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General Studies 2 >> International Relations

SCANDANAVIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

 

SCANDINAVIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

Source: Hindu
 
 

CONTEXT

In the elections held in Sweden, Social Democrats returned as the single largest party.

IMMIGRATION

Several voters have expressed their concerns about rising immigration violence and control of crime. The SD has taken a strident position against immigrants. Sweden played a major role in allowing refugees fleeing the Syrian, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars to seek asylum in the 2010s by promising to make it extremely difficult for asylum seekers to enter the country.

SOCIALISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

  • The term socialism is associated with the regimes of the erstwhile communist bloc, which had a heavy preponderance of the state not just the ownership of the major means of production but also in political life with a one-party system drawing its ideological basis for rule on behalf of the working class.
  • Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, new socialist regimes in recent years have sought to distance themselves from the one-party model in the so-called “second world”, instead focusing on retaining the functioning of market economies, while emphasizing redistribution of wealth and a greater preponderance for the state in this process.
  • The regimes in Latin America led by ruling parties in Venezuela, Bolivia, and recently in Chile, can be termed "democratic socialist "-seeking to achieve socialist goals of redistribution and restructuring of formal democratic and liberal institutions in the vastly unequal and elite-driven system.
  • In the Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, the systems are more akin to typical “social democracies”-reliance on representative and participatory democratic institutions where separation of powers is ensured, a comprehensive social welfare scheme with emphasis on publicly provided social services and investments in child care, education and research among others that are funded by progressive taxation, presence of strong labour market institutions with active labour unions and employer association which allow for significant collective bargaining, wage negotiations and coordination besides an active role in governance and policy.
  • All these countries also follow a capitalist model of development, allowing for entrepreneurism and funding of welfare policies through a large degree of wage taxation concerning corporate taxes.
  • Education is free in all the Nordic states, healthcare is free in Denmark and Finland, and partially free in Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, and workers get several benefits –from unemployment insurance to old age pensions, besides effective child care. Therefore labour participation rates in these countries are among the highest in the world (even among women).
  • Nordic nations rank in the top 10 among OECD countries in government expenditure on health and education if calculated as the percentage of GDP.
  • The countries have undertaken a series of steps in deregulation of industry and privatization of some public services but they retain the emphasis on welfare, taxation, and investment compared to the rest of the world and Europe in particular. This helped these countries achieve significant outcomes –high levels of international trade and participation in globalization, economic progress, and low levels of inequality and high living standards.
  • In the most recent UNDP report, Norway ranks second among countries on Human Development Index, Iceland stands at fourth, and Denmark at sixth. The Nordic countries ranked the highest in various indices on press freedom and indices measuring gender inequality.

FEATURES

  • One reason for a thriving model is that Nordic countries have been their relatively smaller and more homogeneous populations enabling focused governance.
  • The” Corporatist “model of involving interests of both capital and labour, mediated by the government at many levels, has allowed these countries to transition from agrarian to industrial to post-industrial and knowledge /service economies relatively smoothly.
  • The tripartite consensus approach has also emphasized social policies that facilitate the expansion of modern production and thus better-paid of jobs.
  • The other commonality is the political presence of the Social Democratic parties in these countries. These social democratic parties consolidated support by mitigating the effect of the global economic crisis in the 1930s. The Scandinavian social democrats "fortified democracy ", entered into broad alliances with agrarian parties based on favourable agricultural prices and universal social security, and gave less priority to issues of ownership than to economic expansion, more jobs, and increasing tax incomes this led to equal citizenship rights and pragmatic class compromises.

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