Central Banks, Technocratic Power, and the Fear of Democracy

Photo Shape Editor: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/shape-toolJacqueline Best has an interesting new article that starts with catchy and provocative analogy and then presents thought-provoking discussion and arguments:

What do border guards and central bankers have in common? Both operate, on a day-to-day basis, in political spaces exempt from many of the norms of liberal democratic politics and yet have the power to define and constrain them. In order to understand the role of such routine suspensions in the norms of liberal politics, we need to move beyond analyses that focus narrowly on security exceptionalism or emergency-management and pay attention to the practices of technocratic exceptionalism. Drawing on Foucault’s lectures on biopolitics, I examine the ways in which economic theory and practice has sought to resolve some of the central tensions in liberalism by protecting the market from too much democracy—a kind of exceptionalism exemplified by the doctrine of central bank independence.”

In the course of the paper Best infers that:

“[Ordoliberal and neoliberal economists’] theories retain a rather conservative skepticism about the democratic process… Through their efforts, pockets of technocratic exceptionalism have been integrated into the rhythm of everyday political-economic life, suspending democratic oversight over certain economic decisions.”

Open access to this worth-reading paper: Best, Jacqueline. 2018. “Technocratic Exceptionalism: Monetary Policy and the Fear of Democracy.” International Political Sociology https://doi.org/10.1093/ips/oly017

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