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Pages tagged "social democratic theory"


Do New Democracies Support Democracy?: The Multilateral Dimension

by Ted Piccone 

The world’s six most influential rising democracies—Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey—are at various stages of democratic consolidation. Freedom House ranks them all as Free in terms of political rights and civil liberties except for Turkey (which is at the top of the Partly Free category), and all six have enjoyed remarkable economic growth and improved standards of living in recent years. Yet when it comes to supporting democracy and human rights outside their borders, they have differed quite a bit from one another, with behavior ranging from sympathetic support to borderline hostility.

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Europe's democracy shock

by Olaf Cramme 

The outcry over EU legitimacy only diverts attention away from the real challenges to democracy and sovereignty in our capitalist system. We deserve a better debate.

The seismic social and economic aftershocks of the global financial crisis have raised a new awareness among citizens: democracy is in a pretty bad shape and national sovereignty is under siege. It is not so much the widely-reported violent demonstrations in Greece which embody this growing unease, but rather hardening cynicism and wide scale disenchantment with politics in the liberal West. We are in a situation where representational power looks worryingly distorted, the most basic demands and concerns of citizens are often ignored and the emotional gap between the elite and the population at large seems to be growing. At the same time, questions of belonging, identity and nationalism have re-emerged on the agenda – and with it a new surge in populist rhetoric.

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A Challenge to Social Democrats: Where Is Your Blueprint for Europe?

by Steven Hill

When I spoke last June in Barcelona at the annual conference of the Social Democrat/Socialists in the European Parliament, I asked the audience a rather pointed question: what is your political program and solutions for the economic crisis that distinguishes you from the center-right? Because when I read various writings and websites from social democrats, I can’t really tell. The Social Democratic message is not clear, the program is too vague, indecisive and hedging. And I don’t just mean about how to deal with the current crisis — what is your blueprint for Europe going forward?

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The Language of Global Protest

by Jan-Werner Mueller

The protest movements that have flared up across the West, from Chile to Germany, have remained curiously undefined and under-analyzed. Some speak of them as the greatest global mobilization since 1968 – when enragés in very different countries coalesced around similar concerns. But others insist that there is nothing new here.

The Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, for example, has claimed that what we are actually experiencing is 1968 “in reverse.” “Then students on the streets of Europe,” he says, “declared their desire to live in a world different from the world of their parents. Now students are on the streets to declare their desire to live in the world of their parents.”

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Plan B: The Building Blocks of a Progressive UK

by George Irvin

By now, even the most die-hard Tory must realise that the UK economy under George Osborne has flat-lined; like the Python’s dead parrot, it wouldn’t ‘voom’ if you pumped 4 million volts through it.[1]

The highly respected National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NIESR) defines a ‘depression’ as that period of time during which the country’s economic output (GDP) has not returned to its prior peak. During the Great Depression of 1930-34, UK output fell by 7.5% and did not return to its pre-depression level for four years (48 months). Since the 2008 peak, UK output has fallen by about the same percentage. But here’s the rub: NIESR predicts that we’ll take 61 months to escape depression. Moreover, as Osborne tightens the economic thumbscrew, the pain is increasing to such a degree that even City financiers are now worrying about the real economy.

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Reconstructing the Left

by Shayn McCallum

A striking dilemma facing the Left almost everywhere outside Latin America is that, despite a massive crisis of globalised capitalism and the nakedly ideological bloody-mindedness of neo-liberalism, the Left is largely failing to rise to the occasion.  How is it that, in a time of economic meltdown brought on by rampant, neo-liberal (il)logic concerning the desirability of untrammeled free-markets, there has not been a sharp turn to the Left and a call to reassert popular sovereignty once more over the market?  Why is the cry of “people before profits” limited to the activists of the street?

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Why Believe In Keynesian Models?

by Paul Krugman

A correspondent asks a good question: what evidence makes me believe that Keynesian economics is broadly right, given the relative absence of experience with large fiscal stimulus programs?

I’d answer that question with several points.

First, we’re talking about a model, not just a prediction about the impact of spending increases. So you can ask about the ancillary predictions of that model as opposed to rival models. Anti-Keynesians assured us that budget deficits would send interest rates soaring; Keynesian analysis said they’d stay low as long as the economy remained far from full employment. Guess who was right?

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Milton Friedman’s Magical Thinking

by Dani Rodrik

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. Friedman was one of the twentieth century’s leading economists, a Nobel Prize winner who made notable contributions to monetary policy and consumption theory. But he will be remembered primarily as the visionary who provided the intellectual firepower for free-market enthusiasts during the second half of the century, and as the éminence grise behind the dramatic shift in the economic policies that took place after 1980.

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Labor’s Future: Two Weekend Forums

by Bob Carr

 

At the weekend, I spoke to two gatherings for ALP members focused on re-building the party.

On Saturday I flew into Bathurst to speak to a group of about 30 ALP members engaged in a party review. I reminded them of the importance of Bathurst in Labor’s election victory of 1995. I used it as an example of how Labor can win on both bread and butter issues and a nature conservation or ‘green’ agenda. All it takes is nimble party leadership, I said.

“We won Bathurst against the Greiner agenda in 1991. We held it in 1995 because of a flow of preferences from a Green Party candidate based on our commitment to saving the South East forests. Think about that as a confirmation that the right ALP leadership can straddle the divide between green-inclined voters and a traditional base, between a nature conservation agenda and an agenda of economic growth.”

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Why we need nationalised Banks

by George Irvin 

As things stand, the banks are the permanent government of the country, whichever party is in power.” (Lord Skidelsky, House of Lords, Hansard Citation, 31 March 2011, c1359)

Everybody agrees that the next financial crisis is about to hit us …. bringing another economic crisis in its wake. The general view is that if we were able to prevent meltdown in 2008 by throwing money at the banks, this time the money will be more difficult to find. Unlike the last time, the OECD economies are stagnating, unemployment is high and there’s already much public anger about cuts, joblessness and bankers’ bonuses. [1]

Perhaps we should remember that in 2009, neo-liberalism was pronounced dead and buried. It was thought that a new, more thoughtful era was being born. It most certainly didn’t happen. Instead, European countries became more narrowly nationalistic and xenophobic, while the US gave the world the Tea Party. So there is good reason to believe that, as in the 1930s, economic crisis may strengthen the right more than the left. That’s one reason that progressives need to sloganise less (eg, it’s all due to greedy bankers) and think more about underlying causes.

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