'Habitation vs. improvement' and a Polanyian perspective on bank bail-outs
Watson, Matthew. (2009) 'Habitation vs. improvement' and a Polanyian perspective on bank bail-outs. Politics, Vol.29 (No.3). pp. 183-192. ISSN 0263-3957
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9256.2009.01354.x
The bank bail-outs enacted by the Brown government in the wake of the 2007 credit crunch have had a distinctive political character. Despite the government's pronouncements on the merits of swift and decisive interventions, I argue that this does not amount to a return to the interventionist regulatory form associated with post-war British welfare capitalism. The Polanyian distinction between 'habitation' and 'improvement' is used to show that the bail-outs were designed by contrast to defend the underlying deregulatory logic of the existing financial regime. The only real change of note was to uncover forcibly the often hidden influence of the state in the making and regulation of an ostensibly market-led neoliberalism and the creation instead of a much more overt state-led neoliberalism. Habitation strategies were incorporated into a structure of financial deregulation, making it more rather than less difficult to rejuvenate state capacities consistent with enhancing societal welfare. The bank bail-outs offered short-term salvation for distressed firms within the financial sector without providing the state with socialised control over the conduct of banking business in order to promote forms of social policy consistent with post-war British welfare capitalism.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Politics and International Studies|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Brown, Gordon, 1951-, Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009, Banks and banking -- Government ownership -- Great Britain, Welfare economics, Great Britain -- Economic conditions -- 1997-|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Politics|
|Publisher:||Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.|
|Official Date:||October 2009|
|Page Range:||pp. 183-192|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
|Funder:||Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)|
|Grant number:||RES-000-22-2198 (ESRC)|
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