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“Nordic Social Democracy: the Modernizers Paolo Borioni, “Fondazione Istituto Gramsci”

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Presentation on theme: "“Nordic Social Democracy: the Modernizers Paolo Borioni, “Fondazione Istituto Gramsci”"— Presentation transcript:

1 “Nordic Social Democracy: the Modernizers Paolo Borioni, “Fondazione Istituto Gramsci”

2 A feature of nordic social- democracy The first idea was parity between the labour market parties The second idea was a virtuous circle between efficiency, solidarity and equality self-organised (partly state funded) voluntary system of unemployement insurance: the Gent (or Ghent) model

3 The Ghent system and ALMP difficult to discriminate between ‘involuntary’ joblessness and ‘voluntary’ forms of idleness. Voluntary insurance offered a way out of this The workers themselves had to carry the main burden; it would be in their interest to closely control all applicants This paved the way for Active Labour Market Policies: activation, upgrading programs

4 Norway Progress Party (FrP) wants to use 150 billion Euro of the Oil funds to dicrease the level of taxation. This would undermine welfare Present rules about oil money: 1) Oljefonden must be kept apart from current public budget; 2) From this fund for other purposes only less than 4% of Gnp per year FrP got 22% in 2005 and is the second biggest party

5 The left wing government since 2005 Despite temptations welfare societies and public policies are supported: the left wins in 2005 Social-democracy: oil money only to strengthen the welfare state and remaining under the threshold of 4% per year of Gnp. Left wing victory in 2005: An inclusive welfare state is apparently not a feature of an age of shortage/poverty alone.

6 Why wealthy Norway wants welfare and saving money in Oljefonden Strength of public policies and public initiative: public and semi-public oil companies have a share of about 50% of the oil plants. Shell and Bp have less than 10% each. Preventing inflation 70% of oil dug out in an age of relatively low oil prices. Oljefonden as a future “insurance” for public policies and welfare

7 Welfare as modernity 57% of women supported the left wing in Norway Welfare is perceived as a factor of modernity: an infrastructure of individual freedom Welfare state and confidence in public policies have a mutual positive strengthening effect

8 Expenses for free education

9 DK: right wing government since 2001 Part of the nordic and danish electorate which used to vote Social Democracy resent Soc. Dem. flexicurity reforms of the 1990ies Conservative party (Konservativ Folkeparti) genuinely keen on introducing sensible tax-cuts (Liberals/Venstre, the biggest party) advocate for “skattestop” (no raise of taxes in no field for no reason). Tax reductions only in the long run and very gradually

10 DK: Social Democratic Reaction the party tried to react to it and put forward their slogan “we choose welfare” Welfare workers think that new liberal slogan “Denmark can afford it all” is untenable. salaries must to be raised in the welfare sector to prevent people leaving for better paid jobs and therefore a shortage of hands in welfare state.

11 DK: Soc Dem strategy and the 2007 election Center-left coalition was in the lead until november 6th. Until then, the debate had been mostly about welfare According to opinion surveys the main worries for most danes have not to do with high taxes, but rather with welfare and immigration respectively. after a few days of campaigning, in which swing voters had closely followed the welfare debate, they must have felt reassured about welfare The center right won againg

12 Social democratic discourse in Sweden Former social democratic premier G. Persson said The World Economic Forum, declared that Sweden was the third most competitive economy in the world a society characterized by very high taxes and very expensive welfare programs can be perfectly competitive

13 Sweden: A subtle neo-liberal strategy Swedish conservative government intends to cut the rates of income taxes, especially the highest and the lowest rates as a stimulous to work more Incentives to go back to work: lower unemployment and sickness insurance benefits which could undermine the “Gent model” unemployment insurances. The latter, being managed by the unions, explains the very high degree of union membership (above 70%)

14 Un-hegemonic neo-liberal nordic discourse The neo-non-socialist leaders today often voice their appreciation for the welfare state Although both the swedish and the danish prime ministers once used to support a rather radical idea of what Anders Fogh Rasmussen in his book from the early nineties called Minimumsstat

15 Swedish reforms of the Gent model since January 2007 it has been made significantly more expensive to be a member of a state-supported, but unions-managed unemployment insurance no longer possible to get any tax allowance for the cost of membership in unions-managed insurance In a town like Stockholm, consequently, less than 20% of the younger workers are members of a union Attack on the nordic model and on social democratic participation

16 Gent model reform in Dk switch power and influence from the old management system (traditional cooperation between unions and employers managing “flexicurity”) to municipalities So, governments acquire more control upon how long and for what reasons unemployed are given the chance to upgrading education rather than a “compulsory” job they are offered Tendency to more “workfare” and less flexicurity

17 Expenses in Almp: in general (left), per unemployed (right)

18 Expenses in R&D

19 Soc Dem Reaction wage earners can count on acceptable unemployement benefits for relatively long periods one of the factors compelling companies to offer good and relatively well paid jobs neo-liberal workfare approach at risk of undermining this stimulous to innovation and high quality production/funding of welfare

20 Social democratic strength Dk: 25% (historical low). Potential coalition about 45%. Economic and organisational problems Sweden (last survey): 43% (higher than the conservatives altogether). Potential coalition 56%. Strong Hegemony, with some new problems. Norway: 32%. Coalition 47%. Majority in parliament. Hegemony, though threatened

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