Governance, the State, Regulation and Industrial Relations

Governance, the State, Regulation and Industrial Relations

Governance, the State, Regulation and Industrial Relations

Governance, the State, Regulation and Industrial Relations

Synopsis

This book examines the legacy of economic and political aims and objectives formulated by the British government during, and immediately after the second world war. It examines contemporary patterns of regulation by the state, and reform in the industrial relations system as factors of these historically embedded influences. This book makes an important contribution to the history and theory of British post-war economics.

Excerpt

This chapter summarizes the wider arguments developed in the main body of the book and suggests how an embedded pattern of governance constrains long-term economic performance and structures internal regulatory institutions, such as those in the industrial relations system. Moreover, although the book takes a critically informed approach, it seeks to draw out the consequences of decisions and processes that remain both historically significant and necessary.

The purpose of this book is to illustrate the conceptual and historical frailty of the period since 1979 as a contemporary transformation in economic performance, in the role of the state and in the industrial relations system. The argument of the book examines contemporary patterns of regulation by the state and also measures of economic performance and reform in the industrial relations system through historically embedded influences on the state. Contemporary patterns of regulation reflect historically embedded influences, although in many cases the contemporary period appears as a substantive break with the past. Formative influences structure historically significant processes, such as industrialization and the institutionalization and incorporation of the employed class into the state. For example, libertarian laissez faire, voluntary regulation, self-regulation and the virtues of short-termism remain key influences in the UK state. The relationship between each appears functional, yet it is contradictory. Moreover, the prevalence of short-termism further reinforces these tendencies. Hence, a formative influence only becomes historically embedded when it appears functional to practitioner groups to act as an autonomous yet contradictory part of the state. A preference for regulation by the voluntary agreement dominates not only in the industrial relations system but also in many other areas, e.g. the Police Complaints Authority, The Advertising Standards Authority and The Press Complaints Commission. Each institution regulates voluntary agreements and standards. In contrast to this, ‘deregulation’ of public transport and the public utilities, pension provision, training provision in Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs), etc. create pressure for voluntary codes of practice and complaints procedures, with few if any underpinned by statutory regulation.

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