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Points de vue et contributions

Chantiers en cours
    * La question mondiale
    * Service public
    * Questions urbaines
    * Solidarité internationale

Séminaire théorique "Service public et mondialisation"

Day of synthesis of the work of the seminar Services of General Interest and Globalisation
Saturday, March 11th 2000
Europe, the future of Public Services?   Public Services, the future of Europe?

A critique of neo liberal economic theories

L. CARTELIER (Paris 13 University) - Pierre Bauby will now speak on this topic. Some of us do not entirely agree on these analyses but discussions may show that some arguments remain valid. We need to put down strong analytical foundations towards the creation of public services. We will then hear the rapporteur on the critique of neo-liberal theories.

P. BAUBY (Réseaux Services Publics) - A fifteen minute presentation of the criticism of neo-liberal theories is a challenge which I will try to take up. It will be  oversimplified of course and the ensuing  debate will allow for some clarification. I will limit my field of investigation to the second half of the last century (which is rather arbitrary),  but the neo-realist debate is not over and is still relevant. Neo-liberal forces are still dominant but detractors make themselves heard. Within the neo-liberal movement there is a wide diversity of schools and opinions: Hayek, public choice, the Libertarians, etc. Looking at common fundamentals, with the risk of oversimplification, I have come up with five main points  summarised through three questions: what are the neo-liberal views on the subject? What are they based upon? How can we judge them? As you can see: three questions x five points = fifteen minutes.

1. Relations between individual and collective interest
Globally, the neo-liberal thesis is that collective interest is the mathematical sum of individual interests and that no collective interest transcends individual interests. This thesis is based on a number of concepts which see collective, general and national interests as external and in a dominant position in relation to individual interests. The critique of these concepts of externality and domination (and in particular of the French concept of general interest) forms the basis for the theories advanced by neo-liberal forces. 
What is the relationship between individual and collective interests? It cannot be reduced to a mathematical equation. I do not think either that there is any domination of  one (collective) imposed on the other (individual), but we must reason in terms of dialectical relationships between individual and collective interests and thus in terms of systems of general interest which will have to be built progressively and point by point

2. Questions about the knowledge of reality
Neo-realists believe that it is not possible to know reality and which reality is good for society. Society knows itself better through the market. This thesis answers criticisms by a number of believers in public intervention based on a scientifically knowledge through which reality can be known, a definition of what is good can be defined and imposed on a society which is intrinsically  immature.
Knowledge is an endless, continuous process which is made of the relative accumulation of knowledge and its constant questioning. Knowledge is relative and never absolute and yet it contains a cumulative element. We need to involve a great number of actors and anticipate a number of debates. We must question what has already been acquired and progress towards an accumulation of knowledge. We will never have complete and absolute knowledge which would allow determinism to hold sway but we can have relative possibilities for intervention in order to influence events. 

3. The question of spontaneous order
The neo-liberal thesis is that there are one or several spontaneous orders which result from human actions but not purposefully and not as the result of reflection or intervention by an agency or single power. Examples often quoted are those of language, morals and law. The thesis is based on the criticism of State interventionists and of all the forms of contructivism which have attempted to mould reality through imposed theories and measures. Our history may have given too much prominence to the 'political' on the twofold assumption that "everything is political and politics can do everything".
I think there is no separation between what is spontaneous and what is intentional and different areas contain more or less of both, but they always include both. In morals or language the spontaneous element dominates but in law things are more equal; (the outcome of the combination of the two elements is not necessarily what the constructivists expected). The dialectical relationship between the two justifies interference with spontaneity

4. Is the market a spontaneous order?
Liberal and neo-liberal theses assume the existence of an "invisible hand", i.e. the process of natural selection through trial and error which leads to the disappearance of what does not work. Through spontaneous order the market generates what is best for society. The thesis draws from attempts to modify the previous order, from perverse consequences of public action, from purposeful intervention. Such perverse effects have existed. The neo liberal thesis also points to possible distortions in favour of particular pressure groups.
The market is efficient in many ways. But in order to be efficient, it must be organised, controlled and regulated. There is no such a thing as a totally spontaneous market. We are back to the spontaneous/determined conundrum. The  spontaneous element in the market creates monopolies, i.e. its opposite, and at that point conflicting forces alter whatever is positive about it.

5. Freedom
Freedom is defined as the absence of coercion, as the maximum extension of the private area. This originates in the fact that, like all public agencies, the State tends spontaneously  to exceed the limits of its role. The natural tendency of the State is to destroy freedoms if it is not controlled and regulated. Neo-liberal views are thus based on the criticism  of the overestimation of the worth of the State and of its instruments. We must generate new relationships between the State (in the wider meaning of public agencies) and  society, in terms of a contradictory unity between the two. We must not conceive the relationships in terms of the dominance of a superior agency (the State) over inferior ones (civil society in particular).

Out of five thesis and their critiques, there is a common ground, that of democracy. Its guarantee is the expression of all actors, democracy, intervention, society control. Hayek's attempt to limit democracy is not the result of pure chance.

Nathalie RICHEBÉ (Paris 8 University) -  Organisations, between State and market - My role here is to report on the discussions which followed the presentation on the "criticism of neo-liberal theories", to comment on these and maybe to enlarge the debate.
A lot of interesting things have emerged from these exchanges, but it seems to me that one of them recurs constantly (but not necessarily explicitly): the question of the place of organisations in this debate, which traditionally opposes two forms of co-ordination: through the market or  prices (this would be the "neo-realist view") or through the State. 
What organisations are we talking about here? I will refer you back to those which have appeared throughout the discussions: companies of course, both private and public, and also associations, local authorities. Let's say to sum up that these are groups of individuals which generate important decisions both for the economy and for society. Decisions which are obviously not made by single  individuals (they always involve several of them) and emanate neither from the market nor from actions by the State.
Public services produce such decisions in so far as we are willing to grant them a margin of autonomy or of interpretation of the regulations or of the constraints of the duties which have been entrusted to them. The institutions which constitute public services are also above all organisations.

Starting from this omnipresence of organisations in the critical debates on liberalism, I would like to make two points: 

1)  First, I would like to remind you that the question of the conjunction of the organisation and the market, or if you prefer, of the position of the organisation in the market process, is not absent from the debates which oppose liberalism and planning (or State control as Pierre Bauby calls it.  It is thus recognised -by liberals included- that there is no market without organisation(s); or if you prefer, that there is more to the market than the "spontaneous".
2) A number of studies have looked at what happens within organisations, specifically studies demonstrating the limitations of a centralised solution to the problems of co-ordination within an organisation; their inclusion in these debates could be extremely enlightening. There is always -maybe necessarily- some "spontaneous order" within an organisation.

Thus, we can see here that a critique of liberalism should include these two facts established by the analysis: there is organisation in the market; there is "spontaneous order" in an organisation. Neither a "pure market" nor "pure centralised co-ordination" can be said to exist.

1)  The limitations of an analysis of the economy from the single point of view of the market, or: the organisation in the market.
I will first go back in time and quote works by someone who has at least three common points with Hayek: he is a great liberal (who nevertheless distances himself from the neo-classical methodology), he got the Nobel prize for economics, he attended the London School of Economics (LSE) in the thirties. He is Ronald Coase .
At the beginning of the thirties Coase was a student at LSE; this is when he started writing the first drafts of his 1937 article, The nature of the firm. Almost at the same time, in 1928, the first five year plan was set up by Stalin in Russia. Obviously, at the time, people had no idea of their outcome and the fall of the Berlin Wall was a long way ahead. At the LSE the liberals opposed those who were predicting the success of planning. But the latter put forward an argument (borrowed from Lenin), that Coase took very seriously at the time: planning would  merely be the "management of the economy as though it were a big company". What Coase underlined very rightly (not in the 1937 article but in a 1988 lecture in which he related the origin of The nature of the firm),was, that at the time, liberals did not have strong theoretical arguments to counter this. They had theories on the market and the balance of forces, they had theories on prices but not on organisation. They had no theoretical tools to account for the fact that there exists, within the market, cohabiting with it and sharing in its efficiency, "islands of conscious power", places where a form of planning is exercised, since, according to Coase, co-ordination would be ensured by the authority and not by prices. 
Thus liberals were unable to explain why this form of co-ordination, an alternative to the market, could not grow until it integrated the whole economy, and why the State could not organise such an 'enterprise'. To answer the arguments of those favourable to planning, we should, according to Coase, explain both the existence and the limitations on the size of  organisations within a market economy.
This debate (and Coase's contribution to it) has demonstrated that there is organisation in the market and that economists, a fortiori liberal economists, should account for it. Coase also demonstrated the serious limitations of a purely market based analysis of economic processes: not only is there no market without organisations, but these are necessary to its smooth functioning. Co-ordination through prices (on the market) and conscious co-ordination (in the organisation), are two complementary rather than alternative forms of allocation of resources. We would give a false view of liberalism if we reproached it for not taking into account the non market based forms of co-ordination which are part of economic life. This is precisely the research programme that interested Coase and after him, a number of 'institutionalist' economists. 
What is really astonishing in these discussions, is that Coase, and no doubt Lenin similarly when he refers to planning in the enterprise, have an extremely authoritarian, centralised and finally rather poor view of the nature of co-ordination within the organisation; in fact, when he describes  the employment relationship, Coase  refers to the master-servant relationship. This is particularly surprising because when Coase spoke about this, managerial practices had moved away from this centralised, authoritarian model. At General Motors, for example, the organisation of the company into divisions had been set up as early as the twenties.
I think therefore that our discussions could make use of this debate between liberals and partisans of planning at the LSE in the thirties but by somewhat adapting (reducing so to speak) the central concept put forward by both parties: the organisation is the place where allocation of resources is decided in an authoritarian manner.

2)   Limitations to centralised co-ordination or: the importance of decentralised co-ordination within the organisation.
Indeed, a number of works have shown the limitations of centralised, authoritarian co-ordination of resources within the organisation. I think it could provide fodder for our debate on liberalism, and allow us to go beyond State vs. market (as alternate means to ensure economic and social co-ordination) by demonstrating simultaneously, as Pierre Bauby suggested in his presentation, the limitations of these two extreme models (liberalism and State control).

To summarise and close this presentation, I will say that studying organisations is rewarding in three main ways:

i)  First, they demonstrate the severe limitations of centralised power in which everything is controlled and regulated "from above", and the truth of the paradox mentioned by Michel Crozier (in Le phénomène bureaucratique) , i.e. that too much authority kills authority; a formal, over-centralised authority, concentrated at the top of the hierarchical pyramid, can ultimately be ineffective. All the managers' efforts involve the production of forms of organisation which ensure a type of decentralised co-ordination within the organisation. It is not only seldom possible, but also seldom desirable to manage everything "from above" in an organisation. 

ii)   Secondly, the study of organisations shows that it is extremely difficult in practice, to distinguish (as Hayek does) the spontaneous from the created order. In an organisation, there is obviously a power which produces rules (rather than orders), but these are never mechanically applied; they are always interpreted and often diverted from their original aim. The production and evolution of regulations in an organisation never results only from a central power. I refer mainly here to works by Jean-Daniel Reynaudon   on this theme (cf. notion of "regulation of control" and "autonomous control", which are extremely valuable.

iii)  Finally, the study of organisations shows the difficulty and complexity of the interaction between individual and collective interests. In an organisation there are obvious collective interests, and most obvious of all is the fact that the viability of a company lies in its results in the market. Individual and collective interests are obviously not entirely separate from each other and the viability of the company is in the interest of its employees. At the same time, they also have contradictory interests. The interaction between the two cannot be summarised through mere opposition or through perfect convergence of interests. Furthermore, these interests evolve over time, but not totally independently. The compatibility of individual and collective interests is something which has to be built, and learnt by all, day by day.

Finally, this presentation is an invitation to integrate, within debates on liberalism, the contribution of two types of analyses:

- those which show the importance of organisations and more specifically of institutions in the processes of the market order,
- those which show that spontaneous order emerges inevitably in the most centralised forms of organisation and makes its results unpredictable.
A third form of co-ordination then appears; it is neither co-ordination through authority (as suggested by Coase) nor co-ordination through prices (as supposed by some liberals): it is co-ordination through regulation and is present both on the market and in the organisation

L. CARTELIER - Neo-liberal economic theory and efficiency - I should add that we need to add a legal dimension to this debate. In this part of our discussion I will concentrate on strictly economic implications.
I will start from the 4th point made by Pierre about the market. Liberal and neo-liberal economists know that public services are industrial configurations (network production and distribution) which present specific characteristics (externalities, public goods). These liberal economists do not propose to give the market the totality of the functions of production and management of these public services, as they know very well that the market needs a framework of regulation. They also insist that the alternative solution, i.e. that the State does everything, is not totally efficient. What they propose -and this is what we need to think about- is another frontier between the State and the market: to use property rights rather than taxes to manage externalities. We must be vigilant because this adjustment may well take us imperceptibly from a wider view of public service towards a narrower view, one that will be nearer to the concept of social assistance. 

The liberal economic theory and its relationship with social equity - Liberal or neo-liberal economists are not blind to problems of social equity. Their proposals in this area include direct taxation and grants, i.e. giving the poor the means to buy a number of services through coupons or cash benefits; this is hardly acceptable to us..

G. HEINTZ - No systematic opposition of State and market  - Fifteen years ago, J. Attali wrote that liberalism can only situate itself in opposition to the State but can only realise itself with the help of the State. The two earlier presentations oversimplify matters and oppose market and State. This juxtaposition is based on a number of factors but the market's efficiency is also guaranteed by the State and by the intervention of States (exchange rate, work legislation,…)

About the concept of organisation - I discovered this while researching the history of the railways in France, particularly the consequences of social conflicts. Just as nationalisation ended up in takeover by the State, the concept of organisation emerged when workers decided to organise against others. We find it in Lenin's ideas inspired by Taylorism because he had understood the American tendency to efficiency which was not the case yet in Russia. The concept has become popular with trade-unionists. But have we not gone beyond it? We have been talking for the last twenty years about the sociology of organisation, but I'm doubtful whether this enlightens many (with the possible exception of managers). I question whether this is the right concept. 

G. WIRTZ - Two redeployment routes for public services - The concept of a public space for communication appears important to me. Public services will have to organise and facilitate communication spaces, encounters between individuals, actors and creators, in order to create joint projects. Two theoreticians come to mind: Albert [Mass] and his history of communication and public space and Amartya Sen on  the capacity of individuals. Today, States must meet not only the  basic needs of individuals (food for example) but also make access  to so-called superior goods possible. Public services could be redeployed in function of these two essential research indicators.

M. CAVOURIARIS - I would like to add three points to the five presented with great clarity by P. Bauby: equilibrium, production cost and social dimension. The advantage of the social economy is that it takes all cost into consideration (cost-advantage analysis).
Within the social dimension, frontiers between liberals and neo-liberals need to be clarified: do we find in Adam Smith or Stuart Mill's works references to the social dimension? You have used, Mme Chair, the term "social equity" and not "social equality" and this is not by chance. Equity exists within the market: everyone contributes something and gets something. Where should the frontier be? It must start once more where basic needs are met. Today we demand from the State that it meets these needs. 

Gustave MASSIAH - Which questions and critiques are relevant to our debate? - Which critique(s) do we need? How do we identify and order the questions to be submitted in our discussions? Which guidelines should we adopt? We have an international debate in which liberal theories are dominant but also in crisis. What matters here is the debate on the reform of economic policies and the fundamental questions it raises. The dominant idea today is that a structural adjustment is essential. We need to eliminate poverty and we need to be governed properly. This is not particularly coherent but it is a response to other critiques. The latest report by the PNUD puts forward the idea of international public goods and the world bank replies that liberalisation is the first in a series of international public goods. The paradigm of liberalisation is the following: the market and competition create efficiency (and even democratisation, it was said, but this is not the case any more).  Companies are free to act and this is considered as the engine of liberalisation. International investments are the only precursors of modernity, and the movement of capital makes international investments possible. Which questions should we discuss?
-  the question of economic rents: they clarify the ways markets and the economy operate, particularly in the sector of the new economy.
-   public goods
- regulation. We function jointly with two actors, the companies and the State. We witness the emergence of two new forms of organisation: local authorities and associations. When they are not companies or substitutes for the State, associations bring a different logic. What is at stake then is not the take-over of powers or counter-powers, but the enforcement of rights; this opens new perspectives through the interaction of the economy and legislation. Local authorities carry ideas of democracy, proximity and participation. These two new actors are not in a dominant situation but they alter representation and correspond to new forms of regulation. This new model, whether transitional or not, is more complex and raises numerous questions. Do economic, social and cultural rights represent or not a possibility of market regulation (and we are moving towards social conflicts which bring forward this type of demand)?
These new ways of thinking of public services are related to the question of access to rights.  How can we guarantee and respect them? How can we organise markets in relation to access to rights? How do we make these rights contestable?

P. BARGE - Democraty et poverty - JI will have the opportunity to intervene on the questions Guss has raised (democracy and regulation). The liberals do not have the same concept of democracy as those who situate themselves in the other camp. Neo-liberalism has taken us towards a more modern position than that of Malthus where the poor are left to their fate. We witness a return to a moral order in which the poor are helped under social rather than individual schemes: minimum income, vouchers…). A danger emerges from the common discourse, which does not lie in the adoption of the entire liberal theory by society and politicians,  but of some elements of liberalism which give us an alternative: offering the poor minor solutions because things are happening somewhere else. The poor are excluded but they are not meant to spoil too visibly the development of the market.

What happens within organisations is interesting and I am not talking about the construction process within. If the people are going to be heard, there will have to be new  organisations, means and forms of construction.

F. FOURQUET - Consequences of the global dimension of the market - I will expand on the fourth point presented by P. Bauby. Which market are we talking about: internal or global? Internal markets were often created by the political powers in the Middle Ages. The attributes of sovereignty were taxes, currency and the market. The global market is spontaneous, it is coextensive with war. We have today a regulation authority, the WTO. Why? Problems with non liberal theories started with the fall of communism, a political and not merely economic world event. Keynes' interventionist ideas aim to resolve the crisis and develop employment without resorting to totalitarian methods. This is possible if the State keeps initiating and orientating investments. We live in different times. The world is globalised. The liberals denounced by Polanyi live in a liberal universe made of nation-States. Communism has collapsed, sapped by globalisation. Why is world trade regulated or organised? There exists already a global society and European society is an element in outline as a part of it. There are global organisations because there is a global society and a global new order, and all our debates on public services must include a world dimension. 

R. SIMPSON - Beware of facile criticisms - We are in danger of embarking on a witch hunt in citing always the most extreme exponents of liberalism , like Hayek,  Friedman and Crozier, and in denouncing such models which, in practice, are not put into effect in public services. 
The American system of regulation of utility prices is stricter than European ones. The profit margins of the electricity sector are less than 10% (even as low as 1% or 2%) which creates a danger of under-investment. This is why American companies have come to the UK to buy into our electricity sector. 

L. CARTELIER - I thank you for refocussing the debate. The subject is complicated enough without looking for non-existent problems. Public authorities intervene extensively in the management of most of these public service networks; but most national systems are moving towards market solutions which are presented to us as better than past ones.
What are these liberal solutions? They go from general privatisation to the delegation of the management of a service to private companies and to intermediate solutions which involve different degrees of competition. What are they worth these solutions which we are presented as a model (specifically in the areas of efficiency and equity)?

Michel CAPRON - About the general interest - I have questions about the use of a position relative to economic neo-liberal theories on the definition of a theoretical foundation for the existence of public services today.
The general interest concept is in the title of today's works but we are not talking about it very much. It seems accepted by everybody , but it is not in great evidence, even if we feel like Pierre Bauby that the general interest is not the sum of individual interests. How can we define general interest today, both theoretically and practically? Public service can only be properly defended if we are capable of defining what is general interest. That is not obvious for a number of reasons. The general interest is the lowest common denominator between divergent and opposite interests, it is the result of compromise between more or less dominant forces which are in conflict with one another but come to a consensus. It has been thought for a long time that the State was the expression of the general interest. We cannot agree with this any more: the State has to balance conflicting forces and it is only one of a number of regulatory bodies within nation-States and in the world. Can we decide that the general interest is a common superior principle?  In this case, who makes decisions about it? In what way is it elaborated?
Everybody says that we have to think in terms of globalisation. But collective interest starts as soon as a number of individuals meet to do something in common. This can be a local community, a mutual benefit society, the nation-State, a continent, the planet. At what level do we situate collective interest?

L. CARTELIER - What is the general interest? We have at the moment two unsatisfactory answers. The standard view by economists is that the general interest is the optimum. We all know why this is unsatisfactory.  The second view is that of the Keynesian tendency: the general interest is a common superior principle. Keynesians consider that the State is omniscient and benevolent and decides on this. But the State has often been wrong. The question remains, particularly as today, nations (the usual route to the general interest) disappear behind Europe and globalisation. We remain in the dark.

F. FOURQUET - There remains the humanitarian level

L. CARTELIER - Yes, but we need to develop a theory

Ph. BRACHET - How useful is the notion of organisation?  - Robin is right to bring us back to realities; this conference has concentrated on ultra-liberal theoretical models. The key questions lie in the relationship between facts and theoretical models. We could attempt to integrate facts and realities more satisfactorily during this conference. To what extent can theoretical concepts account for realities and to what extent do realities invalidate theoretical models? 
The organisation notion is strategic here, being neither merely current nor official but also a concept. Unlike Hayek, who I think, failed to build scientifically on the concept of spontaneous order, the notion of organisation is critical in relation to the institutional realities of organisations. It shows that latent and official functions are very distinct, and that the true interplay between actors is not that presented by the official organisation chart. Works by Crozier and his followers and by Jean-Daniel Raynaud in his book Les règles du jeu (The rules of the game) are relevant to our debates.

P. BAUBY - Why position ourselves in relation to neo-liberalism?  Every theory develops in opposition to a previous dominant paradigm. Neo-liberal theories point to the relevant questions (not necessarily immediate realities though) which once again make us question our culture, our history and previous positions and allow us to go beyond them.

General interest - Traditionally, for the French, the highest levelof the State decides what is in the general  interest and that is final. Principles are applied and developed. Neo-liberal criticism is pertinent here. We need to define a new concept of the content and mode of elaboration of the general interest based on the intervention of all actors at all levels: from the micro to the global the interest of the group is a collective interest. The difficulty is to generate these collective interests at all levels through democratic processes. This is what underlies the existence of services in the general interest. The European designation for them (services of general interest) is adequate and explicit because it stresses their objectives, i.e. the interest of all

Globalisation and territories - Environmental matters and the question of sustainable development require global public services to be built. F. Fourquet tells us that what is new in the world is globalisation. He is right but it does not stop here. Globalisation exists in conjunction with territories. The two go together. The strongest actors in globalisation are anchored in local, regional and national territories. This is why the European dimension is so important in these questions. 

N. RICHEBÉ - I tend to agree with François Fourquet. To enlarge and open the debate, we must move beyond the State vs. liberalism dilemma. I suggest we move the debate towards mesoeconomic forms. Our two proposals are complementary and move in the same direction. I will now reply to M. Heintz on the organisation concept. I have used the word 'organisation' but do not exactly know its origin. I have used it because it is ambiguous: an organisation designates both what contains and is contained (institution and co-ordination). I could have used the words co-ordination or institution.

G. MULLIER - Concepts about  general interest- LIdeas on general interest are evolving. Fifty years ago people did not need to have a current account and could be paid in cash. The banking system is open to competition. There are nationalised banks but the State is not involved, as it is with transport. People are excluded from banking services. You cannot pay your rent in cash, yet some people do not have a current account. The Livret A (the A Book) is used as a current account but no agency meets this new need. Is that what the general interest is? Poverty should not be alleviated through public charity but through a system of redistribution. One of these systems involves equal access to minimum facilities through geographic equalisation of tariffs. I am not particularly keen on this notion but we have to find new means without involving public charity.
Public companies have made ample use of the economic rationality of the Taylorian organisation system. Yet it is harmful to the human capacity for initiative and autonomy. We saw this happen particularly at the time of the restructuring of public companies. In these conditions how can individuals participate in economic and democratic debates?

A. DRIVAS - Why has liberalism generated such interest for such a long time? I feel that we are amalgamating economic and political liberalism. If we look at history, we see that in the 19th century, liberalism, scarcely arrived at its peak, found itself facing a contradiction, i.e. that of the State which was being created little by little. The question of distributive justice is central to this. Liberalism faces two facts: it needs authority from the State to assert itself but the State is not that good at controlling things. Do we not have to face outdated forms of authority? The word 'democracy' is often used but this is more to do with authority than democracy.

T. KLEIN - A proposal for future research - We need to specify what we call organisation. Neo-institutional views or theories on collective agreements should be our starting point and we should look into the question of institutions, which may take on State functions and go beyond that. We must recognise an imbalance in information and reports by decision makers in organisations. The latter can also involve other problems. I agree with Lysiane Cartelier's conclusion: we must be careful not to see things in black and white, our critique of neo-liberal theories is not clear. We need to use the most pragmatic elements within neo-liberal theories and also within other tendencies

M. CALLA - Is there an economic theory (liberal or not) which can explain why financial objectives have become the main instruments of destruction of public services? These are going to be privatised in order to satisfy "stock exchange vampires".
Globalisation is not irremediable. Malaysia was closed for 18 months (20 million people, $4000 income per head). This is the only South East Asia country where income per capita has practically remained stable. Their nationalist dictator closed the country. I wonder whether globalisation is as ineluctable as people make it to be or whether this is what we like to imagine.

L. CARTELIER - A proposal for future research - Our workload today on public services and globalisation is very heavy. I conclude from what I have heard that the first step could be to look into the organisation concept using to that effect neo-institutional outlooks. We could also consider the general interest concept. What does it mean at the time of globalisation? How could we put it into practice or at least get close to it? New types of exclusion risk exist today. Are public services the right solution to manage or lessen this risk? I tend to think they are. La Poste is obliged to open an account to any person who has been rejected by traditional banking systems. The principle of a universal banking system is now being considered; this shows that public services constitute a good solution to new types of risk. More liberal solutions ought to be considered and we can only rejoice at the possibilities on offer today. 




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