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Responses to crisis and modernisation

This book considers the underlying causes of the end of social democracy's golden age. It argues that the cross-national trend in social democratic parties since the 1970s has been towards an accommodation with neo-liberalism and a corresponding dilution of traditional social democratic commitments. The book looks at the impact of the change in economic conditions on social democracy in general, before examining the specific cases of Germany, Sweden and Australia. It examines the ideological crisis that engulfed social democracy. The book also looks at the post-1970 development of social policy, its fiscal implications and economic consequences in three European countries. It considers the evolution of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) from its re-emergence as a significant political force during the 1970s until the present day under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The book also examines the evolution of the Swedish model in conjunction with social democratic reformism and the party's relations to the union movement. It explores the latest debate about what the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) stands for. The SPD became the role model for programmatic modernisation for the European centre-left. The book considers how British socialist and social democratic thought from the late nineteenth century to the present has treated the objective of helping people to fulfil their potential, talents and ambitions. It aims to contribute to a broader conversation about the future of social democracy by considering ways in which the political thought of 'third way' social democracy might be radicalised for the twenty-first century.

Kevin Hickson

11 The continuing relevance of Croslandite social democracy Kevin Hickson The aim of this chapter is to argue that as social democrats look for an alternative to the New Labour/Third Way approach, as they inevitably must do given the rather moderate nature of many areas of domestic policy since 1997 and given the current economic crisis (leaving aside the disastrous foreign policy adventures of the Blair years, notably of course Iraq), we could find a number of relevant ideas in the British social democratic tradition, specifically in the work of Tony Crosland

in In search of social democracy
Towards a third way and back?
Hartwig Pautz

7 The modernisation of German social democracy: towards a third way and back? Hartwig Pautz The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) has undergone a number of revisions since its birth in the nineteenth century. This chapter will explore the latest debate about what the SPD stands for. As a programme party, the debate about long-term objectives, values and ideological principles has been of particular importance to party members, its leaders and the public. Hence the focus of this chapter: it will document and analyse the programmatic discourse of the SPD

in In search of social democracy
Germany, Sweden and Australia compared
Ashley Lavelle

1 Explanations for the neo-liberal direction of social democracy: Germany, Sweden and Australia compared Ashley Lavelle Several explanations have been put forward as to why social democrats have adopted neo-liberal policies since at least the 1980s. Ideological trends, the consequences of globalisation and European integration, and electoral factors, all get a strong mention in the literature. This chapter suggests that a more persuasive explanation for social democrats’ embrace of neo-liberalism lies with the end of the post-war boom in the early 1970s. Not

in In search of social democracy
Dimitris Tsarouhas

6 A new Swedish model? Swedish social democracy at the crossroads Dimitris Tsarouhas Introduction Sweden has for a long time been viewed as a paradigmatic case for progressive politics. Swedish social democracy, to which the progressive character of such politics was attributed, could legitimately claim to have mastered the historic task of the revisionist Left: building a societal coalition around the goal of enhancing social welfare for all, while safeguarding the profitability of business and delivering economic growth. When economic crisis hit home in the

in In search of social democracy
Open Access (free)
John Callaghan, Nina Fishman, Ben Jackson and Martin Mcivor

Introduction John Callaghan, Nina Fishman, Ben Jackson and Martin McIvor The search for social democracy has not been an easy one over the last three decades. The post-war ‘golden age’, characterised by strong economic growth, full employment and narrowing income inequality, came to an unceremonious end with the global economic slowdown of the 1970s. Sluggish growth, rising unemployment and rampant inflation were all hammer blows to the credibility of the broadly social democratic outlook that had hitherto dominated post-war policy-making in the West. The

in In search of social democracy
The crisis of British social democratic political economy
Noel Thompson

associated with the left, and repudiated by the right . . . The fact that the political battle today is waged mainly on ground chosen by the left is remarkable evidence of the change in national ideology . . . (C. A. R. Crosland, The Future of Socialism, 1956: 28–9, 61) While it may be read in other ways, The Future of Socialism can be seen as a paean to the ascendancy of Keynesian social democracy. In Crosland’s view of things, demand management had delivered full or near-full employment; affluence was on offer to a growing proportion of the working population with class

in In search of social democracy
Open Access (free)
Nina Fishman

15 Afterword1 Nina Fishman The idea for three international conferences examining social democracy was conceived by an informal group of British historians in the autumn of 2003. The need for an open-ended, serious examination of the past, present and future of social democracy was self-evident. Sufficient time had elapsed since the Wende to enable flexible, inquisitive historians to venture onto the old terrain of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to test the preNovember 1989 narratives.2 It was also an apposite moment to engage in future-gazing, a

in In search of social democracy
The European Union and social democratic identity
Gerassimos Moschonas

9 Reformism in a ‘conservative’ system: the European Union and social democratic identity1 Gerassimos Moschonas Introduction Although the foundations and reference points on which the historical social democratic movement was built have not been completely undermined or exhausted, since the 1970s social democracy has been experiencing considerable change. During the 1990s in particular, social democracy underwent a phase of programmatic renewal. The evidence for this renewal abounds: openness to feminist ideas, minority rights, ecology, the adoption of a more

in In search of social democracy
Credibility, dirigisme and globalisation
Ben Clift

4 The political economy of French social democratic economic policy autonomy 1997–2002: credibility, dirigisme and globalisation Ben Clift Introduction: the crisis of social democracy The U-turn of French Socialism in 1983 saw a retreat from egalitarian redistribution, full employment and social justice as the priorities of economic policy. A prolonged period of ideological and programmatic flux ensued. The manifest failure of a decade of Socialist Government to make any impression on the soaring unemployment figures was devastating. This, acting in tandem with

in In search of social democracy