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Capitalists against MarketsThe Making of Labor Markets and Welfare States in the United States and Sweden$
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Peter A. Swenson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195142977.001.0001

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From Solidarism to Social Democracy

From Solidarism to Social Democracy

(p.245) 11 From Solidarism to Social Democracy
Capitalists against Markets

Peter A. Swenson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to an explanation of welfare state development in Sweden, where ironically, the major strides had to wait until the 1940s and 1950s, although Sweden's progressive political forces seemed stronger than America's in the 1930s. First it looks at why. Because of their solidaristic system of labor market governance, capitalists in Sweden would benefit from progressive reforms in times of acute labor scarcity (associated with postwar macroeconomic conditions) rather than the reverse as in the U.S. Then it analyzes how the Social Democratic government's very modest unemployment insurance and pension reforms of the 1930s served solidarism's need for low levels of militancy and heightened labor mobility, and thus helped forge the kind of cross‐class alliance that was to secure a long reign of peaceful relations between labor and capital under a leftist government.

Keywords:   cross‐class alliances, employers, labor mobility, macroeconomic conditions, pensions, social democracy, solidarism, strikes, Sweden, unemployment insurance

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