Capitalists against Markets

Capitalists against Markets : The Making of Labor Markets and Welfare States in the United States and Sweden

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Conventional wisdom argues that welfare state builders in the US and Sweden in the 1930s took their cues from labor and labor movements. Capitalists Against Markets makes the startling argument that pragmatic social reformers looked for support not only from below but also from above, taking into account capitalist interests and preferences. Juxtaposing two widely recognized extremes of welfare, the US and Sweden, Peter Swenson shows that employer interests played a role in welfare state development in both countries. This broad-ranging comparative analysis begins with theory about employer interests under varying economic and institutional conditions, especially in labor markets shaped to a considerable degree by employers themselves. It then moves on to in-depth historical evidence starting from very early in the 1900s. The historical narrative reveals striking variations within and across the behavior of their capitalist classes. It gives reason to believe that capitalists were among essential allies of the American welfare state in the 1930s and beyond, not just forces for containing its expansion. It also shows tjhat Social Democrats in Sweden were kicking in capitalists' open doors as they installed and expanded the various pieces of their world-renowned welfare state through the 1960s. A concluding chapter surveys labor market and social policy changes in both countries since the 1970s in light of the theory and historical analysis of cross-class alliance politics. Provocative in its challenge to conventional thinking and theory, Capitalists Against Markets illuminates the political conditions for greater economic and social security in capitalist societies.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 24mm | 639.56g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195142977
  • 9780195142976
  • 1,667,397

Review quote

Capitalists Against Markets highlights the important role played by employers in the creation of the American and Swedish welfare states. In a brilliant and original analysis, Swenson show how employer strategies-solidarism in Sweden and segmentalism in the U.S. -were rooted in each country's economic development and gave rise to distinctive public programs. Adroitly blending theory, history, and politics, Swenson has created a masterpiece of comparative scholarship. * Sanford M. Jacoby, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA * This is a book of great importance. Marshalling detailed historical evidence, Swenson persuasively challenges the view that employers were uniformly hostile to the creation of the welfare state by showing that this was untrue even in the United States. As an added bonus, it is quite gripping a read. * David Soskice, Research Professor of Political Science, Duke University * Capitalists Against Markets is a magnificent follow-up on the author's much acclaimed Fair Shares. In this new book, Peter Swenson proposes a much needed correction to the mainstream-and myopic-focus on the role of labor movements in the making of welfare politics. He offers both rich history and strong analysis of how capitalists helped give shape and form to the welfare state and to labor market policies in Sweden and the United States, two countries that exemplify the welfare state extremes. It is both impressive and path-breaking scholarship, and it will no doubt provoke controversy. It certainly should, as it forces us social scientists to take the politics of capitalists far more seriously than has been our want. * Gosta Esping-Anderson, Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain es * A thought-provoking and edifying work... an ambitious developments.... Swenson turns much conventional thinking on its head. * Comparative Politics * Capitalists Against Markets highlights the important role played by employers in the creation of the American and Swedish welfare states. In a brilliant and original analysis, Swenson show how employer strategies-solidarism in Sweden and segmentalism in the U.S. * were rooted in each country's economic development and gave rise to distinctive public programs. Adroitly blending theory, history, and politics, Swenson has created a masterpiece of comparative scholarship. *show more

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