The Political Theory Of Swedish Social Democracy

In This Review

The Political Theory Of Swedish Social Democracy

By Tim Tilton
Oxford, 1990
298 pp. $64.00

An attractive and wide-ranging monograph that battles two common assumptions: that ideas or moral beliefs matter little in politics and that the success of the Swedish socialist party in retaining power over four decades-a success unique among European socialist parties-can be attributed to its pragmatism or revisionism. The author, an American political scientist, is an enthusiast for Sweden's socialist achievement, untouched by recent skepticism about "the Swedish model." His book explicates the principal ideas of Swedish socialism, from its foundation in the nineteenth century to Olof Palme. The book has some actuality because the Swedish socialists accepted the essential value of the market while seeking ways to make society more egalitarian and equitable. What Gunnar and Alva Myrdal wrote in 1935 still has resonance: "We cannot become poorer by taking better care of our human capital."

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