NORDIC MODEL OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
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- In the recently held election in Sweden, the Social Democrats returned to power as the single largest party.
- The core issue of the election was around immigration, Several voters have expressed their concerns about rising immigrant violence and control of crime.
The SD has taken a harsh position against immigrants by promising to make it extremely difficult for asylum seekers to enter the country.
- Sweden allowed refugees from Syrian, Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2010s.
- The rise of the Sweden Democrats (SD), a party with origins in the neo-Nazi movement, is seen as a threat to the Nordic Model.
- The Nordic model or “democratic socialism”. Socialism and social democracy are political-economic systems in the Scandinavian countries.
- The term “socialism” is associated with the Communist bloc, which had the ownership of the major means of production, a one-party system, and an ideological basis for rule on behalf of the working class.
- Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, new socialist regimes emerged that distanced themselves from the one-party model, and shifted focus on market economies, while emphasizing redistribution of wealth.
- Ruling parties in Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile, can be termed “democratic socialist” as they seek to achieve socialist goals of redistribution in vastly unequal and elite-driven systems.
- In the Scandinavian countries, the systems are more like typical “social democracies”;
- Their dependence on representative and participatory democratic institutions where separation of powers is ensured.
- A comprehensive social welfare scheme with a focus on publicly provided social services and investment in child care, education and research among others.
- The presence of strong labour market institutions with active labour unions and employer associations allows for effective collective bargaining, wage negotiation, etc.
- The Nordic countries or Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland are among the most high-income countries in the world).
- All the Nordic countries follow a capitalist model of development; encourage entrepreneurism and funding of welfare policies through wage taxation and corporate taxes.
- Education is free in all the Nordic States.
- Health care is free in Denmark and Finland and partially free in Norway.
- In Sweden and Iceland; workers get several benefits — from unemployment insurance to old age pensions, besides effective child care.
- Labour participation rates in these countries are among the highest in the world (even among women).
- These countries have high levels of international trade and participation in globalisation, economic progress, and low levels of inequality and high living standards.
- In the most recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, Norway ranked 2nd, Iceland at 4th, Denmark at 6th, Sweden at 7th and Finland at 11.
- The Nordic countries ranked the highest in various indices on press freedom across the world and in indices measuring gender equality.
- They were placed among the top 20 countries in GDP per capita (PPP, $) according to the World Bank’s recent data.
- One of the important reasons for the successful social democratic model in the Nordic countries has been their relatively smaller and more homogenous populations facilitating focused governance.
- The “corporatist” model of involving interests of both capital and labour, mediated by the government at many levels, has allowed these countries to transition from agrarian to industrial to post-industrial (in some cases) and knowledge/service economies relatively smoothly.
- The Nordic model of social democracy offers lessons to the developing world, including countries like India despite the various complexities of diversities, differential internal development and histories.
- The V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg has released its annual democracy report.
- The title of the report is ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’
- The report classified the countries into 4 categories based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI):
- Liberal Democracy
- Electoral Democracy
- Electoral Autocracy
- Closed Autocracy
- It classifies India as an electoral autocracy ranking it 93rd on the LDI, out of 179 countries.
- India is one of the top ten ‘autocratisers’ in the world.
- One of the main reasons for Autocratisation is “toxic polarization”, a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarization in 2011.
- According to the report, the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.
Key findings of the report
- Sweden topped the LDI index. Denmark, Norway, Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top 5 in liberal democracy rankings.
- Autocratisation is spreading rapidly, with a record of 33 countries autocratising.
- 2021 saw a record 6 coups, resulting in 4 new autocracies: Chad, Guinea, Mali and Myanmar.
- The Number of liberal democracies stood at 42 in 2012, their number has shrunk to its lowest level in over 25 years, with just 34 countries and 13% of the world population living in liberal democracies.
- Closed autocracies, or dictatorships, rose from 25 to 30 between 2020 and 2021.
- The world today has 89 democracies and 90 autocracies.
- Electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type, accounting for 60 countries and 44% of the world population or 3.4 billion people.
- Electoral democracies were the second most common regime, accounting for 55 countries and 16% of the world population.
- The report identified “misinformation” as a key tool deployed by autocratising governments to sharpen polarization and shape domestic and international opinion.
- Repression of civil society and censorship of media were other favoured tools of autocratic regimes.
- The report also found that eroding autonomy of the electoral management body in 25 countries.
- Key findings about India
- With the ranking of 93rd in the LDI, India figures in the “bottom 50%” of countries.
- In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.
- One of the main reasons behind Autocratisation is “toxic polarization”; defined as a phenomenon that erodes respect for counter-arguments.