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The challenge for any revolutionary movement is to move from protest to power and it is here that Gramsci comes into play. Gramsci argued the multidimensional forms of capitalist rule would necessitate a long march through civil society.
Therefore class struggle would be characterized by a transitional period in which the battle over politics, culture and ideology was key. Gramsci termed this a war of position in which popular social forces need to build counter-hegemonic institutions that contend with capitalism and occupy autonomous social and political space.
In this context a principal condition for winning power is to exercise leadership within civil society. This was counter poised to the war of maneuver, defined as a frontal or insurrectional attack against the state, as well as periods of intensive and active struggle such as strikes and mass protest.
A war of position also allows time to build a historic bloc of social forces capable of building a new society. This convergence of interests takes place between a diverse set of oppositional movements and class sectors building counter-hegemonic institutions.
For Gramsci, the more extensive civil society developed the stronger capitalism became. Here it is important to distinguish between anti and counter hegemony movements. Globalization has set-off a prairie fire of grassroots social movements big and small. The majority of these are local struggles demanding the state or transnational corporations be more forthcoming in their distribution of resources and wealth.
Such demands may include higher wages, better health care, sustaining welfare payments or anti-sweatshop campaigns. Other social movements have focused on the extension of democratic and human rights for oppressed minorities, women or immigrants often linking these campaigns with political reform.
The environmental movement has also mobilized millions to protest the destruction and exploitation of earth on both a local and global scale. However, the majority of these movements limit their opposition within the dominant structures of property and global market relations.
This is particularly true since the failure of industrial socialism left activists without a vision of a workable alternative society. The immediate establishment of socialism is no longer even the demand of revolutionary insurgencies. Broader mass based left political parties have also faced a crisis. These organizations came together by merging numerous political trends and social movements. With historic roots in popular struggles and courageous and legitimate popular leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Lula de Silva, these parties pointed to a post-Bolshevik left which was mass and democratic, but more militant than the tired and compromised social-democratic parties of Europe.
This failure has renewed the debate over political strategies with particular focus on the relationship between social movements and the drive for state power. Adding to the debate has been various government initiated experiments with the market.
Economic reforms in China have led to rapid growth, but the state has guided the process, with Chinese leaders proclaiming their new strategy as market socialism. In Venezuela the government of Hugo Chavez has used co-operatives in a mix economy to promote social justice.
Debates over the market, state and social movements are also fueled by the economic engagement of grassroots organizations occurring throughout the world. This has grown in reaction to the neo-liberal abandonment of welfare and support services as well as the privatization of state industries that led to the lay-off of millions worldwide. This retreat from state led economics and the resulting social crisis of poverty pushed people to create their own solutions for survival. Concretely this has meant the development of rural and urban cooperatives, militant land seizures and factory occupations.
In addition, there are the powerful historic experiences in the success of Mondragon in Spain and the cooperative movement in northern Italy led by the Italian Communist Party centered in Bologna. All this has created a broad discussion over the use of markets as a tool for social justice, its relationship to state planning and the role of autonomist movements.
Dialectical Democracy As transnational capitalism becomes dominant, alternative globalization projects begin to play prominent oppositional roles. Resistance based on the old industrial Fordist social relations tend to recede and forms of struggle arising from the new contours of social relations become more visible and viable. This transitional dialectical has two major manifestations. The first takes place at the level of the world system as contradictions within transnational circuits of accumulation; the second set of contradictions takes place within each country as it rearticulate its local social structure for insertion into the global economy.
Conflicts that typify contradictions in global accumulation concern relations between nations and problems faced by transnational capitalists in their efforts to build a global system. These become apparent over issues such as fair trade, access to markets, political rights in determining the policies of global institutions and maintaining sovereignty in the face of transnational corporate power.
Conflicts do not simply pit national class forces against transnational actors, but also contingents of transnational capitalists competing over specific concerns and interests. One important manifestation of the first contradiction has been the growing alliance of Third World globalists in their attempt to gain greater power within the transnational economy and world political bodies.
Their challenge to traditional Western domination is one form of alternative globalization that could lead to a major shift in the world system. Harris, a But the strategy is unlike the twentieth century wars for national liberation or the Bandung era strategy of state led industrialization and import substitution. Rather it is a struggle for a fair share of profits and trade within the new circuits of global accumulation.
Thus the struggle is not a desire to opt out of globalization and form an independent parallel structure, but an attempt to have greater influence within by changing the character and balance of global relationships. The second contradiction is found within nation states as they struggle to adjust their social and political structures to accommodate globalization.
This is conditioned by their own institutions, history and culture, and mediated through local forms of class conflict. Demands tend to focus on the means of social reproduction, control over state assets, and the protection of our environmental heritage. This covers a wide range of issues including education, health, employment, privatization and the use of natural resources. These contradictions are manifested with particular force between the state, market and civil society.
But key to this concept is that both the state and market are necessary for a functioning economy, that an independent civil society is essential for functioning democracy, and that together they constitute an organic and interdependent whole.
One of the great ideological accomplishments of capitalism is the belief that all markets are by definition capitalist. But markets existed before capitalism and certainly forms of post-capitalist markets will also exist. Another fallacy is the insistence from the traditional left that state directed economic planning is superior and more just than market socialism.
But there is simply no historic proof for this position. One can certainly say there were important advances in the Soviet Union, China and other centrally planned economies. But these ultimately failed to survive and leave us no convincing evidence that state socialism is a better guarantor of equality or success than market socialism; particularly in light of anti-democratic practices by the socialist state.
Nevertheless, many on the left have dedicated themselves to attacking the market and call for its eradication or severe restriction. This has been true of traditional Marxists tied to state-centric forms of socialism, as well as anarchists who demand the end of the state for good measure. For state orientated Marxists, government is the best site for economic planning and development. But central planning is continually challenged by the corrupting influences of the market where the rule of competition and profits can only end in the exploitation of labor and the rise of capitalist class forces.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there is general recognition that far greater input from workers at the enterprise level is necessary, but the state is still seen as the guardian against the demon of market deviations. From the anarchist point-of-view market relations are the basis of social inequality and therefore worker co-operatives must coordinate their activities based on the exchange of equal values and equal efforts without competition or market pricing.
The state should have no role since it can only lead to authoritarian bureaucracy and the destruction of participatory democracy. The essential problem for both these radical strains of thought is their one-sided approach that ignores the historic ties that bind together the state and market in a dialectical relationship.
They resolve the contradiction by attempting to destroy either the market or the state, rather than understanding the transformation of both and their continuing linked relationship. Both the state and market have necessary economic functions and both present problems and dangers to equality and democracy. Their relationship is dialectical, interconnected and in permanent tension, as well as historically defined by the level of culture, education, technology and class relations.
There can never be a permanent balance or equilibrium because the relationship shifts depending on the needs of society and the demands and level of organization of different class strata. In fact, a dynamic disequilibrium characterizes the relationship, while periods of stability and smooth economic growth should be understood as temporary periods in which contradictions have yet to clearly manifest. Therefore those that make an eternal principal for the dominant role of a single social institution are not only idealistic in their concept of historical process, they also fail to understand the essence of politics is to accept the existence of contradictions and chart a course of progress that seeks to resolve them in a non-antagonistic manner.
For example, the state of the infrastructure, energy sources, schools, health services, information technologies and scientific research are always temporal questions of historic development. In each area the balance of responsibility, planning, funding and work needs to be resolved between the best mix of state and market mechanisms. In addition, as soon as any policy is implemented it changes the conditions that brought it into existence, therefore shifting the balance between the effectiveness of the market or state.
Policies tend to radiate through each of these interconnected levels with unforeseen consequences, sometimes with effective synergies, sometimes creating problems that create new conflicts and demands. In building a post-capitalist society the key question becomes how can the market and state be used best to accomplish the social goals decided upon in the political process?
In recognizing this we also acknowledge a shifting relationship and emphasis between the state and market that becomes reflected in political struggle and policy. The material and social interests of different class strata will tend to push political solutions that seek greater state control over the market or greater freedom for market forces. This is the central tension that needs to be accepted as a fundamental aspect of social reality and resolved through non-antagonistic democratic political struggle.
Whether we use the Marxist terminology of socialism, the environmental language of sustainability, or a different formulation, democracy needs to encompass the dialectical tension between the state and market and the social interest inherent in each.
By recognizing both these aspects there exist the possibility that the market can limit tendencies toward an authoritarian bureaucracy and state corruption, and that the state can impose limits on market inequalities and prevent the destructive exploitation of labor and the environment. The anarchist argument that the continued existence of the state inherently leads to corruption, or the Marxist argument that the continued existence of the market inevitably lead to capitalism, elevates historical determinism over human agency.
But there is nothing inherent in the structure of the state or market that makes this historical fate, particularly so in post-capitalist society. They thereby abandon dialectics for dogmatism in their defense of ideology, making the suppression of the market or state a predetermined necessity outside of historic context. This leads to the distortion of dialectical democracy and the suppression of institutions and social interests that need to be part of an alternative capitalist society. Historically this path has lead to conceiving socialism as the victory of one class, or one party, and the disjuncture of democracy from political practice.
The market also aims at efficiency, and acts to counter the bureaucratic overcentralization that plagued earlier forms of socialism. What he does accomplish is to conceive of an open relationship between the market and state mediated by a democratic political process.
If the dialectic between the state and market is characterized by dynamic disequilibrium so too is the dialectic between the state and civil society. The only way to contain this tension within the framework of non-antagonistic political struggle is with a flexible and plural democracy. Contradictions must be accepted as a normal functioning of political society in order to maintain social cohesion and prevent the suppression of differences through authoritarian use of state power.
An important lesson can be learned by looking to the American Revolution that enclosed state authority within the framework of institutional checks and balances that separated the three main branches of government into the presidency, the courts and congress.
This was a historic political advance and has been a key element in maintaining constitutional democracy for over years. While space was provided for public input through the Bill of Rights, society was structured as a representative democracy with real power always dominated by the elite.
Nonetheless, the concept of checks and balances can be extended to include civil society through the formal inclusion of grassroots organizations in the decision making process that oversees social wealth and assets. Such an arrangement will extend the space for democracy and create autonomist centers of power. Political struggle over policy direction would certainly take place within these institutions as well as between these institutions and the state, extending the field of political competition.
Creating plural political territory can also help avoid the stagnation of ideologies that become trapped in the justification of privilege or cornered by a pope or chairman. The key is to give institutional expression to civil society in the praxis of power. This concept of checks and balances can also be applied to the relationship between the state and market. By expanding democratic space we open the possibilities for a Gramscian war of position and a transitional period in which oppositional forces can progressively develop institutional power.
This would happen in both the political and economic realm, locally as well as globally. The struggle for a new society not only begins in the space of the old, but also continues to consolidate and expand in building the new.
Revolutions are too often seen as a total break from the past. Both the French Revolution and Pol Pot in Cambodia officially reset the calendar to Year One thinking to immediately recreate their worlds. But new class relations need time to take hold and create forms of cultural hegemony that permeate all social relations. Even after such tremendous upheavals the codification in laws, habits and culture of capitalist relations took years to fully develop.
The same should be expected in post-capitalist societies. Social transitions take time, even when punctuated by wars or revolutions. These new political struggles create the mass experience, practice and consciousness that will help determine the future course of global society. If we hope to develop a relevant theory of social change we need to study the important battles of today that have raised the banner of alternative globalizations.
One such battle has been taking place in Bolivia. Neoliberalism came to Bolivia in with the government privatizing most state owned industries to foreign interests, cutting social services, and all but destroying the once powerful unions.
As self-employment, temporary labor and subcontracting grew, wages were cut to half their previous value. The types of resistance that developed in this mass mobilization, and the following political battles over gas resources, are rich examples of alternative forms of democracy and social organization.
Social well-being would be achieved for everyone, or for no one at all. Industrial capitalism had massed workers into concentrated work sites creating a common experience and consciousness expressed through their unions and classed based political parties. Having lost these affiliations and common identities new collective forms arose in civil society based on neighborhood groups, small businessmen and market vendors, rank and file labor groups, peasant and craft unions, and professional and student associations.
The Coordinadora acted as the central node, building a horizontal network of these groups. Each sector was organized into assemblies that met and sent spokespersons to represent their viewpoint in the Coordinadora. After a number of mass mobilizations and intense street battles the government retreated and broke their contract with Bechtel.
The Coordinadora had succeeded in creating an autonomist democratic space in civil society based on assembly-style communal politics. But large collective actions and common decision making is often an aspect of mass, but temporary, social rebellions. The task now was to turn this newly won space into an institutional form with a permanent position in civil society. Perhaps the way of overcoming this organizational weakness is to consecrate, institutionalize, and symbolically ritualize the local and regional assemblies as institutionalized assemblies of the Coordinadora.
Creating more than committees these groups, working with technical staff, solve a multitude of problems arising over services, sanitation, maintenance, environmental concerns and costs. In addition, as formal ownership of the water reverted back to SEMAPA, the municipal water company, the Coordinadora named the general manager and created room on the executive board for union representatives and professional organizations.
The social movement in Cochabamba understood this as a strategic battle, viewing the market as a question of democracy and a space to contest transnational power. The object is not to simply demand more resources from the state, but to occupy autonomist institutional positions that democratize decision-making power over social wealth.
In this manner participatory management over state run services was connected to civil society and popular participation in the economy.
Another important aspect of the Water Wars was breaking free of the culture of cynicism, apathy and defeat. Neoliberalism had achieved ideological hegemony, isolating people by destroying their belief that people could change and manage society. But the successful mass mobilization and victory in Cochabamba created a counter-consciousness that spread throughout Bolivia, helping to mobilize further battles over the recovery of gas resources and the extension of democracy.
This is a vitally important aspect of the war of position, wherein autonomist space creates a new confidence and self-awareness that propels people to organize and become agents of change. But change in social consciousness is a long drawn-out process. Popular organizations always face the danger of becoming an appendage of state clientelism as mass participation withers. Under such circumstances leaders are often incorporated into the state as local mediators with the power to distribute resources.
Another problem is organizations based on specific social sectors often fail to develop lasting solidarity and a united political strategy. This can result in growing isolation and competition over social resources based solely on their immediate needs. These are dynamics that need to be recognized as points of continuing conflict, particularly by those who tend to portray social movements as the only pure representation of grassroots democracy.
In fact, under certain circumstances a popular democratic government may be the best vehicle to maintain a strategic plan for social justice and overcome the petty squabbles that can dominate local and regional groups.
In order to expand counter-hegemonic space from the local to the national level the Coordinadora proposed a Constituent Assembly.
The effort here is to reapropriate democracy from a restricted and statist form with an expanded and participatory model.
In part it is similar to worker councils or soviets that appeared in the early stages of previous socialist revolutions, before these grassroots structures became absorbed by the state. But without the existence of a single leading party there is greater emphasis on the independent role of the social movements.
But the autonomist strategy does not encompass all the social movements in Bolivia. Movement To Socialism MAS under the leadership of Evo Morales has a powerful presence and became focused on winning the presidency of the country.
MAS developed out of the cocalero struggle against the militarized anti-drug campaign brought to Bolivia by the US. The coca growers symbolized a peasant movement fighting for economic survival, and came to occupy a militant and historical cultural position within Bolivian society.
As an important sector in the social movement MAS launched electoral campaigns in that won the second most seats in congress and in the presidential race placed Morales just one percentage point behind winner Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. While continuing to take part in the mass social mobilizations Morales concentrated the efforts of MAS on an electoral strategy for power. As Stewart's talk emphasised, there is a need to refocus research and political attention on the challenge of rising inequalities.
However, the paradox is that both states and civil society find themselves constrained by the power of the market, just when they are most needed to tackle inequality. Civil society mobilisation is increasingly around identity, not class. A key challenge for research is to identify transformative pathways that avoid inequality-increasing patterns of growth.
The conference deliberations contributed to this challenge. Violet Barasa's article this IDS Bulletinwhich draws from these deliberations, makes it clear that the problem of inequality goes beyond inequality between households in their incomes from work and asset ownership.
Important too are intersecting inequalities along lines of gender, age and ethnicity, as well as inequalities in access to public services and security schemes. Her article looks at the challenges of addressing inequality through three focal issues that were discussed at the conference: In each sphere, part of the challenge is that inequalities are themselves embodied in the ways dominant institutions operate — for instance, labour markets are significant bearers and re-enforcers of gender relations.
Furthermore, the overall dominance of market forces is producing and exacerbating inequalities. This suggests that a rebalancing is needed to enable greater power to state and civil society institutions if problems of inequality are to be addressed.
The deepening challenges of inequality and unemployment in cities received much attention, including in a panel devoted to this theme. This underlined the new importance of urbanisation as a global process creating many challenges, and a new focus on cities in IDS work.
Optimism lies in the emergent forms of informal organising and work in cities across the world, and the growing importance of cities as sites of 'exemplar governance', sometimes engaging in governance, livelihood and social experiments in a semi-autonomous way from their enveloping nation states. Alluding to earlier debates on markets as political White, this IDS Bulletindeliberations on this theme placed strong emphasis on the role of the state in shaping markets.
As Mariana Mazzucato's plenary talk emphasised, the financial crisis of proved that state intervention was critical to fix market failure.
But states can be 'entrepreneurial' Mazzucatoshapers as well as fixers, for instance in building exploratory public sector organisations that can invest in new innovations that will push the frontiers of existing markets and lead to the creation of new ones. A combination of carefully monitored strategic public finance — whether provided by national governments, or international actors such as development banks — and public—private partnerships emerged as key in market creation.
Amrita Saha's this IDS Bulletin article picks up on this argument and on further conference deliberations, relating it to the particular challenge of promoting inclusive innovation — broadly understood as innovation that involves, meets the needs of and empowers technology users, including poor and vulnerable groups.
With examples from agriculture to health, the article draws attention to the array of factors that shape innovation, creating conditions for technology to be developed, adopted and finally diffused in ways that enable local capacity and inclusive outcomes.
The factors span the triad of state, market and society, and often involve alliances between them. Inclusive and participatory approaches to innovation can valuably draw on the everyday knowledge and creativity of citizens and civic society — a theme that Dipak Gyawali and Michael Thompson pick up in the context of Nepal in their article later in this IDS Bulletin.
They propose innovation as a distributed activity where communities can innovate and organisational structures are built on local knowledge. Particular opportunities and challenges in this respect relate to technologies and investments promoted by the so-called rising powers in low-income countries, such as through Chinese and Indian investments in African agriculture. The interactions between firms and local actors seem to be key in whether or not such technology investments are able to build local capability that contributes to the creation of livelihoods at the level of the domestic firm or farm.
Yet further questions concern how far small and medium enterprises and small-scale farmers can upgrade and link into the emerging global value chains potentially being led by the rising powers. As the conference debates underlined, critical questions concern the political economy of innovation, and how to ensure that the process is not only inclusive for all actors, including the poor and marginalised, but actually creates structural change that leads to growth and development outcomes that are more broad-based.
Intertwined human and natural processes, accelerating especially since the s as a result of shifting and intensifying patterns of production and consumption, as well as market neoliberalism has undervalued nature, and produced deeply unsustainable development pathways.
Introduction: States, Markets and Society – Looking Back t | Leach
Environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, land degradation and disease emergence are all interrelated, and affect everyone — locally, nationally and globally. The current and future development era must be an era of sustainable development Schmitz and Scoones ; one in which 'green transformations' in society and economy are required Scoones, Leach and Newell Sunita Narain opened this theme with a plenary talk, included as a short opinion piece in this IDS Bulletin, which lays out the challenge of unsustainable growth and its relationship to increased inequality and marginalisation, leading to an insecure future.
She underlines that sustainability and in equality are inextricably linked, and addressing one without the other will be ineffective. The vivid illustrations she draws from urban India confirm that 'solutions have to work for the poor if they are going to work for the rich'. Following this opening, four dynamic panels discussed the intersection of states, markets and society in accelerating sustainability. Ramy Lotfy Hanna's article draws from these, offering arguments and evidence of the roles of market-led, state-led and citizen-led processes in transformations to sustainability.
A particular focus is how alliances in favour of sustainability transformations are forming between state, market and civic actors, and the processes holding these together. Yet as shown in conference case studies around issues such as water and sanitation in India, renewable energy in Kenya, and agriculture in Argentina, within each part of the state—market—society triad there are forces that are against, as well as for, positive change.
Understanding and engaging with these politics is essential in building green transformations. As Hanna's article indicates, conference discussions also focused on the capitalisation of nature, exploring the unexpected alliances between NGOs, private investors, conservation entrepreneurs and states in commodifying and financializing ecosystems, carbon and biodiversity for sale in international markets.
This contemporary phenomenon, based on extending neoliberal ideas and institutions into nature, nevertheless requires state and civil society alliances in its operation. The result can, however, be the undermining of ecosystem processes that are actually vital for sustainability, while such marketised 'green growth' approaches can all too easily become 'green grabs' that dispossess local land users and contribute to inequality Fairhead, Leach and Scoones Across the conference deliberations, a recurring theme was that sustainability is being constructed in different ways in different contexts, with implications for who gains and who loses.
Such versions of sustainability — and the pathways towards or away from them — also depend very much on the politics of a particular place; in transformations to sustainability, there is no one-size-fits-all. Examples from Nepal, Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania and Kenya highlighted the need to make the global goals meaningful in national and local settings. In meeting the pressing challenges of implementation, citizens and businesses have roles to play, but commitment by governments — and their accountability to the public in delivery — is critical.
Key discussions addressed the extent to which institutions are able or not to update themselves to be fit for purpose, the actors which influence them most and to whom they are accountable. Across a range of issues, from taxation to global governance, two overriding questions emerged about the character of institutions for a new development era. How are institutions shaped? And how are they made accountable? Both these themes are picked up in Rachel Godfrey-Wood's article in this IDS Bulletin, which addresses in particular the politics of institutions in meeting the challenges of climate change.
A recurring theme is the acknowledgement that institutions are not free-floating, and are themselves the products of interventions by particular actors. As Godfrey-Wood's article emphasises, even institutions which are frequently assumed to be pre-existing, such as markets, are in fact outcomes of interventions, meaning that more attention needs to be given to the actors who have brought them about and who exert decisive influence over them.
Much conference deliberation emphasised the dangers of 'capture' of key institutions by elites: However, while there was broad agreement over this, there was less consensus over the types of actors who are more likely to have both the strength and will to ensure that institutions are pro-poor and democratic.
This question of how institutions are made accountable loomed large in the conference discussions. Some speakers emphasised the importance of social movements and civil society organisations in holding powerful actors to account, such as tax campaigners in Uganda who collected 4. At the same time, others pointed out the importance of local-level bureaucrats, who can have surprisingly high leeway for defining the role of the state in the provision of health care, as is the case in much of rural China.
Others still emphasised the re-emergence of 'strongmen' leaders in the 'developmental patrimonialism' of Ethiopia and Rwanda. This raises the question of path dependency, and whether or not particular conditions are likely to facilitate the emergence of some actors but not others, or whether on the other hand there is more margin for agency than is often assumed.
Here, a series of panels explored the contemporary nature of civil society engagement in both rhetoric and reality.
A strong convergence of debates between North and South reflected the universalist perspective on development pervading the conference, and again underlined the value of comparison and cross-learning across countries.
As one participant put it: This is an opportunity for civil society more generally — how do we change power dynamics in our own country? On the one hand, formal spaces for civil society voice and participation are closing in many spheres; a phenomenon also explored in Evelina Dagnino's article in this IDS Bulletin. Threats to civil society organising are being felt very keenly in many countries, whether in official moves to quell advocacy or in increasing government control of mainstream media.
In other contexts, civil society organisations are being co-opted by state or business interests. Discussions identified many of the failings of conventional 'civil society', understood as NGOs, whether local, national or international, in achieving progressive change that addresses global challenges.
On the other hand, we are also seeing the emergence of alternative means to represent citizen voice and claims. Sometimes this is through 'unruly politics' and protest; sometimes through informal spontaneous forms of community organising and advocacy, and sometimes through social movements and their networks, extending from local up to national and global scales.
As Faith and Prieto-Martin explore, digital technologies and social media occupy vital but ambiguous places in these new politics of citizen engagement, offering important opportunities to open up space but also selective in which voices are represented. Meanwhile, it is important to be aware of how unruly politics and digital spaces are used, not just in the service of progressive forces to redress inequality, sustainability and security, but also by extremist groups with quite different aims.
This ambiguous moment for the 'society' part of the triad highlights important agendas for future analysis and action. There was also discussion of how to reconfigure and reinvigorate alliances between localised and Southern-based movements, and Northern and international NGOs and civil society — without 'sucking the oxygen out' of vibrant, engaged local politics.
The theme of alliances looms large in the final set of articles. These draw from plenary talks at the conference to reflect more broadly on changing state—market—society relationships in development in current times, and for the future.
Each looks back to look forward. And each offers powerful arguments and illustrations of the potential of new alliances in tackling challenges such as inequality, sustainability and inclusivity — yet also some important words of caution. Luka Biong Deng Kuol's article offers an insightful comparison between global changes over the past 50 years, and those in the USA during the decade known as the 'Roaring Twenties'. Both, he argues, saw reactions to economic downturn followed by trends that saw increasing aggregation of wealth for a small proportion of the population.
He argues that the relative roles of the state shaping development pathsmarkets the 'Washington Consensus' and neoliberalisation and society the rise of global civil society and social movements to prominence over the last 50 years have produced a development paradox, in which massive increases in global economic growth and technological innovation have coincided with rising global wealth inequality, and divergence in prosperity and development outcomes.
Yet, he suggests optimistically that new public—private—civil society alliances and hybrid forms of governance hold the potential for 'fairer global governance, checking greed and achieving equitable growth' in the future. In his article, Michael Edwards warns against confusing such alliances with the blurred and blended institutions that are now becoming popular in development discourse — as donors, business leaders, philanthropists, consultants and commentators emphasise the potentia of social enterprises, and social and impact investing.
He sees this as an extension of the ideological turn towards the market that began in the late s, 'now being supercharged in the softer language of blending and blurring'.
In practice, he argues, such blended institutions are actually less numerous and significant than many imagine. Moreover, they carry dangers, as blurred boundaries can all too easily mean blurred accountabilities. History shows us that alliances work best when government, business and civil society work as equal and complementary sets of institutions that can hold each other in mutual, constant and creative tension, rather than when they mix and merge their identities.
New opportunities for radical innovations in society and economy are certainly emerging, but to make the most of these, he urges a move 'back to the future' by re-emphasising the differences between government and civil society and their autonomy from each other, even as they enter into alliances with business and the market.
Evelina Dagnino's article focuses on another contemporary reaction to neoliberalism — the resurgence of arguments for strong states in shaping development. Emerging strongly in several Latin American countries and with diverse echoes in other parts of the world, from Ethiopia and Rwanda to Chinathe discourse and practice of the 'new developmentalist state' has much in common with the older 'developmental states' of s and s development thinking — but are more than ever now expected to coexist with and regulate strong markets.
In countries such as Brazil, the new state developmentalism has certainly helped in tackling poverty and inequality, and in promoting social exclusion. However, it has come at a cost to state— society relations, undermining and overturning several decades of innovation in participatory democracy, the involvement of citizens in public policy decisions, and institutional models to promote such engagement.
Instead, there is a re-emerging conception of the state as a self-sufficient entity, in which citizen participation and voice are reduced to mechanisms of representative democracy such as votingmany of which are dominated by elites. Finally, the article by Dipak Gyawali and Michael Thompson links this question of the appropriate balance between state, market and societal forces to the politics of knowledge. With a focus on Nepal's recent experiences of development, they take the locally salient notion of dharma as a lens to suggest that the balance of complementary forces is off-track.
This is partly because, they suggest, each element is distorted: Intersecting with this problem is the disjuncture between what they term 'eagle's eye' views of development from the top down, and how everyday realities on the ground are experienced by Nepal's diverse populations.
Understanding these requires a different, bottom-up 'toad's eye science' attuned to and grounded in ethnography, citizen knowledge and lived experience. Development paths and progress, and the rebalanced state—market—society triad to achieve them, must, they suggest, be defined, assessed and evaluated in ways that include such toad's eye views — requiring a different politics of knowledge in development and by implication, development studies.
To quote Michael Edwards' article, 'Traditionally… government, business and civil society were seen as different but equally valuable parts of a healthy whole, complementary but necessarily separate from each other'. He suggests that this model is 'so unfashionable today that it is seen as retrograde or even irrelevant', yet in various forms it was the framework that underpinned shared prosperity in many parts of the world.
As many articles in this IDS Bulletin have documented, in broad-brush terms the over-dominance of market forces with respect to the others, through the neoliberal period of the s onward, accounts for the rise of many of the challenges we see today — growing inequalities, environmental degradation, exclusion of marginalised groups and rising insecurities, with all their consequences for development.
So the question arises, is this triad still relevant to tackling these challenges in the future, and what new roles and relationships are emerging, and will be required?
Across the articles here, the answer to the first question is a resounding yes — this remains a highly relevant framework. But in different ways all suggest a rebalancing, to give — in both development discourse and practice — greater weight and influence to state and societal forces with respect to those of the market. The question of new roles and relationships is inevitably more complex, and the conference deliberations and articles here document numerous dilemmas and ambiguities, as well as clear directions.
Much depends on the issue in question, and on the embedded configurations of power and institutions in different places that shape what is possible, and indeed imaginable. What is clear is that in the context of emerging global challenges such as the triad of inequality, unsustainability and insecurity, a vibrant set of agendas for development research and action is emerging. What new alliances and relationships between states, markets and society will enable the meeting of future development challenges, locally and globally?
The articles in this IDS Bulletin and the conference debates prefigure some of the specific questions that such an agenda must address, and begin to answer them.