Concerning Some Ideological Aspects of Swedish Social-Democracy from a Social Point of View

Arvydas Guogis

Abstract


The Swedish welfare model is distinctive among other social policy models according to the citizens equality paradigm, due to which there exists a belief in a social welfare state, redistribution of state resources, equality is maintained (all have to possess equal possibilities and open ways for the fulfilment of their ideas) and the vital relation between citizens and society is implemented. The Swedish welfare state according to many macro-social indicators is the leading country in the world and distinguishes itself according to the universal character of many of its social benefits and services and has a high degree of social inclusion and reintegration. Nevertheless, the country, besides its state social security tier, has all other tiers of social security—the private and non-governmental sector.
The governance of Swedish social-democracy during many decades of the 20th century made a great impact for social achievements in the country—the Swedish welfare model was often directly identified with the activities of Swedish social-democracy. The positively constructed solution of contradictions between labour and capital, which began from the Saltsjobaden agreement between employers and employees in 1938, allowed the country to live in a “social peace” situation and having in mind five main ideological themes: integrative democracy, society’s and the state’s understanding as “People’s home,” the balance between social-economic equality and economic efficiency, socialized market economy and ecological security and feminism. This is a country, which from the pre-war years has proclaimed the importance of social policy and had strong state social security. The essential part in the theory and practise of Swedish socialdemocracy was “democratic socialism” in its form of “functional socialism,” which allowed direction of the capital interests and functions also to the needs and interests of all society. Although political and social democracy after some decades was fully reached in the country, the economic democracy met resistance in the mid 80s when “socialization through funds” by creating “funds socialism” of Meidner “employees funds” was stopped and was not developed further.
Although during the last 15-20 years tsome of the forms of traditional welfare state were abandoned, the former social-democratic tillage does not raise doubts about strong welfare state principles in Sweden, which allow reaching a balance between economic efficiency and social justice in the country. Ecological safety and feminism are these topics on socialdemocratic agenda, which can again attract the voters to vote for the searching and wanting to escape from the crisis Swedish social-democracy.

Keywords


Swedish social-democracy; “functional socialism”; welfare state; social policy

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789