Browsing by Subject "social democracy"

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  • Outinen, Sami Markus (2017)
    This article puts into a historical context the employment conceptions and policies of leading Social Democrats in Finland from 1975 to 1998. It takes into account both the strategic decision-making and public argumentation of the Social Democrats in employment-sensitive issues related to economic, employment, labour market, state company, competition, globalization and integration policies. Finland’s Social Democrats moved towards emphasizing private sector-led employment, approached the middle classes, adopted monetarist ideas, accepted the ‘market economy’ and favoured ‘controlled restructuring’ over counter-cyclical measures in a series of steps in 1975–1998. The deregulation of financial markets meant a shifting of the basis of Social Democratic employment policy from steering the capitalist economy to seeking market acceptance of the party’s politics. This did not manage to guarantee full employment in Finland during the period. Furthermore, Finland’s Social Democrats seemed initially to practise a ‘third way’ type of ‘Bad Sillanpää’ policy long before its adherents in the UK. such as Tony Blair. After the mid-1970s, the Finnish Social Democrat-led governments no longer imitated Sweden, while implementing many reforms which were followed by the Swedish Social Democrats.
  • Etheridge, James (2008)
    This study challenges the perceived wisdom that economic globalisation has rendered social democracy a historically exhausted project. Utilising data gathered from election manifestos, the paper presents evidence to show that social democratic parties have continued to fashion a multitude of responses to globalisation and have not revised their ideological stances in ways that are consistent with the globalisation orthodoxy. In seeking to explain continued social democratic party diversity, the study draws on the fundamental insights of new-institutionalist theory. This approach examines the linkages between party positions and political institutions and shows how institutional configurations refract the pressures of globalisation and elicit a multitude of social democratic policy stances. The analysis focuses on the manifesto positions of social democratic parties on welfare policy from the 1970s to the late 1990s. Data on social democratic parties in more than 20 OECD democracies are obtained from a dataset produced by the Comparative Manifestos Project and examined longitudinally. The data are measures of the priority social democratic parties attach to welfare state expansion, welfare state limitation and social justice. The results show that party positions oscillated substantially between the 1970s and 1990s. There are no clearly visible patterns in the data and, importantly, no directional trends. In seeking to explain why social democratic parties continue to pursue a multitude of different policy paths, the paper draw on the insights of new-institutionalist theory. The approach is defined broadly, with the study utilising four strands of new-institutionalism. The bulk of the paper was given over to empirical institutionalism, the primary analytical tool deployed to uncover the influence of institutional variables on social democratic choices. The theoretical arguments of empirical institutionalist theory are operationalised into quantitative measures and a range of statistical methods are used to demonstrate the influence of institutional variables on party welfare-ideological profiles during the three-decade period. The explanatory power of new-institutionalism is further explored in a case study of the German Social Democratic Party and Agenda 2010, a radical package of welfare reforms the party launched in 2003. Three alternative new-institutionalist approaches are employed to illustrate how the role of institutions in influencing social democratic choices can be understood and explained in different ways.
  • Strang, Johan (2019)
    It is often argued that the Scandinavian post-war period was marked by a democratic optimism that contrasts with the deep concerns for the inherent dangers of popular sovereignty and the thorough moral reconsideration that took place on the European continent in the wake of World War II. This article seeks to balance this view by exploring what Scandinavian intellectuals believed had caused the collapse of democracy in Europe in the 1930s and what they saw as the main threats to democracy in the emerging post-war societies. Focusing on the fears of socialist planning, concerns about the position of individual rights and freedoms in modern societies, and the anxieties concerning the secular total state, the article suggests that the Scandinavian post-war democratic settlement was indeed built around a different set of ideas from those evident in many other places in Europe, but that it was no less informed by recent historical experiences or concerns for the fragility of democracy.
  • Strang, Johan (2009)
    In the 1930s and 40s many theories were raised about some kind of connection between relativistic or nihilistic moral theories and the rise of totalitarianism in Europe. In Scandinavia these allegations were directed at the adherents of the value nihilistic theory of Axel Hägerström. This article explores the ways in which three democratically-minded followers of Hägerström (Ingemar Hedenius, Herbert Tingsten and Alf Ross) struggled to overcome these charges and to reconcile their democratic convictions with Hägerström’s value nihilistic theory.