Chapter

The ‘frontiers of social democracy’: public expenditure, redistribution and divisions of social democratic political economy

Stephen Meredith

in Labours Old and New

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780719073229
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701508 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719073229.003.0006
The ‘frontiers of social democracy’: public expenditure, redistribution and divisions of social democratic political economy

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This chapter discusses the social democratic political economy and the effect of Anthony Crosland's original revisionist analysis. The role and ideas of Crosland provided an essential reference point for successive generations of Labour revisionists. Crosland's revisionism represented a detailed theoretical analysis of socialism as equality, and a clear programme around which Labour's social democrats could cohere. Then, it explores the nature, substance and implications of disabling revisionist divisions over core tenets and issues of social democratic political economy in the 1970s. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) crisis provides a useful vignette of the limits of Crosland's egalitarian philosophy. Respective attitudes to public expenditure represented a further critical point of division and fragmentation of Labour Party revisionism and the parliamentary Labour right more broadly in the 1970s. Crosland's essential egalitarianism cajoled him to find alliance with the left in December 1976 to oppose benefit cuts.

Keywords: social democratic political economy; Anthony Crosland; Labour revisionists; socialism; International Monetary Fund; egalitarian philosophy; Labour Party revisionism; parliamentary Labour right; egalitarianism

Chapter.  11865 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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