliberal discourse in a particular phase of it, when neoliberalism and capital in general face particular stringent problems of accumulation, growing social conflict and a crisis of reproduction. Governance sets itself the task to tackle these problems for capital by relaying the disciplinary role of the market through the establishment of a “continuity of powers” based on normalised market values as the truly universal values. Governance thus seeks to embed these values in the many ways the vast arrays of social and environmental problems are addressed. It thus promotes active participation of society in the reproduction of life and of our species on the basis of this market normalisation. Neoliberal governance thus seeks co-optation of the struggles for reproduction and social justice and, ultimately, promotes the perspective of the “end of history” at the point of crisis of social stability.
Neoliberal governance is a way to deal with the problem of “stability of social flows” that cannot be turned into systemic disciplinary flows by the market mechanism as in the original neoliberal project. There is also ground to believe that the level of recomposition of the movement in the third phase of the neoliberal period has made the task of governance quite difficult. Governance is in crisis at the very beginning of its implementation. Very few NGOs can sustain material or discoursive close partnership relations with business and government without at the same time alienating the support of social movements and thus their legitimacy.
In this context, we could ask whether war and especially the paradigm of permanent war that is emerging after 9/11 can also be seen as an opportunity to push forward the project of neoliberal governance. The recent U.S. administration bashing of NGOs, coupled with the hike in the criminalisation of social movements and pervasive patriotism brought by the permanent “war on terror”, might represent a desperate attempt to impose the principle of selection and the discoursive common ground that we have seen is necessary for governance to be operational.
After all, it was the Second World War that facilitated the formation of a common discourse between unions, state and corporations, through the institutionalisation and bureacratisation of trade unions in the United States facilitated by the state in exchange of the “no strike pledge” and acceptance of the rules of bargaining and of companies right to managerial control of production (De Angelis 2000a).
The governance discourse is a discourse that constructs difference in such a way to integrate it. To the World Banks or IMF operators, the “other” who protest, fight, problematises, campaigns and take issues against the World Bank, the IMF or the G8, must be taken inside, so as they can join the “debate with civil society”, if not, in certain rare cases, to the negotiating table. But in this way, the other must be knowable, predictable; its protesting “otherness” must be formalized into a set of procedures that allow integrating it to the priority of capitalist growth and market promotion of the same organisations they are protesting against. To be integratable, “the other” must be judged within the parameters and principles of selection of a market discourse, that can certainly be reformed from the “excesses” of early neoliberism (that is adopt the soft neoliberalism approach a la Jeffrey Sachs or Joseph Stiglitz) to acccomodate dissent, but not to the point to question the principles that markets must be the instruments of choice for articulating livelihoods on the planet. In this way, the integration of the struggling other implies its transformation into something else, no longer autonomous, but discoursively coupled to the value practices of capital. It is only when the “protesting other” claims its autonomy and irreducibility to capitalist markets and its value practices, that we can hope to make inroads in changing the institutional setting of our lives29, even if this must happen through compromises.
Finally, the implication of this analysis is also that governance discourse, together with the neoliberal project, can and must be problematised and opposed by reconnecting with the traditional problems of political theory, the question of what constitute social justice. If governance is a strategy attempting to establish a “continuity of powers” geared to accumulation, and if this continuity of social powers subordinates any value to the market as value, then governance and neoliberalism can and must be problematised by reopening the question of “values” and “power”. This is not a question of outlying “universal values” and asking people to regroup beyond them. Rather, it is a question of finding organisational forms through which questions regarding the values governing our planetary social interactions are raised in every corner of the global social body, in every interstice of social practice. We need to push forward the process of opening the debate over how we produce and reproduce our species and our ecosystems. Which in turn poses the question of the exercise of human powers, of who control what, for what purpose, for what ends, in what manner. Ultimately, it is only a question of reopening history through a political process grounded on the activity of asking fundamental questions and the reclaiming of value practices other than capital.
1 The term homeostasis “stands for the sum of all control functions creating the state of dynamic equilibrium in a healthy organism. It is the ability of the body to maintain a narrow range of internal conditions in spite of environmental changes (Skyttner 1996: 57). See Also Capra (1997: 58). We should be aware that term of homeodynamics could be better indicated because “it suggests the process of seeking an adjustment rather than a fixed point of balance. “ Damasio (2003: 302). See also Steven Rose (1998). In any case, I will keep with the term homeostasis to keep with standard conventions.
2 Positive and negative feedbacks do not refer to quantitative changes in value but in the direction of change of the linked elements. So for example, a “+” signs are attributed to indicate movements in the same direction and “-“ signs movements in the opposite direction. See Capra (1997:60).
3 American Physiologists Walter Cannon (1932) developed the concept of homeostasis.
4 “Stasis clearly is one of those Greek word names that have almost the inner contradictory complexity Freud taught us to associate with products of the subconscious. It means an act which correspond with the root esten (“to hold straight, to be standing up”), signifying at once “the fact of standing up”, hence site, position, stability, firmness (stasimos is said of all that which is calm and well planted, just like stasimon in a tragedy denotes the text fragment which the choir sings without moving about), and “the fact of getting up”, hence uprising, rebellion (stasiodes means “seditious”). In political terminology the word stasis came to signify, at the public level, the “state” (Polybus, 16,34,11) – and at the individual level, the “position” of a person in society (Polybus, 10,33,6). Stasis refers therefore to state, estate, government, establishment, standing; sometimes the “party”, sometimes the “faction” (Herodotus, 1, 59), and, more generally, the “civil war” itself (Thucydides, History, 3, 68-86). As if the state found itself necessarily linked to insurrection, as to its shadow or its condition of possibility.” (Cassin 2002: 2-3. My emphasis)
5 It goes without saying that in both cases, the problem of scale must be kept in mind in order to analyse the relevant context (Harvey 2000).
6 This invisibility of the basic social processes producing and reproducing command on daily activities may account from what seem to be the greatest fallacy upon which an otherwise productive and inspiring tradition of political and philosophical thought has constructed its thinking of the contemporary condition. Authors from Gilles Deleuze to Antonio Negri argue, among others, that we live in a post-disciplinary society when in fact in the last quarter of a century we have witnessed and endured, through the hammer of structural adjustments and war, the largest expansion of the most pervasive disciplinary mechanism known to humanity, what Hayek called the market order. See chapter 9 for a discussion.
7 See Marx’s (1975) analysis of alienation in his Economic and Philosophical manuscript.
8 This is, to me, a way to ground the “study of the body . . .in an understanding of real spatio-temporal relations between material practices, representations, imaginaries, institutions, social relations, and the prevailing structures of political-economic power” (Harvey 2000: 130) without abandoning the problematic of the frontline clashes of value practices.
9 The key issue is that these “things” with which governments are concerned are in fact people in their relations, “their links, their imbrication with those things that are wealth, resources, means of subsistence, the territory with its specific qualities, climate, irrigations, fertility and so on”. Also, their relation to “those other things that are customs, habits, ways of acting and thinking, and so on” as well as “their relation to those still other things that might be accidents and misfortunes such as famine, epidemics, death, and so on.” (Foucault 2002: 208-209).
10 One key feature of this disposition of government, that Foucault traces in its origin in the XVI century in anti-machiavelian authors such as La Parrière and political economists such as Quesnay is the introduction of “economy” into political practice, that is, as Rousseau poses the problem, “to set up an economy at the level of the entire state, which means exercising toward its inhabitants, and the wealth and behavior of each and all, a form of surveillance and control as attentive as that of the head of a family over his household and his goods.” (Foucault 2002: 207). The problematic of government is therefore different from that of sovereignty and the prince as in Machiavelli. “Whereas the doctrine of the prince and the juridical theory of sovereignty are constantly attempting to draw the line between the power of the prince and any other form of power because its task is to explain and justify this essential discontinuity between them in the art of government the task is to establish a continuity, in both an upward and downward direction.” Upward continuity implies that “a person who wishes to govern the state well must first learn how to govern himself, his goods, and his patrimony, after which he will be successful in governing the state.” (Foucault 2002: 206) On the other hand, “we also have a downward continuity in the sense that, when a state is well run, the head of the family will know how to look after his family, his goods, and his patrimony, which means that individuals will, in turn, behave as they should. This downward line, which transmits to individual behavior and the running of the family the same priciples as the good government of the state, is just at this time beginning to be called `police’. The prince’s pedagogical formation endures the upward continuity of the forms of government, and police the downward one. The central term of this continuity is the government of the family, termed `economy’.” (Foucault 2002: 207). The role of the family here should be taken loosely. What matters is the exemplification unit. In neoliberalism, this unit was the firm.
11 Networks are understood currently as set of interconnected nodes of people and resources, as well as their link, their relations. See Castells (2000).
12 Among an extensive literature, see Negri (1968), Cleaver (1979), Midnight Notes Collective (1992), De Angelis (2000a).
13 These include fiscal discipline (strict criteria for limiting budgets); public expenditure priorities (away from subsidies and administration towards ‘neglected fields with high economic returns…’); tax reform: broadening the tax base and cutting marginal tax rates; financial liberalisation: interest rates should be ideally marketdetermined; exchange rates: they should be managed to induce rapid growth in non-traditional exports; trade liberalisation: tariffs not quotas, and declining tariffs; foreign direct investment: no barriers and ‘equality’ with domestic firms; privatization of state enterprises; Deregulation: abolition of regulations that resitrict competition by limiting market entry to new firms; property rights: secure rights without excessive costs and available to the informal sector. (Williamson 1990)
14 For example, in May 2002 the British NGO Oxfam launched a report in support of exports promotion for tackling Third World countries poverty (Oxfam 2002). The position was seen as too dangerously close to World Trade Organisation rhetoric and thus generated a lively debate from within the world of NGOs and CSOs. Contributions included Colin Hines, Vandana Shiva and Walter Bello among others. See the debate reported in Oxfam (2002) as well as in http://www.theecologist.org.
15 See for example the American Enterprise Institute, the most powerful think tank in Washington, D.C., and with close connection with the Bush administration and large coporations such as Motorola, American Express and ExxonMobil in its board. On June 11, 2003, the institute itself an NGO has launched “NGO Watch” with the aim of monitoring NGOs activity, in the same way NGOs generally monitor corporate activities. “In fact, it is a McCarthyite blacklist, telling tales on any NGO that dares speak against Bush administration policies or in support of international treaties opposed by the White House.” Naomi Klein (2003a).
16 This however must be qualified. There are major differences between NGOs emerging form grassroots communities working to catalyze communities’ participation in local projects and international NGOs implanting their modes of doing things and their priorities into local areas. As reported to me by several NGO workers, often international NGOs arrive in local area and, because they are well funded, out compete local ones. This exposes local communities to the risk of seeing vanishing the provision and delivery of foods, medical, educational and engineering services when more needed, that is as soon as a “security crisis” affect the locality and international NGOs pack up and go home.
17 See for example Martin (2000).
18 It is perhaps worth mentioning the anti-Nafta campaigns in early 1990s, the first recent experiment in the Northern hemisphere of cross boarder and cross issue organising and of meshing of identities. Few years later, in 1996, during the Zapatistas promoted Encuentro, a diverse composition of participants experienced the first glimpses of a different type of politics, in which anarchist, feminists, communists, farmers, workers, indigenous and academics from a variety of languages and political backgrounds started learning to build on difference rather than ghettoising through difference. The more recent experience of the World Social Forum, begun in Porto Alegre in 2000, is the direct result of that experience spread throughout the political circuits of the world.
19 As we have seen in chapters 4 and 5, Silvia Federici (2004) shows how the brutal strategies of the “enclosure of the body” were part and parcel of the emergence of bio-political strategies in Europe during the “transition” to capitalism.
20 To clarify, another useful way to understand themeaning of governance is to contrast it, along a variety of criteria, to the more intuitive concept of policy. In both cases we have some kind of government action. This is true even in the case of “corporate governance”, as proposed for by the UN global compact (United Nations 2000a; United Nations 2000b) discussed at the end of this chapter, where the government acts by abstaining from regulating important areas such as human rights, issues linked to labour and environment and so on. However, in terms of its purpose and rationale, in the case of policy we have a type of government action that has clearly defined objectives and clearly defined means. In the case of fiscal and monetary policies for example we have policy instruments (the “means” of interest rate, tax rate, government expenditures or monetary aggregates) that are used to reach certain objectives such as employment growth or a particular level of inflation targets. On the other hand, the purpose and rationale of governance is not so clear cut and “linear”. The main problematic of governance is the accommodation and articulation of conflicting interests, not the achievement of goals, which are external to the process itself. Thus, the emphasis of policies is the casual relations and the correspondent transmission mechanisms. Underneath policies there are questions such as “what goals are important?”; “how do we reach these objectives?”. Different theoretical and policy approaches and paradigms help shed light on these different questions by identifying different casual relations. On the contrary, in the case of governance, the emphasis is on the organisational principles through which thosearticulations of conflicting interests arise. Anoth er important difference is the role of government institutions. In the case of policy the role is to formulate and implement, while in governance it is to promote and to a certain extent enforce compliance, but mostly set the framework and contribute to the definition of the process of selection of the actors involved in governance action. Another important difference among these two types of government actions is the role of non-governmental actors. In the case of policy, this role is to obey norms, which are given from the top. In governance, it is to participate in the definition of rules, again with certain limitations, depending whether these are games about rules of games under rules (Stoker 1998). The occurrence in time is the other important difference. Policies are discrete events, while governance is a continuous process.
21 “Civil society might through its various positive influences enhance social cohesion. Contributions to public education, stakeholder voice, policy debate, transparent and accountable governance, and material welfare can all help to counter arbitrary social hierarchies and exclusions that global finance might oth- erwise encourage. As a result, global finance would contribute less to social conflict and more to social integration, vigilance and monitoring” (Scholte with Schnabel 2002: 25).
22 “Banks have recognized this general principle with their recent attention to issues of policy `ownership’. Civil society can offer a means for citizens to affirm that certain rules and institutions of global finance should guide - and where necessary constrain – their behaviour. Likewise, civil society can also provide a space for the expression of discontent and the pursuit of change when existing governance arrangements are regarded as illegitimate” (Scholte with Schnabel 2002: 25).
23 For example, more than 11 million young children die every year, the risk of dying in childbirth is one in 48 in developing world and HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases are rampant. Yet, “from 1975 to 1996, 1,223 new genres of medicines were developed, but only 13 genres were intended to cure deprived people from major tropical diseases. In 1998, from the total budget of US$70 billion allocated for research of the giant medicine corporations, only $300 million (0.43 percent) was allocated for AIDS vaccine research and $100 million (0.14 percent) for malaria medicine research.”
Instead, the great bulk of research funding “was allocated to the research of cosmetics, obesity and
other `vanity’ drugs” (Nugroho 2002). Surely, a “partnership” based on the priority of profit and market values will not change this trend.
24 Richter (2000) for example proposes the following: “Instead of ‘dialogue’, for instance, words such as meeting, talks, discussion, debate or negotiation would be more exact. Using other terms would limit the impression that communications between industry and other actors aim at a free and open exchange of views between equal partners. Instead of ‘partnership’, the following terms could be used:
· corporate sponsorship or funding (for donations in cash and kind);
· tenders (for instance, for negotiations to achieve lower prices for industrially-manufactured products such as medicines);
· outsourcing or contracting out (of public services such as water supply and health care to for-profit entities);
· collaboration (such as on research into new pharmaceuticals and vaccines, which is often publicly subsidised);
· consultation (for example, on scientific standards which affect industry products or practices);
· co-regulation (for mutually-agreed arrangements governing corporate conduct);
· personnel secondment (for corporations placing and paying for their employees to work in international agencies such as those of the UN and the World Bank).”
25 See for example the case of Shell in Durban (Friends of the Earth 2002: 7).
26 See Friends of the Earth (2002: 9).
27 See for example Friends of the Earth (2002: 14).
28 As reported to me by an informer who has worked with