The Dilemmas of Social Democracies

The Dilemmas of Social Democracies : Overcoming Obstacles to a More Just World

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The Dilemmas of Social Democracies seeks to advance the eradication of poverty and the ethical construction of social democracy and sustainable peace. Howard Richards and Joanna Swanger argue that the reason that capitalism resists transformation and that social democracy is so hard to achieve is because of the philosophical and institutional underpinnings_the constitutive rules_of capitalism; the book therefore explores the historical origins of these rules, their implications for blocking progress toward social justice, and how they can be improved.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 446 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 33.02mm | 657.71g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739129279
  • 9780739129272

Review quote

In this fascinating collection of studies of the obstacles to the realization of the deep principles of social democracy, cooperation, and sharing, the endless failures of well-meant programs of betterment are honestly faced. The key insight, reflecting movements in the human sciences generally, is to foreground the role of culture in the reproduction of the obstacles to the realization of a just world. There are no mechanisms of failure. Diagnosis is the first step to cure of pathologies, be they organic, moral, or social. In this book we have a thrilling beginning. -- Rom Harre, Linacre College The Dilemmas of Social Democracies is a spiritually and historically deep analysis of the origins and development of what the authors call 'humanity's greatest achievement so far in harnessing human energy and mobilizing natural resources and capital in the service of meeting everybody's needs.' However, Howard Richards and Joanna Swanger are not interested only in the historical achievements of Social Democracy but provide also an original scrutiny of its limits and inherent contradictions. What is perhaps most striking about this book is its ambitious attempt to go beyond eurocentrism and learn from a wide variety of global experiences, from South Africa and Indonesia to Venezuela. In short, this is a highly recommendable book on social democracy written from the cosmopolitical perspective of 'ethical construction of social reality.' -- Heikki Patomaki, University of Helsinki Richards and Swanger have given us what we now most sorely need, informed hope. In a work of stunning scholarship, deeply researched and broad in vision, interpreted in the light of some of the most significant modern philosophic and social science works, it explores highly instructive historic experiences in social democracy. Their work makes it clearly evident that another world is, indeed, possible. Within the framework of their concepts of social action and ethical construction, they vividly articulate the practical and attainable possibilities for the achievement of global social justice that lie in the principles of cooperation and sharing. It is a work that should be read, reflected on, and widely used by educators, scholars, and activists committed to the struggle for the possibilities these authors identify in learnings derived actual historic experience. -- Betty A. Reardon, Teachers College Columbia University
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About Howard Richards

Joanna Swanger is assistant professor of border studies and resident director of the Border Studies Program at Earlham College. Howard Richards is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Peace & Global Justice Studies at Earlham College.
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 On Cooperation and Sharing Chapter 2 Making Invisible Causes Visible Chapter 3 The Drama of Spanish Socialism: Tragedy, Farce, or Conceptual Error? (Part 1) Chapter 4 The Drama of Spanish Socialism: Tragedy, Farce, or Conceptual Error? (Part 2) Chapter 5 A Modest Hypothesis Concerning Swedish Social Democracy Chapter 6 Sweden's Rehn-Meidner Model: Too Good to be True, or, The Stumbling Blocks of Freedom and Property Chapter 7 The Revenge of the Iron Law of Wages Chapter 8 Hjalmar Branting's Uppfostran Chapter 9 Karl Popper's Vienna, or, The Straitjacket of Mainstream Social Science Chapter 10 Power and Principle in South Africa Chapter 11 Islam and Economic Rationality in Indonesia Chapter 12 The Stones that the Builders Rejected Chapter 13 Middle-Class Values Chapter 14 The Venezuela That Might Have Been Chapter 15 Social Democracy on a World Scale: The World Bank and the Logic of Love
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