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The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe's Twentieth Century par [Berman, Sheri]
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Longueur : 240 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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Revue de presse

"In this fascinating book, Sheri Berman rewrites the ideological balance sheet of the twentieth century, making a powerful case that history ended with the triumph not of free market liberalism but social democracy. In emphasizing the variety of capitalisms and diverse paths that societies take, she makes us think differently about the past and the future. As countries struggle to find their way in a new age of globalization, Berman's work offers essential insights. It is likely to become a classic in the field."
Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom

"Sheri Berman has written a wonderfully lucid account of the origin of social democratic ideas, which she uses to make a passionate argument for their continued relevance as a way of preserving democracy in the world of globalization."
Harold James, Princeton University

"Sheri Berman's book is a real tour de force, a real land-mark study of ideology, social democracy and European political history. It is an outstanding analysis of the importance of ideas and ideology in politics. Berman argues convincingly that social democracy should neither be understood as a watered down version of Marxism, nor as capitalism with a human face. Instead, Berman shows that social democracy is a distinct political ideology in its own right that should be understood as a political meta-ideology about how to connect everyday social and economic realities with abstract theory in real-world politics. As such, the book is not only an excellent study of the past, but also has important lessons for the present discussion about the possibility of politics in the new globalized economy."
Bo Rothstein, Göteborg University

"Sheri Berman writes with great lucidity, analytic skill, and political sympathy about the undervalued social democrats of Europe. Everyone knows the story of fascist and Stalinist brutality in 20th century Europe; Berman tells another story, less known and often denied, of social democratic solidarity and compassion."
Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

"[A]mbitious and provocative... this is a strong, useful defense of a political ideology and a political movement that have done much good and fought evil with courage and lucidity."
Foreign Affairs

"...The Primacy of Politics is one of the most thought-provoking books on twentieth-century ideologies to appear for many years."
Vernon Bogdanor, Times Literary Supplement

"...this book is an excellent overview of the several strands of political thinking that began with the criticism of Marxist economic determinism and ended with the dominant role of social democracy, especially in the last half of the twentieth century in Europe." -Dietrich Orlow, H-German

Présentation de l'éditeur

Political history in the industrial world has indeed ended, argues this pioneering study, but the winner has been social democracy - an ideology and political movement that has been as influential as it has been misunderstood. Berman looks at the history of social democracy from its origins in the late nineteenth century to today and shows how it beat out competitors such as classical liberalism, orthodox Marxism, and its cousins, Fascism and National Socialism by solving the central challenge of modern politics - reconciling the competing needs of capitalism and democracy. Bursting on to the scene in the interwar years, the social democratic model spread across Europe after the Second World War and formed the basis of the postwar settlement. This is a study of European social democracy that rewrites the intellectual and political history of the modern era while putting contemporary debates about globalization in their proper intellectual and historical context.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1492 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 240 pages
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  • Editeur : Cambridge University Press; Édition : 1 (7 août 2006)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0014CBUPM
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5 14 commentaires
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must for anybody interested in political economy 6 septembre 2006
Par NYCreader - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Berman argues that most of what we think about twentieth century politics is just wrong. Instead of seeing the chief ideological battle as one between democrats and totalitarians, or between capitalists and communists, she argues that the real struggle--or, better put, a crucial yet forgotten struggle--was about how to make capitalism and democracy mutually compatible.

Free markets don't only bring growth, she points out, but also bring instability, social dislocation, and other problems--problems that mass publics demand be solved. Older ideologies like classical liberalism or orthodox Marxism were unwilling to interfere with market operations, and so they got discredited when capitalism generated crises like the Great Depression. This paved the way for a battle between newer, more activist ideologies like fascism and social democracy, which were prepared to intervene in free markets as necessary to protect what they saw as society's interests. When fascism was defeated in WWII, social democracy was left standing as the only healthy and politically viable response to the problems of modern political economy.

Her argument is basically that "we're all social democrats now," even if we don't know it or acknowledge it, because pretty much everybody accepts the idea of combining some form of market-based economy with substantial government intervention to head off problems (the welfare state, countercyclical policies, etc. etc.). Yet only social democracy, she claims, has such an approach at its theoretical core, and so only social democrats really understand what they're doing and have a consistent approach to political economy.

She backs up this argument by tracing the debates over political economy in Europe from the late 19th century onward, showing how the earlier traditions foundered, how fascism and social democracy both emerged from revisionist Marxism, and how social democracy went from being an ideological outlier to being the core of the postwar settlement and contemporary policy. The book covers several countries over nearly a century of tumultuous history, but it's somehow beautifully written and very clear nevertheless.

Guaranteed to give American readers a new perspective on modern political economy, and explain to Europeans how they came to believe what they do. Highly recommended!
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful overview of an important subject. 15 décembre 2011
Par simon matthew - Publié sur
Format: Broché
In the Primacy of Politics, Sheri Berman provides a historical overview of the development of three "third way" political systems in Europe in the early 20th century: Social Democracy, Fascism, and National Socialism (Nazism). She shows that all three systems shared something in common: an emphasis on what she terms "the primacy of politics" and the importance of communitarianism in the face of tumultuous social and economic changes. Each system appealed to all classes of society, and used nationalism to promote unity amongst the public and central economic planning to dull the rough edges of creative destruction. All were remarkably popular, yet only Social Democracy was able to maintain a commitment to human rights and universal suffrage, and avoided the irrationality and barbarity of the Fascist and Nazi regimes. With Europe once again facing troubling times, suffering from the ravages of neoliberalism and an unassimilated immigrant (see Immigrant Nations) population, Berman's suggestion to turn once again to Social Democracy could not be more timely.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant, insightful investigation into the origins of 'embedded capitalism' 31 octobre 2010
Par Shayn Mccallum - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This was one of those books which 'fell out of the sky' at a precise time my own thought was taking a parallel turn. As a result, I personally found this a remarkable confirmation of the validity of certain ideas I was then pursuing.
This is ostensibly a book of history, pursuing the intellectual and social roots of the social-democratic and fascist approaches to 'embedding' capitalism. In this respect, the may be seen as a companion of sorts to the brilliant magnum opus of Karl Polanyi "The Great Transformation". Like Polanyi's exceptional work, upon which, as Sheri Berman clearly acknowledges, "The Primacy of Politics" is firmly based, the work transcends history to present us with valuable insights into our own times. In the current neo-liberal era of "disembedded" markets, against which Polanyi so clearly warned us in the 1940's, politics are disparaged. As Thomas Friedman puts it, we are expected to 'don the golden straightjacket' and trade off politics (i.e. democratic control of the economy) for greater economic 'opportunity'. Like Polanyi before her, who argued that free market capitalism was a dangerous, impractical utopia that could work only on paper but never in practice, Sheri Berman makes an excellent case for the importance of politics, specifically defending the social-democratic tradition.
Although I feel, she is too quick to write off the revisionist socialist position, seeing it as a necessary step towards non-socialist social-democracy, her vision is admirable and her case persuasive. Certainly, her essentially Polanyian analysis of the history of 20th Century capitalism is, I feel, fundamentally sound and her detailed historical review of the evolution of the socialist movement into its socialist, social-democratic and even (in the form of an ideological rupture) fascist branches is both enlightening and, at points, deeply inspiring. A book to be heartily recommended to all students of 20th century history, socialism, social-democracy, the history of fascism, political-economy or political science. Worthy of becoming a classic.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the best books on social democracy 26 octobre 2015
Par doug korty - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
There are not many good readable books on social democracy, most are too academic for many readers. This is a more detailed history than many people will want but it is an excellent book with a very strong argument. I agree with the comments of NYCreader. There is much useful information about the history of social democracy and the other important movements, including national socialism and fascism. One problem with social democracy is that it is often viewed as simply the philosophy of the welfare state, rather than something more inspiring. Sheri Berman tries to correct this and writes with some power about the importance of the values of democracy and communitarianism. She never gives a good description of exactly what communitarianism means but that is available elsewhere. Other good books and information related to social democracy can be found here:
Midwest Independent Research
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Theory of Social Democracy 20 avril 2016
Par Charles Crittenden - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Excellent account of the background for the current social democracy. This is less historical and more theoretical than e.g. The Nordic Model of Social Democracy and a very nice introduction to this realm of ideas
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