Source: New Politics
Monday, January 21, 2013
Adaner Usmani: I wanted to begin by asking you about the history that precedes the crisis, and specifically about the evolution of European social democracy. On the one hand we have seen social democratic governments in Greece, France and elsewhere entirely complicit in the evisceration of the welfare state, and in the imposition of austerity. On the other hand, the tradition of which they’re a part brought many benefits to Europe’s working classes. The welfare state is a real achievement, after all, and it’s arguably held up better than many radicals argue. Certainly there’s a strong current of academic literature, known as the Varieties of Capitalism (VOC) school, which argues that its degeneration has been overstated.
This is a horribly broad question, of course, but how would you assess the legacy of social democracy?
Leo Panitch: Well, there’s no question that the reforms that social democracy secured in the post-war period were substantial reforms that have had very positive effects for the working-classes. No question.
That said, it depends where you’re coming from. If what you’re looking for is reforms within capitalism, fine. But these were parties that, initially, and in fact in their constitutions until the late 50s, were all committed to getting out of capitalism. (más…)