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Ties that Collide: Embeddedness under Democratization and Neo-liberalization

By LaDawn Haglund | October 1, 2005

Abstract: This paper uses the example of public goods privatization to argue that efforts to promote social and economic citizenship under democratic governments and drives toward neo-liberalism are mutually inconsistent. In an attempt to embody principles of inclusion regarding the provision of public goods, democratic societies create institutional arrangements—such as state intervention and civil society mechanisms—that tie the economy to society. Neo-liberalism, conversely, creates institutional arrangements that shield economic actors from the very state interventions and social demands that bind markets according to societal bargains. Examples from privatization efforts in the electricity and water sectors in Costa Rica and El Salvador are used to show how institutional arrangements that come about through democratization entail state capacities and types of autonomy that conflict with the capacities and autonomies called for by neo-liberalization.

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Read More: Business, Democracy, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Americas

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