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ERIC Number: EJ795557
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 12
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1478-2103
Citizen-Consumers, Social Markets and the Reform of Public Services
Peters, Michael A.
Policy Futures in Education, v2 n3-4 p621-632 2004
In a paper presented in July 2003 to Labour's National Policy Forum, the main policy-making body in the United Kingdom, Liam Byrne, a research associate of the Social Market Foundation, forecast the major problems that will face government in Britain in 2020. As reported in the "Guardian" (9 August 2003): "British national government weakened by a seepage of power to international bodies, faces a massive challenge to meet the demands of an ever more consumerist and distrustful public". Pressures on existing services will increase and the National Health Service especially will be beset by demands from an ever more consumerist public. Not only will expectations of quality public services rise as public services users expect higher standards, but the public will also become less afraid to express dissatisfaction. Byrne predicts that, rather than explicit political power, the spread of power to lobby groups and the willingness of the public to express political views through customer choice will weaken the national government. With better information, access to experts on the Internet and better education, the public is both less deferential and more distrustful of politics and political institutions. The question has become whether the forces of consumerism, political cynicism and individualism in Western economic growth can be challenged or at least reshaped. This is the topic for this article, which in turn examines the construction of "citizen-consumers" in relation to the concept of the social market, how it is underpinned by British Labour government policy and how it is prefigured as a basis of policy by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, for Labour's next term in office. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom