Neoliberal governance of states: the role of competitiveness indexing and country benchmarking
Millennium : Journal of International Studies
Sage Publications Ltd.
303 - 326
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This article engages in a critical analysis of two of the most influential contemporary economic publications - namely, the competitiveness reports published annually by the World Economic Forum and the International Institute for Management Development. Drawing on Michel Foucault's work on governmentality, it emphasises the governmental work that these reports do in relation to ongoing efforts aimed at governing states in a neoliberal fashion. In and through competitiveness indexing and country benchmarking, they are argued to contribute not only to constitute states as flexible market subjects, but also to guide their 'rational' conduct thus constituted. Acknowledging that there is nothing natural or given about states striving to improve their 'national competitiveness', the article concludes with some broader reflections on the future prospects for neoliberal governance of states.