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Daily News Analysis

NORDIC MODEL OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

20th September, 2022 Polity and Governance

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In News

  • 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.

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.

 

 

Related News

  • 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.

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