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Inclusion and the Commons

Author: Thomas Allan

Neoliberalism remains the dominant way of thinking about how to reform the welfare state and society, despite its obvious intellectual inadequacy and toxic impact on ordinary people. However critics of neoliberalism often fall back on a faith in the state to restore a better balance (despite the fact that the state is itself now fully enmeshed in neoliberal approaches). In this important paper Thomas Allan reminds us of the importance of the Commons - the space between the Market and the State.

We need to rediscover the terrirory between the State and the Market. The post-war period has been dominated by the conflict between these two forces and the result is a No Man's Land where community, citizenship and most of the good things in life wither.

How we bring this warfare to an end will involve, as Thomas Allan suggests, three different strategies:

  1. Recognise and respect the limitations of the Market, not by treating it as the enemy, but by recognising that productivity and efficiency give no measure of human worth.
  2. Recognise the role of the State in ensuring our common welfare, but help it redefine its role as Partner, not as a substitute for community life.
  3. Identify, reclaim and start to cherish the Commons, the space we all share, the space in which we meet, grow, learn, worship, take care of things and foster the sense of community, belonging and action without which human lifebecomes empty.

The Centre, and our partners in Citizen Network, are seeking to make this a reality, not just by our campaigns and advocacy, but in particular by showing that we can choose to cooperate, grow and develop.

The imperative to compete and pursue self-interest– pressed on us as much by the State as by the Market – can be rejected. We can believe in citizenship, community and inclusion, and we can live by those beliefs.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Inclusion and the Commons © Thomas Allan 2018.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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