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Returns to Capital: Austerity and the Crisis of European Social Democracy

Returns to Capital: Austerity and the Crisis of European Social Democracy joe gu i nan "We are no longer sure," wrote the late Giovanni Arrighi in his monumental survey of the long twentieth century, "that the crisis of the 1970s was ever really resolved."1 Almost two decades on, this observation seems truer than ever. Another economic crisis, larger even than that of the seventies, is upon us, and the European left is stranded without an economic program. Over one hundred years after the first of the parties affiliated to the Second International won a plurality in a parliamentary election (Finland, 1907),2 social democracy--that most protean of political traditions--may finally be running out of rope. Today's stark choices are being posed as the result of a major economic shift within capitalism: the deep disruption of capital accumulation as a consequence of the crisis in global financial markets unleashed in 2008. With the end of the recent long boom--or rather, long bubble--social democrats have been dealt a tremendous double blow. On the one hand, their decadelong strategy of full accommodation to neoliberalism in order to skim off the surplus for ameliorative social spending has collapsed with the end of the growth upon which it depended. On the other, they have fallen http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Returns to Capital: Austerity and the Crisis of European Social Democracy

The Good Society , Volume 22 (1)

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Penn State University Press
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Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
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Abstract

joe gu i nan "We are no longer sure," wrote the late Giovanni Arrighi in his monumental survey of the long twentieth century, "that the crisis of the 1970s was ever really resolved."1 Almost two decades on, this observation seems truer than ever. Another economic crisis, larger even than that of the seventies, is upon us, and the European left is stranded without an economic program. Over one hundred years after the first of the parties affiliated to the Second International won a plurality in a parliamentary election (Finland, 1907),2 social democracy--that most protean of political traditions--may finally be running out of rope. Today's stark choices are being posed as the result of a major economic shift within capitalism: the deep disruption of capital accumulation as a consequence of the crisis in global financial markets unleashed in 2008. With the end of the recent long boom--or rather, long bubble--social democrats have been dealt a tremendous double blow. On the one hand, their decadelong strategy of full accommodation to neoliberalism in order to skim off the surplus for ameliorative social spending has collapsed with the end of the growth upon which it depended. On the other, they have fallen

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

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