The politics of ‘choice’ and ‘community’

Michael Peters and James Marshall
Vol 7, Number 1, p.61
The first section of this paper follows the arguments of Bertram (1988) in his detailed review of the origins and the theoretical adequacy of the Treasury’s use of the notion of ‘capture’. It comprises two parts: a brief examination of the egalitarian critique of the welfare state as an empirical argument for a limited state role; and a brief review of the ‘public choice’ school construed as an a priori argument for a limited state. The second section addresses the notion of ‘community’ and the use made of it by representatives operating from different and opposing paradigms in social policy analysis. This section draws heavily on previous work completed for the Royal Commission on Social Policy. It attempts to demonstrate that the notion of community appealed to by the Picot Report is both theoretically impoverished and inconsistent with the overall neo liberal commitment to individualistic assumptions.