Sweden's Welfare State: Myths and Realities - A Marxist Analysis

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Sweden's Welfare State: Myths and Realities - A Marxist Analysis

Post by Rev Scare on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:38 am

Madeleine Johansson provides an interesting analysis of the Scandinavian welfare states in the following journal article published in Irish Marxist Review. The article examines the origins of the "Nordic model," with the focus, as the title suggests, on Sweden, its historical peculiarity, its apogee, and its inevitable erosion. While the Nordic countries have often been hailed as beacons of progress in an otherwise bleak capitalist world, it is vital that socialists understand that attempts to reconcile the class conflict inherent to capitalism (to "humanize" the system) through wealth redistribution schemes is ultimately impossible. Nothing short of revolutionary upheaval can eliminate the ills of the capitalist mode of production.


In the midst of the global economic crisis and the age of austerity, you sometimes hear comments about how the ‘Nordic Model' is different and Sweden is staving off a crisis that seems to be spreading fast throughout the rest of Europe. In October 2011, the Irish progressive economic think-tank, TASC, organised a seminar entitled 'The Nordic Models: Resilience in Changing Times' where prominent speakers discussed the Scandinavian way and how it could be implemented in Ireland. This 'Nordic model' conjures up a vision of a harmonious capitalist state, where the market madness can be tamed and a welfare state can foster a more equal society. Many of those advocating this model are genuinely looking for reforms and a better society. But the terminology and rhetoric can also be used, especially by Labour Party Government Ministers, in an attempt to delude people that their cutbacks are in reality progressive reforms.
Full text PDF.

"Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common." Hammer Sickle
Karl Marx

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Rev Scare

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