ISBN : 9780190064112
What configuration of institutions and policies is most conducive to human flourishing? The historical and comparative evidence suggests that the answer is social democratic capitalism - a democratic political system, a capitalist economy, good elementary and secondary schooling, a big welfare state, pro-employment public services, and moderate regulation of product and labor markets. In Social Democratic Capitalism, Lane Kenworthy shows that this system improves living standards for the least well-off, enhances economic security, and boosts equality of opportunity. And it does so without sacrificing other things we want in a good society, from liberty to economic growth to health and happiness. Its chief practitioners have been the Nordic nations. The Nordics have gone farther than other rich democratic countries in coupling a big welfare state with public services that promote high employment and modest product- and labor-market regulations. Many believe this system isn't transferable beyond Scandinavia, but Kenworthy shows that social democratic capitalism and its successes can be replicated in other affluent nations, including the United States. Today, the U.S. lags behind other countries in economic security, opportunity, and shared prosperity. If the U.S. were to expand its existing social programs and add some additional ones, many ordinary Americans would have better lives. Kenworthy argues that, despite formidable political obstacles, the U.S. is likely to move toward social democratic capitalism in coming decades. As a country gets richer, he explains, it becomes more willing to spend more in order to safeguard against risk and enhance fairness. With social democratic capitalism as his blueprint, he lays out a detailed policy agenda that could alleviate many of America's problems.
1. Sources of Successful Societies
Part 1: Social Democratic Capitalism
2. Social Democratic Capitalism and the Good Society
3. Is Its Success Generalizable?
4. Is There an Attractive Small-Government Alternative?
5. Why Not a Basic Income?
Part 2: Social Democratic America
6. America Is Underachieving
7. A Better America
8. How to Get There