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From competition to the foundational economy

For thirty years, the British economy has repeated the same old experiment of subjecting everything to competition and market because that is what works in the imagination of central government. This book demonstrates the repeated failure of the 30 year policy experiments by examining three sectors: broadband, food supply and retail banking. It argues against naïve metaphors of national disease, highlights the imaginary (or cosmology) that frames those metaphors, and draws out the implications of the experiment. Discussing the role of the experiments in post-1945 Britain, the book's overview on telecommunications, supermarkets and retail banking, reveals the limits of treatment by competition. Privatisation of fixed line telecoms in the UK delivered a system in which the private and public interests are only partially aligned in relation to provision of broadband. Individual supermarket chains may struggle but the four big UK supermarket chains are generally presented as exemplars because they have for a generation combined adequate profits with low price, choice and quality to deliver shareholder value. The many inquiries into retail banking after the financial crisis have concluded that the sector's problem was not enough competition. In a devolved experiment, socially-licensed policies and priorities vary from place to place and context to context. However, meaningful political engagement with the specifics in the economy will need to avoid losing sight of four principles: contestation, judgement, discussion, and tinkering. While others can be blamed for the failure of the experiments, the political responsibility for the ending and starting another is collectively peoples'.

Success at the cost of suppliers
Andrew Bowman, Ismail Ertürk, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, and John Law

like G4S, have a comparable effect on the labour market. But their influence extends far beyond their own superstores and distribution centres. Because they are retailers of others’ products, the supply chain has 60   The end of the experiment? an ­importance here which it does not have in our other cases; furthermore a substantial part of the supermarket food supply chain is inside the UK. Food manufacturing is the largest sub-­sector of UK manufacturing sector by sales, with turnover of £62.25bn in 2012. If we add the 836,000 employed in food production in 2011 to

in The end of the experiment?
Open Access (free)
Some key issues in understanding its competitive production and regulation
Terry Marsden

this chapter my aim is to re-examine some of the key issues associated with the production and regulation of food quality. These are, as will become clear, highly influenced by consumption dynamics; but, for the moment, I regard it as important to analytically separate these spheres in order to attain the requisite depth of treatment of the ways in which quality foods are constructed and regulated – albeit in the consumers’ interest. I examine ideas of quality in the context of the development and regulation of food supply chains with reference to some European

in Qualities of food
David Barling

chap 5 13/8/04 4:22 pm Page 108 5 Food agencies as an institutional response to policy failure by the UK and the EU David Barling Introduction The UK public’s confidence in the quality of the modern food supply, and in the governance of that supply, took a buffeting through a series of food safety crises in the 1980s and 1990s. The much-quoted list ranged from pesticide residues to salmonella in eggs, to BSE (which was estimated as a cost of over £4 billion to the public purse) and E.coli 0157. The internal market of the EU shared in some of those incidents

in Qualities of food
Bryce Evans

MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 10/28/2013, SPi 7 Coercion in the countryside All surrounding houses either nunneries or burnt-out ruins, and bog in all directions John Betjeman, 6 July 1942 The geopolitics of food supply During the Second World War, at least 20 million people died of starvation and its related diseases: a number exceeding the 19.5 million military deaths.1 Wielded as an economic weapon, food supply could be horrifically effective. During this period, food supply became a truly international issue. Generally speaking, nations which granted

in Ireland during the Second World War
Gervase Rosser

for public spaces, for common interests in food supply, water and health, and for the quality of life in the town. It is illuminating to consider the range of urban and environmental matters for which city rulers were willing and even anxious to take responsibility. An instance of communal urban planning on a relatively grand scale is the city of Bristol’s extension of its harbour, for evident economic

in Towns in medieval England
Allan Blackstock

5 Richardson and Malthus P rior to the publication of Ricardo’s Principles of political economy in 1817, the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus was ‘England’s foremost political economist’, who held the chair on that subject at the East India Company College.1 Malthus’s famous Essay on the principle of population (1798) argued that demographic growth would inevitably outstrip food supply and was controlled only by positive checks like famine, or preventive checks, which reduced the birth rate. A second edition (1803) attempted to ameliorate the bleak tone of the

in Science, politics and society in early nineteenth-century Ireland
Bryce Evans

states in wartime, the government assumed extraordinary power over the very bodies of the general public, not least because the national food supply assumed paramount importance. To highlight the wartime importance of dietary concerns, this chapter addresses public health issues in neutral Ireland during the Emergency through the prism of diet and the lower-class Irish body. For

in Medicine, health and Irish experiences of conflict 1914–45

The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

Bodies and environments in Italy and England

This book explores whether early modern people cared about their health, and what did it mean to lead a healthy life in Italy and England. According to the Galenic-Hippocratic tradition, 'preservative' medicine was one of the three central pillars of the physician's art. Through a range of textual evidence, images and material artefacts, the book documents the profound impact which ideas about healthy living had on daily practices as well as on intellectual life and the material world in Italy and England. Staying healthy and health conservation was understood as depending on the careful management of the six 'Non-Naturals': the air one breathed, food and drink, excretions, sleep, exercise and repose, and the 'passions of the soul'. The book provides fresh evidence about the centrality of the Non-Naturals in relation to groups whose health has not yet been investigated in works about prevention: babies, women and convalescents. Pregnancy constituted a frequent physical state for many women of the early modern European aristocracy. The emphasis on motion and rest, cleansing the body, and improving the mental and spiritual states made a difference for the aristocratic woman's success in the trade of frequent pregnancy and childbirth. Preventive advice was not undifferentiated, nor simply articulated by individual complexion. Examining the roles of the Non-Naturals, the book provides a more holistic view of convalescent care. It also deals with the paradoxical nature of perceptions about the Neapolitan environment and the way in which its airs were seen to affect human bodies and health.