Modern Welfare States: Scandinavian Politics and Policy in the Global Age

Modern Welfare States: Scandinavian Politics and Policy in the Global Age

Modern Welfare States: Scandinavian Politics and Policy in the Global Age

Modern Welfare States: Scandinavian Politics and Policy in the Global Age

Synopsis

Einhorn and Logue analyze the political, economic, and social challenges facing five small, affluent, and advanced industrial democracies in Scandinavia: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Updated and expanded from its successful predecessor, this edition emphasizes how global and European developments have affected democratic policymaking in areas such as:

• Social welfare policy

• Employment policy

• Labor relations

• Economic policy

• Social change

A comprehensive yet accessible survey of political history, governmental institutions, policymaking, political parties, interest groups, political culture, and foreign relations is also included. The comparative and interdisciplinary focus makes this a stimulating source of ideas for anyone interested in democracy and social justice in the global era.

Excerpt

“A week is a long time in politics” is the way British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once put it.

A decade is even longer. Reviewing our earlier edition of Modern Welfare States, which appeared in 1989, we were impressed by how much had changed in these few years. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War fundamentally altered the balance of power in Scandinavia, permitting both Finland and Sweden to join the European Union. Immigration has increasingly turned the once homogeneous Scandinavian states into societies of racial, religious, ethnic, and linguistic diversity— and put the issue of civil rights for immigrants on the political agenda. Privatization has become fashionable, even for some of the Social Democrats who once saw the growth of the public sector as the surrogate for socialism.

The Scandinavian Social Democratic model offered capitalism with a human face: a redistributive welfare state that eliminated poverty and that was based on a privately owned, market economy. Transfer payments and social services raised the living standards of the worst off to near middleclass levels. The tax burden was high, but careful national economic management limited the costs of countercyclical public sector spending. The tools of state power were used to promote political, social, and economic egalitarianism. There were plenty of strains, but those strains were primarily internal to the individual Scandinavian state's system.

This model was premised on the assumption that the nation-state is the proper unit for making economic policy. In the increasingly globalized economy, this simply is no longer true. Every year power seeps from the . . .

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