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Globalisation and business activism

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Eccleston, RG (2004) Globalisation and business activism. In: Governing Business and Globalisation, second edition. Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, NSW, pp. 72-82. ISBN 1740911032

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Abstract

In an age when economic statistics and surveys of business confidence dominate news headlines and investment decisions can turn election results, it would seem that governments have a clear interest in accommodating business needs and demands. Indeed this dependence on a dynamic and prosperous private sector forms the basis of the argument that business holds a ‘privileged position’ relative to other interest groups in a capitalist democracy such as Australia. While no government would deliberately seek to undermine national prosperity or the needs of the capitalist system as a whole, such accounts of business power overlook the political complexities of specific policy debates and decisions. In reality business interests are fragmented, with corporate actors competing with one another in policy debates. For example, importers may favour a high exchange rate while export industries benefit from a lower dollar. Moreover, there are times when governments may intervene in the economy and undermine business interests in the pursuit of broader policy and political objectives. In the current era of globalisation the growing influence of international market forces and the need to enhance national economic competitiveness may necessitate a process of economic restructuring. Governments could promote new and emerging businesses at the expense of struggling industry sectors. Under these circumstances policy may not be supportive of all industry, but will focus on the needs of more competitive and innovative firms. These factors help explain why, at the broadest level, governments have an interest in providing a policy environment conducive to commercial success, while at the level of specific policy debates the political influence of business actors is less assured. The central objective of this chapter is to provide insights into how Australian business acts politically in this era of globalisation. After providing an overview of the structure of Australian business the chapter explores the diversity and organisation of corporate Australian before discussing the political power of Australian business. Having established this foundation, the focus is then on business activism and how business endeavours to use its political power to influence public policy. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the political influence of Australian business in this era of globalisation.

Item Type: Book Section
Publisher: Pearson Education
Page Range: pp. 72-82
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2009 00:13
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:54
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/8149
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