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International transformations of the capitalist state.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/2011
JournalAntipode
Journal number1
Volume43
Number of pages21
Pages87-107
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

There has not been a retreat but a transformation of the state, involving significant changes in both the public sphere of politics and the so-called private sphere of economic activity, and in their modes of interaction, especially law. The privatization of state-owned assets and the reduction of direct state economic intervention have not led to a reduced role of the state but to changes in its form, involving new types of formalized regulation, the fragmentation of the public sphere, the decentering of the state and the emergence of multi-level governance. This has been complemented by the increased salience of “private” regulation, so that in many ways the apparently private sphere of economic activity has become more public. In fact, there has been a complex process of interaction with a blurring of the divisions between apparently private and public regulation. Despite talk of deregulation there has been extensive reregulation, or formalization of regulation, and the emergence of global regulatory networks, intermingling the public and the private. The transition from government to governance means a lack of a clear hierarchy of norms, a blurring of distinctions between hard and soft law, and a fragmentation of public functions entailing a resurgence of technocracy.