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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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Cross‐Class Alliance

Cross‐Class Alliance

The Social Democratic Breakthrough

(p.99) 5 Cross‐Class Alliance
Capitalists against Markets

Peter A. Swenson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter picks up where the last left off, in the 1930s, when the Swedish Social Democratic Party took power, and instead of undermining solidarism, actually helped employers achieve their long sought‐after solidaristic goal of compressing wage levels across industries. During the Great Depression, Social Democratic intervention against militant unions in the building and construction trades brought their wages down to levels long sought by employers, and inaugurated a decade‐long period of labor‐management harmony and consensual politics despite Social Democratic domination. This harmony was based on a cross‐class alliance of interest between major export‐oriented sectors of Swedish industry and the social democratic labor movement, reflected in the details of achievements of other political and industrial relations of the decade: the Social Democratic government's crisis program against unemployment and the famous 1938 Basic (Saltsjöbaden) Agreement between the labor and employer confederations.

Keywords:   cross‐class alliances, employers, Great Depression, labor militancy, politics, social democracy, solidarism, Sweden, unemployment policy, wage compression

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