Testing the limits to marketised governance

Stream: Panel 77 - Political Theory: Non-domination, Global Justice and the Limits of Marketized Governance 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Marketised governance; that is the use of markets to govern rather than regulation or administration, has become increasingly common over the last few decades. The prevailing view is that water as an economic input facilitates its trade and application to the most valued economic use. However, it has been claimed that markets have their limits, with concerning long-term implications for societal functioning. The first is that the structure of inequalities between actors involved in market exchange can limit its claim to fairness, with the market further privileging the privileged. Secondly, markets may be prone to corruption, viewed as turning a public purpose into an instrument of private gain. A third limit, in the context of a democracy, is that decisions are made through the invisible hand of the market rather than public debate. A fourth is that market-like governance mechanisms might be implicated in exacerbating conflicts between sectional interests. Finally there is a fear that market forms of governance crowd out other behaviours driven by altruism or broader community spirit. With the growing popularity of marketised governance, these claims require empirical testing. A case study of the water market in the Murray-Darling Basin is used to explore the five limits to markets. The case demonstrates that while markets are capable of achieving public good outcomes, even in this sophisticated and world leading market, there is evidence of the limits to markets with these limits challenging our notions of equality, justice, democracy and good will.


Lyndal Hasselman (Presenter), IGPA, University of Canberra
Lyndal has worked in policy development, implementation and evaluation of natural resource management for over 10 years. Her experience spans private and public and includes roles within State and Federal government. Consequently Lyndal brings significant insights on practical implementation of governance theories to her doctoral research. Lyndal’s research is examining the relationship between accountability and adaptive management in multilevel governance, drawing on the Murray-Darling Basin as her case study.
During her PhD Lyndal has contributed to other research including marketised governance and environmental watering communication. Lyndal also continues to work privately as a consultant in evaluation and strategic planning.

Gerry Stoker, IGPA, University of Canberra
Professor Gerry Stoker is a Centenary Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra and a Professor of Politics and Governance at the University of Southampton, UK. He has authored or edited over 20 books and published over 70 refereed articles or book chapters. Professor Stoker’s most recent book ‘Why Politics Matters’ won the 2006 political book of the year award from the Political Studies Association of the UK and in 2004, he won the Political Studies Association Award for ‘making a difference’ in recognition of the impact of his work on governance issues.