By Ross Beveridge
This ebook presents a close research of the debatable privatisation of the Berlin Water corporation (BWB) in 1999. As with different situations of privatisation worldwide, the city’s executive argued there has been no substitute in a context of public accounts and financial restructuring. Drawing on post-structuralist concept, the research offered the following steps outdoors the parameters of this neat, simple clarification. It problematises the ‘hard proof’ upon which the choice used to be it appears made, proposing as a substitute an account during which evidence might be political buildings formed through normative assumptions and political suggestions. A politics of inevitability in Nineties Berlin is printed; one characterized through depoliticisation, expert-dominated coverage techniques and targeted upon the perceived prerequisites of city governance within the international financial system. it's an account within which international and native dynamics combine: the place the interaction among the final and the categorical, among neoliberalism and politicking, and among globalisation and native actors characterise the discussion.
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Extra info for A Politics of Inevitability: The Privatisation of the Berlin Water Company, the Global City Discourse, and Governance in 1990s Berlin
Depoliticisation, a move to indirect forms of governing (Flinders and Buller 2006, 295-296), centres in particular on replacing – at least in part – politicians with experts and re-defining political processes in technical terms. As a particular strategy within governance, depoliticisation has been widely promoted by governments as well as international institutions as a means of replacing the political infighting and inefficient bureaucracy of the political process, with the neutrality and effectiveness of de-politicised policy made by technical experts (Hay 2007, 93).
Some inspiration for this came from Berlin’s past, in particular the Berlin of the 1920s: the ‘Golden Twenties’, the last time the city had been united, democratic and engaged with the global economy (Eckardt 2004, 2). During this time Berlin had been seen as a ‘world city’, one that had emerged from the unification of Germany in 1871, and the industrialisation and growth of the city which followed it. The notion of the ‘global city’ captured the contemporary sense of what a world-leading city was in a context of globalisation and neo-liberalism.
The point to stress is that, by following this global city path, other possible paths for Berlin were lost and previous patterns of governing in Berlin forgotten. Trends in West Berlin politics suggested Berlin might have developed rather differently than it did in the 1990s. For example, one means employed to tackle high unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s was developing partnerships with societal organisations. Such community-based governance was complemented by democratic checks in planning projects; the high priority given to green issues; and the focus on, and encouragement of, small businesses (Bruegel 1993, 156).