The Evolution of Intermediary Institutions in Europe: From Corporatism to Governance
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Since the return to democracy, no Brazilian president has had control over the legislative houses, but the large majority of the approved legislation has been sent by the presidency and approved. This has been due to a combination of legislative powers in the hands of the presidency and several institutions within the legislative chambers that gave great power to party and congressional leaders, forging party discipline. Additionally, occupation of key institutional positions in the executive has been intensely negotiated between the presidency and the parties, leading to a presidential model with strong traces of parliamentarism.
The result is a strong executive contrary to the hypothesis of the hegemonic literature , but with its strength depending on negotiations with the parties Figueiredo and Limongi, This new institution has produced important effects on social policies. Although national, these characteristics are also present at the state and municipal levels.
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But most of the time, their influence on policies is carried out by occupying executive positions, in exchange for legislative support. At least since the mids, this power has been exercised through the control of the aldermen over a significant part of the local services delivered by the regional administrations now Submunicipalities responsible for small street paving, garbage collection and other daily maintenance services.
Recent administrative decentralization reforms have enlarged the list of services provided by these decentralized units. These local powers are granted by mayors to aldermen, since they almost never win majorities electorally, and have to build broad party alliances. Local bureaucracies tend to be feeble in the majority of municipalities, although their capacities are growing fast, in great part due to federal induction Arretche, Besides politicians and political parties, elite actors include for profit enterprises, or urban capitals.
But by urban capitals I do not mean collective or individual actions of capitalists interests located in cities in some form of local corporatism. The truly relevant group of capitals for urban policies is the one that extracts their valorization processes directly from the production and functioning of the city. They include at least three different types, considering their relations with the State and the role of urban land in their valorization processes. A first type of urban capitals includes the development industry, already addressed by Marxist urban sociology.
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Their valorization cycles are strongly dependent on land availability and become crystallized in specific locations. Their products are sold directly in the market, which tends to be competitive, except for projects built in very important locations. During each cycle, these capitals interact with building companies and with landowners and may superpose them , but their profits have very different origins.
While building companies seek industrial profits and landowners charge for land use, developers profit from the development of projects which change land values by changing land use. Since land is not produced, its price is associated with the uses it receives. By changing the land use, developers change land prices, creating their profit. The State influences profit rates by creating regulations and planning, but it is not a direct buyer.
The stronger emphasis of the literature on the role of these actors is justified by their capacity to transform land occupation and, by doing so, to create spatial tendencies that influence entire regions of the city. Its collective action is usually observed during the approval of municipal laws - Master Plans, Land Regulations etc. Considering the centrality of land use transformation in their actions, the interests of developers are strongly entrenched in space. At least three production cycles have happened since the return to democracy.
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The first two - from to and from and - were highly concentrated spatially in the expanded center and focused on higher income production, especially during the first period Marques, Shimbo recently showed the existence of a third cycle starting in , with a much larger amount of housing units of lower value aimed at the lower middle classes and constructed by larger companies, enabled by developers' capital going public in the stock market from Shimbo, During this new cycle, the market share of low and middle income units increased substantially and the location of the projects tended to be less concentrated in the central areas.
The second type of urban capitals includes those involved in the production of urban infra-structures. In terms of production process they have similarities in common with the construction industry in general. They organize industrial processes - combining production factors to create merchandise, but in this case land is not an issue, or at least not a central issue for their valorizations processes. Location is defined by the buyers of their services, namely private developers who create settlements that need infra-structure or the State which buys urban infra-structure generally , and the availability of land is solved by these buyers.
As I suggested in Marques and , the large majority of this market works as an oligopsony - several sellers but few large buyers, which are mainly State agencies creating bids and contracting public works. Therefore, price formation and the quantities and qualities of products in these markets depend substantially on what happens within the State.
These markets have, as a consequence, intrinsic political features, and private companies have strong incentives to try to influence what happens within the State. For this reason, political corruption tends to be present. A third and last group of capitals involves urban service providers such as transportation and garbage collection. As in the previous case, the State is almost the only buyer, repeating the oligopsonic structure of competition, as well as the political nature of the market. Differently from it, however, the contracts are not located in time and space, but spatially scattered and temporally long lasting, and the importance of urban land is low.
This creates specificities for governance patterns, as we will see later. Another specificity is that in this case, it is the functioning and maintenance of the city that are at stake, which makes this sector much less affected by financial and fiscal crises than the previous ones.
An additional remark about urban capitals must to be made, considering their centrality among national private companies in Brazil. Considering the historical construction of the Brazilian economy, both the State and private foreign companies played major roles from the s, with a new important surge in the s.
Brazilian capitals specialized mainly in banking - a sector which was intensely privatized in the s - and construction, one of the sectors in which Brazilian multinationals operate nowadays. This happened at all levels of the federation, leading to a strong involvement of local elites with construction and development companies.
A considerable number of mayors and municipal secretaries are owners or co-owners of construction firms or urban development companies, which obviously creates great difficulties for the production of planning policies or the establishment of land regulations. This political difficulty is even greater because land has always been a very important economic asset for local elites, given the historical weaknesses of the country's financial markets.
At the other end of the social structure are popular actors. During the s, the metropolis hosted important movements and associations, mainly organized around health, sanitation and housing demands. From the s, these movements forced an increase in service delivery, but also had a more diffuse effect associated with rerouting the local agenda towards distributive policies.
This is especially true of the development of infra-structure policies in the peripheries and the creation and dissemination of slum upgrading initiatives. In this case, these local experiences created new policy alternatives, as well as a large policy community. Urban social activism also became more heterogeneous from the s, in part due to the presence of other channels of participation and political action under democracy, including NGOs and participation in public policy delivery.
At the same time, the democratic policy reforms substantially enhanced participation in policy processes through Policy Councils and Conferences Tatagiba, Civil society organization has therefore been occupying a new role, going from 'active centrality' to 'passive centrality', according to some authors Gurza Lavalle, Castello and Bichir, Councils spread during the s in local governments and in the Cardoso administrations also became present at the federal level, as well as enforced locally by federal policies.
On the other hand, more recently, several national Conferences according to policy were developed in order to enhance participation and include a larger number of participants than the ones seen in regular policy Councils.
This participation, together with the return of electoral politics, signified a very important increase in service delivery for the poor. Investments in the peripheries and the reduction of inequalities in access were issues that used to oppose left and right-wing governments until the s, but presently all governments express the political will to face them even if only in political discourse.
The same can be said about slum upgrading policies, initiated in left-wing administrations but later spread to all governments. I believe this is due to several victories by the left and the social movements in a political environment increasingly controlled by elections, which dislocated the agenda towards more redistributive directions. The Governance of Urban Policies. In Brazil, the abovementioned actors interact in various ways according to the existing literature. In fact, for a significant number of authors, the interpenetration between State and private actors was one of the constitutive characters of the Brazilian State.
This lead to the formation of "bureaucratic rings" connecting groups from the State and the private sector Cardoso, to the privatization and segmentation of the State or the constitution of highly privatized and poorly targeted social policies. This replaced the "intermediary organizations" present in other countries - political parties, trade unions and volunteer organizations.
So, the Brazilian interest intermediation is distant both from European corporatism and US lobbying, involving actors personally connected to State agents. And consequently, the main arenas for political conflicts alliances and negotiations are not legislative bodies, or formal participatory institutions. However, for this literature, interest intermediation would involve piecemeal, localized, intentional ties oriented towards a 'privatization of the State'.
In Marques and , I sustained a more continuous, sociological effect, connecting State and non-State actors through networks of individual bonds constructed over time, within policy communities based on what I called the relatively stable 'relational fabric of the State' Marques, This is also different from what the policy domain literature Laumann and Knoke, has sustained, since these networks could just be part of larger social networks involving entities from within and without the State and linked by different types of connections.
The framing of such a fabric might influence the political conflicts taking place inside the State, since actors use the relative positions they occupy as power resources. Besides that, this fabric would intermediate the permeability of the State to actors located both in society and in markets, specifying the interest in the intermediation patterns of each policy. So, the main arenas for political conflicts, alliances and negotiations would be State agencies and policy communities and their networks.
I will return to this in greater details in the next section. The following discussion presents the existing patterns considering the literature. It is important to stress that these patterns sometimes interpenetrate, reinforcing or contradicting each another. This paper details the analysis of the latter, associated more directly with the production of the city's built environment; the general features of the other two can be found in Marques This governance pattern, however, includes several subgroups, considering the different legacies and configurations of the actors and institutions involved.
Therefore, the following discussion analyses four subtypes, considering their characteristics. Large Infra-structure Policies and Public Companies. Policies are formulated and implemented within large state companies, with relatively low control from the outside. The decision and implementation arenas are internal to technical communities centered in the state companies. Policy change is sometimes produced by the technical community's internal dynamics, such as generational changes.
But this may also happen through transformations in the connections between the community and the executive Marques, , although sometimes even elected politicians have difficulty controlling the technical communities who run the policies Marques, , depending on institutional and political elements. The role of legislative bodies and of collective lobbying is minimal. The main form of access involves the use of social networks by private interests to reach public officials.
Their collective interests are associated with the adoption of certain policy solutions, as well as with influencing the bidding processes in terms of prices and conditions. Individual companies, in turn, are interested in being selected for public contracts.
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When corruption occurs, it is associated with illegal schemes aimed at producing victories in public bids in exchange for illegal private contributions to parties during elections, although in all cases individual there are also gains for the 'operators' of the schemes. It is a mistake, however, to consider that the large majority of policy is decided or influenced by corruption.
The decision process tends to be technocratic, albeit influenced by both the interests of political parties and private companies. This pattern is not specific to urban policies and includes several areas associated with the production of large infra-structures urban sanitation, subway, electricity and metropolitan trains, but also power dams, ports etc.