From the Welfare State to the Welfare Society: A Shift in Paradigm

Published date01 March 2022
Date01 March 2022
Subject MatterArticles
From the Welfare State
to the Welfare Society:
A Shift in Paradigm
Asha Gupta1
Covid-19 and its aftermath brought home the lesson that in future we just
cannot rely on welfare state to deal with sudden outbreaks or natural calamities.
We would have to empower individuals in the era of digitalisation for quick
support and social solidarity. We are living in a world today where profound
socio-economic, political and cultural changes are taking place due to rapid
technological changes and globalisation. The 2008 fiscal crisis made it clear that
the new liberal philosophy is no longer valid in early 21st century. Unless and
until there is solidarity at the societal level, the woes of modern men and women
cannot be mitigated effectively. This study seeks to explore the possibility of a
shift in paradigm from the welfare state to the welfare society in order to deal
with some of the challenges faced by the welfare states in the 21st century. It
concludes by highlighting the urgent need for associating participatory society
and various stakeholders in the enterprise of welfare in future. The methodology
adopted is analytical, comparative and empirical.
Welfare state, welfare society, social solidarity, Covid-19, socio-economic costs,
The context
The Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath has made us realise how important,
even today, is the welfare state. Despite earlier apprehensions about the retreat of
the welfare state due to ‘fiscal and overload’ crisis in the wake of neo-liberalisation
and a globalised world order, we find the welfare state prevailing unabated. Due
to the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, like the Spanish flu
almost one hundred years ago resulting into the death of millions of people
worldwide, the governments had to play a proactive role of saviours at tremendous
Indian Journal of Public
68(1) 62–74, 2022
© 2022 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211058770
1 Ex-Director, DHMI, University of Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Asha Gupta, Ex-Director, DHMI, University of Delhi, India.

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