The Future of “Social Democratic Consensus”

The Future of “Social Democratic Consensus”

In recent years, it has become commonplace in the Western democracies to speak of a crisis of the “social democratic consensus.” What is meant is not merely a crisis in terms of the influence and self-confidence of the social democratic parties, their loss of government power in a number of countries, and the decline of their internal cohesion almost everywhere —but a crisis of the general belief in the welfare state. This belief had been founded in part on the Keynesian concepts and techniques of ensuring high employment and steady growth in a market economy by a public policy regulating the level of total demand, and in part on a high level of social security, achieved by combining insurance contribution with redistributive taxation.

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