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The Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, where social democratic politics have been hegemonic since the 1930s, are often presented as an egalitarian utopia, attributed to either their enlightened political beliefs or cultural uniqueness. This picture is woefully simplistic, but the Nordic countries can boast low poverty, low inequality, a generous welfare state, and greater gender equality than almost anywhere in the world. These are the achievements of generations of socialists and labor militants, and have endured even after a significant neoliberal shift beginning in the 1980s. What do the successes and failures of Nordic social democracy (both as a movement and in government) tell us about socialist strategy and economic policy in liberal democracies? And conversely, how much of the success of social democracy can be explained by specifically Nordic conditions? Join Philly DSA night school as we look back on one of history’s longest experiments of the left in government.
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