Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society

By Robert D. Putnam | Go to book overview

7
SWEDEN:
Social Capital in
the Social Democratic
State
BO ROTHSTEIN

In no other Western country has Social Democracy had such a political influence as in Sweden. Having been in government for sixty of the last sixty-nine years, the party is not only the most successful among social democratic parties but one of the most successful democratic political parties ever. As a consequence of this unique power of its political left, Sweden stands out as extreme on many standard measures used in comparative politics. 1 To take a few examples, Sweden is at the top of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in public spending and taxes, in degree of unionization, and in voting turnout. Apart from such purely quantitative measures, it has been argued that the political and economic system in Sweden has been characterized also by important qualitative differences from comparable countries. From the 1950s until the early 1990s, Swedish society in general and its system of industrial relations in particular was branded by many observers with a special name: the “Swedish model.” 2 One of the more important features of this model was an unusually close collaboration between the state and major interest organizations in the preparation as well as in the implementation of public policies.

In what now can be labeled the “standard theory” of social capital, the major idea is that social networks, informal as well as formal, create norms of trust and reciprocity that in turn make it less difficult to solve

-289-

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Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Democracies in Flux 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Role of Government and the Distribution of Social Capital 21
  • 2 - Bridging the Privileged and the Marginalized? 59
  • 3 - From Membership to Advocacy 103
  • 4 - Old and New Civic and Social Ties in France 137
  • 5 - The German Case 189
  • 6 - Social Capital in Spain from the 1930s to the 1990s 245
  • 7 - Social Capital in the Social Democratic State 289
  • 8 - Making the Lucky Country 333
  • 9 - Broadening the Basis of Social Capital in Japan 359
  • Conclusion 393
  • Notes 417
  • Contributors 493
  • Index 497
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