This book, originally published in 1978, constitutes a genuinely comparative study of the world's only truly succesful democratic socialist parties: the Social Democraic Parties of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The measure of achievement is not merely political success, the fact that in Scandinavia the Social Democrats have become 'natural parties of goverment', for just as importantly, the author shows that a political success grounded on the symbiotic relationship between party and trade union movement has been the foundation for a higher level of welfare state provision and egalitarian striving than in virtually any other advanced Western nations.
It is a book for friends and foes of democratic socialism alike; for the former to provide an understanding of the tasks ahead and for the latter to know the enemy better.
Part 1: Achievements 1. The Political Dominance of Social Democracy 1.1. The Relative Strength of the European Social Democratic Parties 1.2. The Emergent Scandinavian Labour Movements 1.3. The Road to Power 1.4. The Mechanisms of Social Democratic Ascendancy 1.5. New Problems and New Parties 2. Equality and Welfare in Capitalist Society 2.1. Taking an Agnostic Approach 2.2. Devising a Measure of Welfare State Provision 2.3. The Data and an Interpretation 2.4. Dimensions of Equality and Welfare in Scandinavia 2.5. Capitalism and the Social Democratic Image of Society Part 2: Origins 3. Paradoxes of Scandinavian Political Development 3.1. Class and Party in Scandinavia 3.2. The Politics of Virtuous Circles 3.3. The Weakness of the Right