The Return of the State And Why It Is Essential for Our Health, Wealth and Happiness
13 May 2022
Following decades of neoliberalism, a Cardiff academic argues in his new book that a return to a state that promotes the public interest and protects the common good is urgently needed following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political theorist Dr Graeme Garrard wrote his book, The Return of the State And Why It Is Essential for Our Health, Wealth and Happiness, during the pandemic, but he has been thinking, teaching and writing about the state for his entire academic career, 25 years of which has been spent at Cardiff University.
Dr Garrard said, “My interest in politics first developed in the early 1980s when the neoliberal state was becoming dominant in the West. For almost four decades now I have watched it fail everyone but the richest one percent. It has simply strengthened the power of large private corporations and further enriched the few at the expense of the many.”
Garrard believes that the neoliberal state and its policies of privatisation, outsourcing, deregulation and austerity must become a thing of the past. This was highlighted most profoundly during the pandemic which saw the state play a direct role in citizens’ everyday lives and exposed just how undervalued it had become.
Garrard challenges the neoliberal image of both the market and the state that has dominated public debate since he first started studying politics. His book defends a positive alternative to the neoliberal state that has dominated our politics for a generation. He said, “I make the case for a state that plays a much more active role in economic life and is committed above all to promoting and protecting essential public goods for all citizens. Only the state is strong enough to check rival powers and engage in the kind of collective action necessary to solve the most urgent problems we face, and only the state can be made democratically answerable to the public.”
Dr Garrard teaches modules on Modern Political Thought, Twentieth Century Political Thought and Plato’s Political Philosophy at the School of Law and Politics.