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date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article concentrates on the crisis in the historical system: the extent to which it has been replaced by arrangements based more on the command of law; and the limits that are being experienced by this command system. It also demonstrates at the end that the turn to command is in key respects both unexpected and dysfunctional; it arises from the unavailing struggle of social actors to cope with crisis. A key implication of the article is that agency has mattered less in these developments than accident, unanticipated consequences, and fate. It then presents changes in the British system of self-regulation by focusing on three key cases: financial regulation; the regulation of the school system; and the regulation of medicine. The command revolution has been attempted in circumstances where there are powerful functional pressures, and powerful economic interests, pressing for a different regulatory style.

Keywords: British system, self-regulation, financial regulation, school system, medicine, command of law

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