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In Search of Order: Traditional Business Reformism and the Crisis of Neoliberalism in Massachusetts

Andrew E. G. Jonas
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 21, No. 4 (1996), pp. 617-634
DOI: 10.2307/622390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622390
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
In Search of Order: Traditional Business Reformism and the Crisis of Neoliberalism in Massachusetts
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Abstract

Local politics is undergoing a transformation as neoliberal business organizations deliberately eschew traditional policy-making channels and promote a new economic development agenda for regions and localities in the global economy. In the United States, however, traditional business reformism remains an influential force in local politics. This paper examines the activities of a traditional reformist organization, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), and its approach to Massachusetts' fiscal crisis of 1989-91. AIM's approach was constructed around service provision, networking for consensus and coalition building, and emphasized the legislative process as the principal economic policy-making tool. A neoliberal high-tech organization, the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC), adopted a confrontational style of industrial governance and relied upon the initiative petition process. MHTC's neoliberal policy approach was rejected by the Massachusetts business and political leadership in favour of AIM's traditional reformist style. Theories of urban and regional development should consider the ways in which fractional divisions within capital lead to policy approaches at different levels in the state.

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