Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 20, 2014, 06:28:10 am
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  General Politics
| |-+  Political Debate
| | |-+  Political Essays & Deliberation (Moderator: Beet)
| | | |-+  What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?  (Read 3051 times)
Beet
Moderator
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16058


View Profile
« on: December 18, 2009, 01:00:35 pm »

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23519

A startlingly good essay, particularly on the big picture.
Logged

A18
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 23836
Political Matrix
E: 9.23, S: -6.35

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 01:29:51 pm »
Ignore

What do you like about it? I only read the first half, but nothing struck me as particularly novel or insightful. It seemed to me like social democracy at its worst: moral indignation as political philosophy.
Logged
Beet
Moderator
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16058


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2009, 01:36:37 pm »

What do you like about it? I only read the first half, but nothing struck me as particularly novel or insightful. It seemed to me like social democracy at its worst: moral indignation as political philosophy.

I like the framing of social democracy as an 'ideology' of fear. I like the framing of it as somewhat conservative. I like the idea that it has the same contextual genesis as the 20th century libertarians, only very different conclusions. These things help make it far more than just 'moral indignation'.
Logged

A18
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 23836
Political Matrix
E: 9.23, S: -6.35

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2009, 01:59:47 pm »
Ignore

That social democrats want to conserve social democracy doesn't strike me as particularly insightful. And surely any child over the age of 10 knows that the surest way to "conserve" something is to make people think the sky would fall without it.

By the way, at one point the author curiously writes that, "If we ask who exercised the greatest influence over contemporary Anglophone economic thought, five foreign-born thinkers spring to mind: Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Popper, and Peter Drucker. The first two were the outstanding 'grandfathers' of the Chicago School of free-market macroeconomics." One might be able to tie Hayek, however tangentially, to the Chicago School (as I recall, he was a professor of history there)óbut Mises?!
Logged
Beet
Moderator
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16058


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2009, 02:28:27 pm »

It's not just that they want to conserve social democracy itself, but the idea that social democracy is a means of conserving the liberal order, partly politically through society, and partly economically. The goal is stability, and each part should be judged on how well it serves its respective goal.

As for the Chicago School, I noticed that too, but this article is America- centric, Chicago is in the Anglo world, Austria is not. And the Austrian School was an influence on the Chicago School, partly through Hayek, who was Mises's student.
Logged

Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11391
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2009, 04:50:49 pm »
Ignore

I find Tony Judt a bit of a self-righteous bore sometimes (at least in his Postwar) and curiously obsessed with the history of the Marxism and Communism and yet only distantly with the Soviet Union (It's complicated).

I would also disagree with the whole Europe-America binary he employs which yet again pretends that 'Europe' (and Judt should really know not to do this) is a singular entity rather than a collective of over 50 nation states all with their different politics and systems of government

I like what he has to say about Clinton however - pretty much a perfect summing up of his time in office. And also on economism.

I'm taking it that Judt is confabulating 'the chicago school' with *shudder* 'neo-liberalism' in general.

As an otherwise social democrat I find it's mixed bag though he is surely true correct that social democracy is now identifiable as a conservative force. What he doesn't argue, which he perhaps should, is that that is its problem.
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Beet
Moderator
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 16058


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 04:55:04 pm »

I find Tony Judt a bit of a self-righteous bore sometimes (at least in his Postwar) and curiously obsessed with the history of the Marxism and Communism and yet only distantly with the Soviet Union (It's complicated).

Actually, he came off as quite conservative in Postwar, so something like this came off as a surprise.

Still, you can't begrudge a recent past historian like himself of seeing the value of social democracy through a twentieth century lens. The triumph of social democracy in the West was a twentieth century product.
Logged

Tetro Kornbluth
Gully Foyle
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11391
Ireland, Republic of


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2009, 04:59:46 pm »
Ignore

I find Tony Judt a bit of a self-righteous bore sometimes (at least in his Postwar) and curiously obsessed with the history of the Marxism and Communism and yet only distantly with the Soviet Union (It's complicated).

Actually, he came off as quite conservative in Postwar, so something like this came off as a surprise.

Still, you can't begrudge a recent past historian like himself of seeing the value of social democracy through a twentieth century lens. The triumph of social democracy in the West was a twentieth century product.

That's not surprising (I've never read all of Postwar only large chunks of it - but I've read many of his online article like the one there) he is essentially a conservative social democrat. If that makes sense. Or if the representation of European social democracy the moment it seized to be 'reformist' and started being conservative - he's even going nostalgia for the 50s and 60s (though thankfully not in the way others are nostalgic are those particular decades).

I value him as a historian, I just said that he is a bit of bore sometimes. Especially on Marxism and its relationship to European especially French intellectuals.
Logged



Quote
Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Sibboleth
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 56804
Saint Helena


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2009, 08:12:40 pm »
Ignore

Something to read tomorrow, I guess. Judt is a weird one, but can be interesting when he wants to be.

he is essentially a conservative social democrat. If that makes sense.

Yes, it makes sense.
Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Scam of God
Einzige
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5231
United States


Political Matrix
E: 6.19, S: -9.91

View Profile
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2009, 08:13:09 pm »
Ignore

The problem is that social-democracy is inefficient even in achieving its historical goals: merely redistributing wealth through taxation is hardly enough to secure a lasting economic security for the lower classes. The Marxists were right in this one thing: the material means of wealth generation have to be in the hands of a man if he is to make something lasting for himself. And social-democracy, and 20th century liberalism more generally, can't do that.
Logged

Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
Sibboleth
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 56804
Saint Helena


View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2009, 08:26:18 pm »
Ignore

Social Democracy has no historical goal (not since the belief in progress was crushed by events in Germany and Austria in the '30's). Taking a long view, I guess that's always been one of its main problems. Still, it's done more for ordinary people than any other ideology, so maybe that doesn't matter much.
Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Scam of God
Einzige
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5231
United States


Political Matrix
E: 6.19, S: -9.91

View Profile
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2009, 08:28:01 pm »
Ignore

Social Democracy has no historical goal (not since the belief in progress was crushed by events in Germany and Austria in the '30's). Taking a long view, I guess that's always been one of its main problems. Still, it's done more for ordinary people than any other ideology, so maybe that doesn't matter much.

It once did. And that's a big part of the problem - it can no longer provide "a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal". I'd sooner see it return to the historical mission of the Left than continue on its present course.
Logged

Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
Sibboleth
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 56804
Saint Helena


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2009, 08:39:04 pm »
Ignore

It once did.

Only in a very loose sense - and was really just a Socialist version of the idea of Progress, sometimes combined at a non-intellectual level (or so I would argue) with certain older popular utopias (daft term, but best I can think up at this late hour). None of which really survived what happened in the '30's; the second crisis of Social Democracy, really. The thing is that the death of this goal (as something really believed in that is... most Social Democratic parties only formally abandoned utopia in the '50's and '60's; Labour in Britain didn't until the '90's and I think the Austrian Social Democrats might still officially believe in it. But the key terms here are 'formally' and 'officially'...) predates the major practical achievements of the ideology.
I do actually think that it is a problem at an ideological and intellectual level, but...

Quote
I'd sooner see it return to the historical mission of the Left than continue on its present course.

And that is? (btw, if this is something you've gone on about elsewhere, better to direct me in that direction than potentially fill this thread up).
Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Scam of God
Einzige
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5231
United States


Political Matrix
E: 6.19, S: -9.91

View Profile
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2009, 08:43:48 pm »
Ignore

As I've said before, the minimum demand of virtually all Leftist and working-class Parties (before they actually assumed power beginning in the first and second decades of the last century) was in giving control of the means of production to the workers. How they went about it was a major point of contention, but it was almost universally agreed upon that the workers themselves had to physically control the tools of wealth-creation.

And, indeed, this is something I've gone on before about, because I actually agree with this. Perhaps that makes me a far-leftist - I certainly don't think so, because I base it on what I consider to be libertarian principles of self-sufficiency and self-ownership. But that ideal can now be realized with technologies emerging today, and I want the social-democrats to reconsider their time-worn tactic of merely indirectly redistributing wealth. Give a needy man a dollar and he'll spend it on temporary goods; give a needy man a machine and he can begin generating his own wealth.
Logged

Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
Sibboleth
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 56804
Saint Helena


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2009, 08:55:05 pm »
Ignore

I'd have to disagree that it was the minimum demand. That was usually universal suffrage, or an extension in political rights and working class representation in the political system generally. Of course, the ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange was something that all Social Democratic parties with Marxist roots agreed on (and which the largest non-Marxist Social Democratic party adopted in 1918) but there was never any real understanding of what this actually meant (except in an abstract sense). One of the main problems the early Social Democratic governments had (those that came to power in anything like 'normal' circumstances, anyway) was the gap between their official goals and political reality - there was no way of bridging the two and the result was often pretty sad.
Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Scam of God
Einzige
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5231
United States


Political Matrix
E: 6.19, S: -9.91

View Profile
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2009, 08:57:19 pm »
Ignore

If not the minimum demand, then certainly one which formed a core component of the movement. And I don't think it's really all that radical an idea today, since it could be done - with investment in the right areas - without a drop of blood being shed, without the need for revolution.

Moreover, it would accomplish goals agreeable to virtually all ends of the political spectrum: by massively broadening the tax base, it would make it far easier to pay down the national debt, which is a very conservative concern.
Logged

Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
Sibboleth
Realpolitik
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 56804
Saint Helena


View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2009, 02:24:05 pm »
Ignore

Finally got round to reading it. Very good, although there are a few minor issues here and there - one I'd pick up on is the emphasis on intellectual contribution and elite political life. Keynes, for example, was in reality far less influential on the development of postwar Social Democracy than Judt seems to think (and Keynes was no Social Democrat, obviously).
But these don't really detract from his analysis or argument. Most of it isn't exactly original, but I've not really seen the idea of Social Democracy as a conservative force being potentially a good thing being put forward in such detail before. In places it uses far-left arguments against Social Democracy and Social Democratic parties for a very different purposes to that originally intended - the sort of intellectual inversion that's always interesting.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 09:07:19 pm by Alonzo Lot »Logged

"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines