pp. 583-584

Blazing the Neoliberal Trail: Urban Political Development in the United States and the United Kingdom, Timothy P.R. Weaver

Reviewed by Rachel Meltzer





Enterprise Zones are one of many policies that have persisted over the years without the presence of much hard evidence to support their effectiveness or worthiness of public dollars. Timothy P.R. Weaver offers a compelling reason why this occurs: ideas matter more than the material outcomes they generate. The notion that ideas, more than interests and institutions, can drive decades of policy decisions runs throughout Blazing the Neoliberal Trail, and it is conveyed through a meticulous political-historical account of urban policy in the United States and the United Kingdom. Weaver brings to bear theories and perspectives on urban economic development from a wide range of disciplines and, as he states, “pays close attention to the sequencing of political change” (p. 116) to cumulatively challenge the prevailing thought on the neoliberal turn (or lack thereof) in urban politics and policy.

Weaver does not examine the urban context in a vacuum, and he is very committed to the fact that cities are creatures of the state and that political development takes place at various levels of government. Indeed, cities, and Enterprise Zones specifically, proved to be a powerful setting for operationalizing neoliberal ideas. Still, this institutional reality is not deterministic in his account, as he adeptly shows through his comparative analysis. In th

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