Despite the market triumphalism that greeted the end of the ColdWar, the collapse of the Soviet empire seemed initially to herald newpossibilities for social democracy. In the 1990s, with a new era ofpeace and economic prosperity apparently imminent, people discontentedwith the realities of global capitalism swept social democrats intopower in many Western countries. The resurgence was, however, brief.Neither the recurring economic crises of the 2000s nor the ongoing Waron Terror was conducive to social democracy, which soon gave way to aprolonged decline in countries where social democrats had once heldpower. Arguing that neither globalization nor demographic change waskey to the failure of social democracy, the contributors to this volumeanalyze the rise and decline of Third Way social democracy and seek tolay the groundwork for the reformulation of progressive classpolitics.
Offering a comparative look at social democratic experience sincethe Cold War, the volume examines countries where social democracy haslong been an influential political force-Sweden, Germany,Britain, and Australia-while also considering the history ofCanada's NDP and the emergence of New Left parties in Germany andthe province of Quebec. The case studies point to a social democracythat has confirmed its rupture with the postwar order and its role asthe primary political representative of workingclass interests. Oncemarked by redistributive and egalitarian policy perspectives, socialdemocracy has, the book argues, assumed a new role-that of amodernizing force advancing the neoliberal cause.
Bryan Evans is an associate professor in theDepartment of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.Prior to joining Ryerson in 2003, he held senior policy advisory andmanagement positions in the Ontario Legislature and Government.Ingo Schmidt is an economist and the coordinator ofthe Labour Studies Program at Athabasca University. He has taught inGermany as well as Canada and was formerly staff economist with themetalworkers union, IG Metall, in Germany.