- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 12, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521686873
- ISBN-13: 978-0521686877
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Social Democracy in the Global Periphery: Origins, Challenges, Prospects
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"This impressive collaborative effort crosses disciplinary and regional boundaries to knock the conventional wisdom that globalization has made social democracy impossible on the periphery back on its heels. Grounding their analysis on four fascinating cases that span the globe, the four authors make a compelling case for the possibility of peripheral social democracy. Their book should be required reading for policy-makers and scholars alike."
Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley
"This is an outstanding book. It is theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich. In a field dominated by pessimistic books, the message of this book is even inspirational: redistributive efforts in the developing world can work and not at the expense of economic growth. The book makes us understand the political and social preconditions for such benign developmental outcomes. A must read for all students of the developing world."
Atul Kohli, Princeton University
"Social Democracy in the Global Periphery accomplishes what the best comparative research aims for. Informed by a full grasp of past work on development, democracy, and social welfare policies as well as thorough local knowledge, the authors scan the range of what is possible and identify in four exceptional cases the causal patterns that allowed equitable social and economic policies to emerge. Remarkably, these include not only favorable conditions for the mobilization of subordinate interests but also early and sustained integration into the international economy. This is a volume of outstanding importance."
Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Brown University
"This is a book that restores one's sense of political hope. Against the economic determinism of the 'free market,' these authors argue that it is possible, even in the Third World, to promote economic growth and, at the same time, to advance the cause of justice and solidarity."
Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
"Richard Sandbook and his colleagues have written an excellent book on social democracy...conveys an unusual but extremely helpful understanding of social democracy...raises almost as many interesting questions as it answers." --Sheri Berman, Barnard College: Book Reviews, Comparative Politics
Despite a global economic order favouring core industrial countries, opportunities still exist for social-democratic regimes in the developing world to achieve significant social progress. Examining four case studies, the authors demonstrate how socio-economic development and democracy can occur under apparently divergent circumstances of capitalist transformation.
Top customer reviews
Taking four current examples of Chile, Costa Rica, Mauritius and the Indian state of Kerala, all of which have been defined as "social-democracies" by various observers, the book goes on to examine the different ways in which each of these states has attempted to overcome the pressures of neo-liberalism to construct "social market economies".
The tone of the book is optimistic and clearly very supportive of attempts in the "developing world" to balance popular, democratic demands with the pressure for growth within a market economy while also providing a critical, analytical account of how this has been achieved. The authors break down variant approaches to social-democracy under three broad headings:
1)The "radical" model, which is ideologically democratic-socialist and aims at an evolutionary path towards an ultimate, fundamental reorientation in the balance of class power away from the owners of capital and towards the unpropertied people, that is, a long-term transition from social-democracy to democratic-socialism (this model is represented in the book by the Indian state of Kerala).
2)A "traditional" model (represented by Costa Rica and Mauritius) of "welfare-state capitalism" that essentially follows the same patterns as Western-European "mixed economies" i.e. combining state intervention and a welfare safety-net as "correctors" to the market economy.
3)A "Third-Way" model (represented by Chile) which is more clearly free-market oriented and influenced by the direction taken by the British "New Labour" party i.e. a "third way" between neo-liberalism and traditional Keynesian "welfare capitalism".
The book takes a historical approach that has the virtue of embedding its analysis in the concrete conditions of the societies under examination and makes full use of class analysis as a means of explaining the background to why various societies have adopted particular models, avoiding theoretical abstractions and remaining firmly grounded in the global political-economy of our times. This book would be an excellent addition to any university reading list on globalisation, political theory, political-economy or socialist thought and would make good sense read together with Karl Polanyi, J.M. Keynes and Karl Marx.
Although this is an excellent reference book and truly superbly researched, its central thesis, on examination, that social democracy is a viable path to "development" for the "global periphery" requires a serious critique at the level of some of its fundamental assumptions. Social-democracy is, virtually by definition in the current era, an ideology of "compromise between social classes" and the instability in this compromise appears particularly visibly today, even in the societies discussed in this book. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that there is a cautious and well-informed optimism at the heart of this work and I would wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend it for the consideration of anyone interested in these issues.