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From Receding to Reseeding: Industrial Policy, Governance Strategies and Neoliberal Resilience in Post-crisis Britain

Berry, Craig (2019) From Receding to Reseeding: Industrial Policy, Governance Strategies and Neoliberal Resilience in Post-crisis Britain. New Political Economy. ISSN 1356-3467

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Abstract

Industrial policy has been on the agenda of British policy elites since the 2008 financial crisis, particularly since Theresa May became Prime Minister in 2016. This has been seen as a challenge to pre-crisis norms of economic governance associated with neoliberalism. This article explores key aspects of industrial policy development in post-crisis Britain – new forms of vertical support for industry, local government reform, and the public financing of private sector R&D – in order to sketch a new understanding of political and ideological change. It focuses on the institutional mechanisms through which industrial strategy will ostensibly be implemented, including subnational and private spheres of governance. The article argues that recent industrial policy developments do not represent the receding of neoliberalism, but rather have provided opportunities for the reseeding of neoliberal norms in British economic statecraft. The strategy has reinforced forms of state machinery through which pre-crisis elite practice can be maintained and legitimated. By demonstrating that the apparent revival of state intervention in the wake of capitalist crises must not be assumed automatically to challenge pre-crisis economic orders, and highlighting the crucial role of exigent political circumstances, the article makes an important contribution to the literature on neoliberal resilience.

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