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Whatever you call them, the US Democrats are essentially social democrats. The parties are different, of course, but similar sociological processes can be seen. The transformation of the industrial proletariat into a shrinking minority that moved right in practice everywhere in the OECD in the 1970s, the creation of huge white collar working class segment (by working class, I mean of course a class that relies on wage income, not investment income) that tends to vote more right wing, the concentration of industry, the growth of finance, the increasing role of racial/immigrant politics, ... JK Galbraith had some interesting remarks towards the end of his life about how the success of essentially social democratic economic policies generates voting blocks hostile to social democratic policies.

In many ways, the proximate causes of the current economic malaise in EU and the US are the same and these are driving politics. Blair was a Clintonist neoliberal (in the American sense) when he came into office, but it seems to me that Bush enabled him to become entirely a creature of finance. One of the things the right seems to understand that the left does not is that power is cumulative. If Gore had taken power in 2000, Blair would have been confronting a US industrial policy, not enmeshing himself in US imperial adventures and the US would have been pushing back against the wild speculative activities of EU banks in the USA. So even small steps to the left or right in one nation will affect others.

by rootless2 on Sun Nov 20th, 2011 at 04:06:38 PM EST
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