Creative states: Is state-led risk-taking the answer to post-Covid-19 recovery?

28 April 2021

Writing in the RSA Journal, Innogen Director, Theo Papaioannou, examines how the entrepreneurial state could work in practice.

While several innovation and political theorists, argue that the economic and social recovery post-Covid-19 justifies a strong state that is committed to investing in knowledge, institutions, infrastructure and innovation, Papaioannou points out that becoming an entrepreneurial state is not a straightforward process.

“Any risk-taking for innovative enterprise and mission-oriented investment for post-Covid-19 recovery needs to be justified and – more importantly – legitimised on the grounds of principled democratic procedures,” he writes. Mission-led innovation itself is a value-laden political process, thus should require civic participation in decision-making and standards of fairness.  

Not all types of state are able to become entrepreneurial, such as relatively young states in developing countries that are not in a position to establish institutions that can foster innovation; and in others, such as authoritarian ones, mission-oriented investments for innovations are undemocratically decided.

Papaioannou also examines the constraints that liberal, libertarian and welfare states will have on investments in innovation for post-Covid-19 recovery, whether it is prioritising individual freedoms or social welfare. Regardless of the type of state though, he expects to see a centralisation of public policy and governance systems to address rising unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“Perhaps the best possible form of democratic entrepreneurial state we can hope for, in order to achieve an even minimally socially just post-Covid-19 era, is the welfare state form that decides missions through public deliberation,” Papaioannou concludes.

Read the full article here: