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Editorial: rescaling the state: new modes of institutional-territorial organization

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Over the past 100 years, modern Western states have undergone two historic transformations. The first occurred between the 1920s and the 1940s, when the liberal, non-interventionist form that had dominated the 19th and earlier centuries gave way to the Keynesian welfare interventionist (or Fordist) form. From its origins in the 1930s (in the UK, the USA and Sweden), the Keynesian welfare state project emerged as the dominant post-war model of social and economic regulation among many of the advanced industrialized nations. Its twin goals were the stabilization of the inherent cyclical instabilities of capitalist growth and the construction of mass societal support and cohesion through the maintenance of full employment and provision of a public welfare system. Of course, nation states pursued different variants of the basic model ( Esping-Andersen, 1990; Painter, 2001). Specific policies and the degree of intervention differed according to the particular balance of socio-economic forces and historical political–institutional legacies in each country. At the same time, the Keynesian welfare state project brought about changes to the territorial organization of the state. Although, again, the nature and extent of these changes varied across nation states and interacted with the diverse national structures inherited from the past, involving differing degrees and forms of devolution of powers and responsibilities to subnational regional, city or local levels, the ascent of the Keynesian welfare state reinforced national or federal governments virtually everywhere at the expense of subnational governments and authorities ( Brenner 2004; Donahue, 1997; Rodríguez-Pose and Gill, 2003). These common features permit some generalization as to the implications of the Keynesian welfare state model of state regulation for patterns of uneven regional development (see Martin and Sunley, 1997).

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