Socialism has to work with capitalism – if we want to keep both democracy and the states’ redistributive goods and services. The name for that work is social democracy.
Straight socialism is deeply unpopular and isn’t coming back in our lifetimes.
Our current coalition government is a classic social democrat government. It’s not going to nationalise anything.
The revolution will not start, let alone be televised:
It’s going to spend on social and infrastructure goods and services like we haven’t seen in quite a while. It’s even going to hold itself to account to lowering child poverty. It’s the state working within capitalism, softening and directing it, and being more assertive about it. Labour movements stronger than ours are not in power much anywhere. Though hope springs eternal.
Socialist redistributive power and a strong active state do well for people when they work together. Here’s why.
Governments around the world are increasing their redistributive efforts.
This redistributive capacity has led to a decline in poverty right across the world.
In the U.S., homelessness has continued to fall from both G.W. Bush and Obama programmes.
And when governments spend a lot on social services in particular education, the GINI coefficient really starts to fall.
China is going to have to figure out this relationship between state redistributive effects and its own transformation from an export-led economy to a more consumption-led one.
I’m sure there are lots of theoretical alternatives, but the one we have in operation here now stands in stark contrast to National, and also stands our Labour-led government in great global company.
With socialist governments in rapid decline right across the world, and just a very few social democrat governments re-emerging after many years out of power, it’s useful to remind ourselves of what governmental combinations are working well. They are social democrat governments.