Between growth and security

Swedish social democracy from a strong society to a third way

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Jenny Andersson
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Social policy is not a cost, but a productive investment, wrote the Swedish social democratic economist Gunnar Myrdal in 1932, the year the Swedish social democrats (SAP) gained electoral power. This notion of social policy as a productive investment and a prerequisite for economic growth became a core feature in the ideology of Swedish social democracy, and a central component of the universalism of the Swedish welfare state. However, as the SAP embarked on its Third Way in 1981, this outlook on social policy as a productive investment was replaced by the identification of social policy as a cost and a burden for growth. This book discusses the components of this ideological turnaround from Swedish social democracy's post war notion of a strong society, to its notion of a Third Way in the early 1980s. It contributes to the history of Swedish social democracy and recent developments in the Swedish welfare state, and also sheds light on contemporary social policy debates.

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