Australian Urban Planning: New Challenges, New Agendas

By Brendan Gleeson; Nicholas Low | Go to book overview

9
Let the market decide! From
managerialism to neoliberalism

Among the various reform agendas, it is neoliberalism that has had the greatest effect on the institutions of planning in the past 10 years. As we have made clear, the impact of neoliberalism is a major stimulus for writing this book. The tide of movement to embrace the market in everything threatens both planning and democracy. We have seen the results of this tide on both cities (chapter 3) and their governance (chapters 4 and 5). Advocates of neoliberalism want to go much further. Unless the tide turns, all meaningful planned intervention in the land economy will be abolished.

In this chapter we first review in more theoretical terms the shift from a social democratic form of managerialism to full-blown neoliberalism. We then outline some of the threats to planning that neoliberalism is now vigorously pursuing. We consider such threats pursued under the framework of National Competition Policy, arising from the development industry, and within the planning profession itself.


Managerialism and neoliberalism

From the moment that government planning began to be seriously considered, opposition to it started to form. All through the 1950s and 60s Friedrich von Hayek—like Mannheim, an Austrian exiled to Britain in the war years—turned out book after book denouncing government ‘collectivist’ planning. Hayek argued for individualism (individual freedom from the constraint of community, society or state), the rule of law, the virtue of the automatic coordinating effect of the market, consumer sovereignty, private property rights, and a minimal state to

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