Subsumed State?
October 31, 2014 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Around the time of the Occupy protests, I read an article that described a concept like "Subsumed State" or "Shadow State" or something. I thought it was by Mike Konczal, but I can't find it his archives and I'm pretty sure he was referring to someone else's ideas about this.

The basic idea was that in the US, there are various structures set up that mask what is essentially welfare or government spending. These are large intermediary bureaucracies (the Subsumed State?) that siphon money into private corporate hands or simply create extra layers of management. So for example, instead of our government directly subsidizing universities at a level that allows them to educate people for free, they instead create/condone the student loan system, but then in the end the government pays off those student loans anyway. Or instead of just having nationalized healthcare, we pay all these intermediary insurance agencies which create large bureaucratic (and capitalist) structures between people receiving subsidized medical care and the government which is doing the subsidizing.

I took this to suggest that we are basically trying to hide the fact that we do have certain socialist spending policies, but as a country people are so afraid of that, that we have to set up these enormous intermediary structures that obscure that fact and also enrich the corporations which mostly occupy that intermediary space.

It’s also possible I’m misremembering the specifics of the concept.

Anyhow, does this ring any bells? Any idea where I could look to read more on this idea?
posted by latkes to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is the "submerged state," and Suzanne Mettler has written on it extensively. (I believe she coined the term, but I'm not 100% sure.)
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:42 AM on October 31, 2014 [7 favorites]

Damn you, rainbowbrite!

Great book, short book, go read it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:44 AM on October 31, 2014

Response by poster: Brilliant! Thanks for being smart, people!

Just found this article where she explains the concept but I'll get the book too.
posted by latkes at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2014

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