Social Democracy and the Europe of Tomorrow

Social Democracy and the Europe of Tomorrow

By the late 1950s all West European socialist and social democratic parties (I shall use the terms interchangeably) had abandoned in practice, and some in theory too, the idea of socialism as an “end-state” or “final goal.” What had been short-term aims in the pre-1914 programs of social democracy had now become the only goals: income redistribution, equality and social justice, full employment, the welfare state and the mixed economy. To achieve these objectives it was thought necessary to control the nation-state and its “sovereign” administrative machine. Today this conception is bankrupt: the epoch of construction of social democracy in one country has come to a close. The last attempt in this direction, the French socialist government of 1981-83, provided the resting place for the political ambitions of national social democracy.

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Lima