The political discourse of globalisation : globalising tendencies as self-induced external enforcement mechanisms
I begin with a critical deconstruction of the conventional wisdom of globalisation. If the world does indeed resemble that depicted in the conventional wisdom, the claim that policy change is structurally determined at the economic level could well be sustainable. However, I show that globalisation rhetoric corresponds poorly with globalisation reality, suggesting that other causal influences on policy change must also be explored. I argue that in addition to examining the international economic conditions of domestic political change, a more comprehensive understanding of the globalisation experience emerges if we also examine the domestic political conditions of international economic change. Viewed through such a perspective, New Labour’s appropriation of the conventional wisdom of globalisation appears to be strategic. The repeated appeal to ‘globalising necessities’ has been used to displace the need for active consent to the political status quo in Britain. So long as the conventional wisdom continues to resonate within public discourse, the continued reproduction of the political status quo seems secure; even though I demonstrate that the management of the economy within the parameters of that status quo has become increasingly contradictory. Moreover, so long as the government acts in a manner consistent with the globalisation hypothesis, I show that path-dependent effects threaten to lock-in precisely those structural constraints which its globalisation rhetoric at present purportedly merely describes. As a consequence, this process of lock-in would then also inscribe the current contradictions within the government’s economic policy as a structural feature of the macroeconomic regime.