The high point of social democracy’s attempt to civilise capitalism came with the post-World War II social settlement of full employment and the welfare state.
For all that it was able to achieve in social policy, union growth and rising incomes during the 1950s and 1960s, it was all over in the mid-1970s.
This has resulted in increasing inequality, increased unemployment and underemploymen, and a return to the economic crises that had plaugued the world economy prior to the Keynesian redistributive economics that underpinned the welfare state.
This book charts the history of the doctrine from the birth of socialist thought in the 19th century. It examines the political forces opposed to it on the left and on the right, its victory and the ‘golden years’ that followed. It then examines its surrender to neoliberal theocracy before suggesting what might constitute an anti-capitalist politics for the 21st century.