Forging the neoliberal competitiveness agenda: planning policy and practice in the Dutch and Colombian Cut Flower Commodity Chains

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This paper analyzes comparatively the role of planning policy and practice in the diffusion of the neoliberal competitiveness agenda to improve the position of the Dutch and Colombian cut-flower agroindustries in world markets. The Netherlands seeks to meet national competitive aims by deploying an infrastructure approach to planning, coupled with a framing concept to generate cross-scale coordination. The Colombian government seeks to diffuse the competitiveness agenda through the formation of institutional arrangements at the national scale and processes of decentralization, yet it meets resistance from municipal governments through their land-use plans. The findings indicate that national governments rely on context-specific mechanisms and endogenous planning tools to diffuse the competitiveness agenda across scales. While this partially accounts for variation in its diffusion, the findings point to the significance of the social organization of commodity chains in the uptake of the competitiveness agenda subnationally. The analysis draws from field research in the Netherlands and Colombia, and the critical examination of planning policy and practice in both sites.