From competition state to competition states?
The competition state thesis has for twenty years sought to make sense of the profound changes in the global economy and explain the impacts of globalisation on both the nation state and the welfare state. That the thesis is still consistently cited by scholars stands as testament to the power of its central messages and the fact that the authors have revisited and revised their work so as to keep pace with an ever changing world. At a time when governments around the world are implementing
... terity budgets' to address a series of profound financial crises, the core arguments made by Cerny and Evans appear extremely pertinent. Gone they say are the days of the welfare state, created as it was to serve citizens bound by bonds of solidarity forged in the war. Here to stay are the days of the competition state, brought into being to serve the global economy in which citizens exist in a more atomised society, joined to one another by weak bonds of mutuality. While the arguments advanced within the competition state thesis ring true and hold much persuasive power, their focus on only a small collection of nations and the limited body of systematic empirical evidence with which they are supported represent an obvious and addressable flaw. This thesis sets out to provide a rigorous empirical investigation of the competition state and through the use of quantitative and qualitative methods uncovers much to support the work of Cerny and Evans. The competition state can indeed be evidenced through the application of empirical research, but it doesn't necessarily take the form we might expect. Indeed it does not merely take one form and maybe, just maybe, offers a glimmer of hope for the welfare state it is meant to replace.