Changes in the Role of Government Under Neoliberalism and Food Bank Innovations

Author: Chandrika Koralagamage

Koralagamage, Chandrika, 2022 Changes in the Role of Government Under Neoliberalism and Food Bank Innovations , Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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Keynesianism became an outdated theory due to its over-reliance on full employment through the labour market demand and supply control and the invisible market control system, which increased inflation and unemployment. After the collapse of Keynesianism and the great depression in society, neoliberalism arose as the solution to the problems created by the Keynesian economic and political paradigm. Neoliberalism is based on the free-market system and the individualism-based self-responsibility concept in the success of a person’s life. Countries pioneered neoliberal practices mainly in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S., where substantial tax cuts and continuous welfare reforms were implemented. Therefore, the government contribution or participation in social welfare programs was gradually withdrawn, while new public management policies encouraged public-private partnerships and private interventions in public service provision. Consequently, to fill this gap in the social welfare needs of the populations in the U.K. and the U.S., non-governmental and charitable food organisations stepped up to provide food distribution and relief from hunger. However, there was a greater need to resolve hunger’s root causes and address poverty as a widespread problem in many communities. In the U.S. state of Alabama, three food banks, partners of the Feeding America food bank network, have introduced innovations beyond the usual scope of food bank activities. These innovations provide evidence of the influence of the government’s role change under neoliberalism which has prompted food banks to identify opportunities and implement new programs to meet the unique challenges of increasing food insecurity. This research shows that progressive food banks in the U.S. are moving from stand-alone emergency food services to long-term, community-wide strategies that address the core causes of food insecurity. This study’s key food bank innovations are establishing grassroots advocacy groups, financial credit and revolving loan funds, worker cooperatives, housing security, neighbourhood food hubs, mothers’ milk bank, and benefits enrolment centres. These innovative initiatives go well beyond the normal operations of food banks, mainly aimed at food supply and distribution, and demonstrate a more humanitarian and forward-thinking attempt at addressing the longer-term, underlying causes of poverty and food insecurity in the state of Alabama.

Keywords: Neoliberalism, Keynesianism, food bank, social innovations, hunger, poverty, Alabama,

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2022
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Luis da Vinha