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The article sets out to make a case for the welfare state. The author of the article intends to defend the welfare state theory by countering the criticism levelled against it, by basing his arguments on the theories posited by three proponents of the welfare state, namely, T.H. Marshall, Karl Polanyi, and Alva Myrdal. He also suggests reconsideration of the debate about the need for the welfare state. Thus, in the process, he establishes the need for the welfare state. The article progresses in a logical flow, wherein the author first states that, in the wake of global capitalism, the welfare state theory stands challenged and close to being refuted. He then declares his intent to defend the theory by buttressing his arguments by drawing on the works on the aforementioned theorists, one by one: Marshall’s idea of ‘social rights’, Polanyi’s ‘rigorous crtitique of market relations’ and Myrdal’s incorporation of the ‘gender issues’ aspect. He then draws a conclusion, clearly etching out the complementarity between the works and establishing a case for the welfare state.
            To substantiate his argument, he discusses each of Marshall, Polanyi and Myrdal’s works, in this sequence.
            The article explains Marshall’s identification of welfare, in terms of ‘a shift in the substance’ of citizenship rights from ‘civil and political rights’ to ‘social rights’. ‘Civil and political rights’ generally refer to the basic rights of liberal citizenship, like right to property, freedom before the law, rights to association and political representation. However, ‘social rights’, go beyond the aforementioned to imply a right to a standard of life. In fact, it is stressed that, only when ‘social rights’ of the people are ensured, it is then that ‘civil and political rights’ will be fully realised. However, the implicit contradiction lay in the fact that: though, one may follow from the other, yet, they could contest each other. The requirements for the realisation of ‘social rights’, may not be in consonance with the liberal market framework, within which these rights are guaranteed.
            Before moving on to describing Polanyi and Myrdal’s say on the matter, the author attempts to sum up ‘the critique of the national welfare state’. It is stated that in the liberal market framework, welfare is seen as ‘bureaucratic’ and undesirable. Welfare services can be described as provisioning of needs of the people by the State. However, the implication of the word ‘needs’ differs in the context of the market and that of the State. In the liberal market, needs are personal choices made by people, which are met by actions out of their own responsibility, and voluntary in nature. But, in the context of the State, needs of the people are met by the State, collectively; such measures are binding in nature and people’s volition is discounted for. Some other criticisms levelled against the welfare state actually label it as ‘intrinsically coercive in character’. It is also blamed for disempowering people by means of doles.  The Leftists, basically do not have faith in the free market, as it has its share of social costs like widening of inequality, but neither do they have faith in welfare measures by the State, as they breed dependency. Also, because, a welfare system leaves people with very little power in their hands; however, they suggest no solution to it. Also, being Marxists, they believe that the State is an ally of the capitalist class. Hence, all welfare measures are essentially built upon the pre-existing capitalist order; thus, they would only help in the preservation of class divisions and exploitation. Their argument is welfare is only needed when capitalism is thriving; when capitalism is destroyed (which is their ultimate aim), then where lies the need for welfare? Hence, they see welfare as just another form of social control. Now, to get back to his defence of the welfare state, the author criticizes how liberal market policies reduce welfare by deregulating markets and widening inequality.
            According to the article, Karl Polanyi calls liberal economics, ‘utopian’. He believes that societies come before economies. In liberal market economies, it is as if, the economy exists outside the society, and is governed by its own rules, which also dictate the society. Thus, he hints at commodification, that is, a process where social relations get ‘embedded’ in the economy; instead of the economy being embedded in the society. Polanyi’s argument is socio-anthropological in nature. He suggests that free markets are not a natural phenomena; they have not evolved over time, unlike relations of ‘reciprocity’. Natural relations, such as reciprocity are redistributive. Thus, hinting that the welfare model’s implication of equitable distribution is natural. He then goes on to talk of ‘complex freedom’- when the presence of the State, or a central political authority actually brings about social transformation. He also chooses to call land, labour and money as ‘fictitious commodities’; because, when they are called ‘commodities’, they are denied their social substance, whereas they cannot actually be produced for sale. Thus, he terms the liberal market system as ‘anti-social’. Polanyi, however, is not anti-free markets; rather, he is wants a reversal of trends: ‘re-embedding of the market in social relations’.
            Alva Myrdal advocates for a gendered analysis of social rights. She substantially adds on to Polanyi’s contribution of labour being a ‘fictitious commodity’: that is, it is not produced for sale, but for familial or social purposes. From this perspective, the production of labour is important for the social constitution of labour. She looks into the social side of economy in a more nuanced, gendered manner. She states that since the liberal market only believes in paying the labourer his/her marginal productivity, hence, it does not take into account their specific needs. For example, needs of an aged worker, worker with dependent children or pregnant workers, may have different needs. Here, the free market concept of the workers’ freedom of choosing the highest wage rate does not hold good; as there is no guarantee that it will be sufficient enough to meet specific needs. Thus, the functioning of self-regulating labour markets contradicts ‘the collectivism of familial relations’. The author points out that Marshall and Polanyi made only passing references to the gender aspect. They stressed on the need of ‘protective legislation’ for women and children, as they were non-citizens and did not enjoy the same rights as men. The sexist nature of the proposition was challenged by Myrdal, in the wake of feminist movements which liberated women and brought them into the employment scenario. Thus, she gives a feminist account of the welfare state, or what is now popularly called a ‘woman-friendly’ welfare state.
            The author has very skilfully and consistently intertwined the works of three theorists to arrive at his own defence of the national welfare state. He explains, how the answer to each theorist’s proposition’s deficiency can be found in another’s work. While, Marshall talks of the need to recognise social rights; Polanyi says that as long as society is embedded in the economy, it is not possible; Myrdal on the other hand, advocates for the need to recognise the differential gender based requirements in a welfare state. Each help complete the others argument. The article thus tenably succeeds in establishing what it sets out to do. All in all, it is a lengthy yet good article that explains the basis of the stance that it takes.