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Megachange: The World in 2050 by John Andrews, Daniel Franklin

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10 Taming Leviathan: the state of the state

Paul Wallace

The state cannot afford the promises it has made to its citizens on pensions and health care. Something will have to give

THE STATE HAS PUT ON WEIGHT since – and because of – the financial crisis that struck in 2007 and the great recession that ensued. Spending has swollen while taxes have shrunk, leading to record budget deficits and a surge in public debt. This could be a mere foretaste of what is to come as populations age. One nightmarish vision of the state in 2050 is that of a Leviathan felled by its own weight as it struggles with the rising social burden of an older society.

An alternative vision sees a fitter state thanks to farsighted reforms – in particular those that will limit ...

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