Everything that rises must converge: a neo-Marxist analysis of Canadian business-government relations
Bugyi, Anne Mary.
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The following thesis presents an analysis of business-government relations within a neo-Marxist framework. Specifically, the discussion encompasses how the business interest group. the Business Council on National Issues, maintains consensus and unity amongst its monopoly capital members. Furthermore. the study elaborates on the process through which the group's interests are acknowledged and legitimized by the state under the "public interest" f8fue. Most of the literature pertaining to business-government relations within the context of interactions between business interest groups and the state, and such specific branches of the state as the government and/or the civil service. emphasize a liberal-pluralist perspective. Essentially, these writings serve to reflect and legitimate the current slatus quo. Marxist discourses on the subject, while attempting to transcend the liberal-pluralist framework. nevertheless suffer from either economic determinism .. ie., stressing the state's accumulation function but not its legitimation function or historical specificity. A cogent and comprehensive neo-Marxist analysis of business-government relations must discuss both the accumulation and legitimation functions of the state. The process by which the concerns of a particular business interest group become part of the state's policy agenda and subsequently are formulated and implemented into policies which legitimate its dominance is also studied. This inquiry is significant given the liberal-pluralist assumptions of a neutral state and that all interest groups compete "on a level playing field". The author's neo-Marxist paradigm rejects both of these assumptions. Building on concepts from nea-Marxist instrumentalism. structuralism. state monopoly capitalism, and forms and functions of the state perspectives. the author proposes that policies which legitimize the interests of the monopoly capital fraction cannot. be discerned only from the state's activities. per StJ. Clearly, if the liberal-pluralist 3 contention of multiple and conflicting interest groups, including those within the capitalist class, is taken at face value, M interest group such as the Business Council on National Issues (BCND, must somehow maintain. internal consensus Md unity amongst its members. Internal consensus amongst its members ensures that the state can better acknowledge and articulate its concerns into policies that maintain hegemonic dominance of the monopoly capital fraction under the "public interest" fllf.JJdq. The author contends that the BCNI focuses most of its interactions on the upper echelons of the civil service since it is this branch of the state which is most responsible for policy formulation and implementation. The author's paradigm is applied within the context of extensively analyzing newspaper coverage. BCN! publications, and other published sources, as well as a personal interview with an executive administrative member of the BeNI. The discussion focuses on how agreement and unity amongst the various interests of the monopoly capital fraction are maintained through the business organization, its policy scope, and finally its interactions with the state. The analysis suggests that while the civil service is an important player in expressing the interests of the BCNI's membership through policies which ostensibly also reflect the "public interest", it is not the only strategic target for the BCNI's interactions with the state. The author's research also highlights the importance of government officials at the Cabinet level and Cabinet Committees. Senior elected officials from the Federal government are also significant in avoiding intergovernmental or interprovincial conflict in implementing policies that legitimize hegemonic dominance of the monopoly capital fraction over other fractions and classes.