Book

09/10/2014

‘Progressive Politics after the Crash: Governing from the Left’ is edited by Olaf Cramme, Patrick Diamond and Michael McTernan and produced in collaboration with Policy Network

Those who hoped the collapse of financial markets would usher in the end of neoliberalism and rehabilitate support for traditional social democratic policy programmes have been disappointed. It is not only the irrationality of markets which is the focus of public discontent, but the inefficiency of states and the inability of elected governments to humanise and control global market capitalism.

Despite recent successes, social democratic parties in the EU have become locked in a cycle of electoral under-performance. The crisis remedies of the Right appear more simple and direct in their diagnosis, casting the state as restrictive, wasteful and inefficient. Abstract theoretical debates on the Left about a ‘paradigm shift’ in Western capitalism in the aftermath of the crisis have had little traction.

In the aftermath of the 2008 crash this book addresses a deceptively simple question: what is to be done? The authors make the case for a new, post-crisis settlement harnessing the dynamic traditions of social liberalism and social democracy as the foundation for progressive reforms geared towards alleviating the crisis’ aftershocks and addressing the deep-seated structural challenges afflicting western capitalist democracies.

An extract from David Miliband’s foreword has been published in advance by The New Statesman.

Contributors include: Tony Atkinson, Sheri Berman, Wendy Carlin, Olaf Cramme, Colin Crouch, Patrick Diamond, Jeffry Frieden, Andrew Gamble, Alfred Gusenbauer, Peter Hall, Jacob Hacker, Anton Hemerijck, Jane Jenson, Lane Kenworthy, Will Marshall, Wolfgang Merkel, David Miliband, Michael McTernan, Pippa Norris, Bruno Palier, Onawa Promise Lacewell, Ania Skrzypek, Ernst Stetter, Loukas Tsoukalis.

Testimonials

‘This volume of essays addresses a pressing need in modern politics: for the centre-left to engage in a serious way in the battle of ideas about the future of policy and politics in western industrialised democracies. Away from the tactical battles that dominate day-today politics, and separate from the topical but essentially short-term debate about the need for Keynesian counter-cyclical fiscal policy at a time of balance-sheet recession, the authors gathered here focus on some of the big structural questions that face social democrats in the second decade of the twenty-first century. We need more books like this one.’
David Miliband, former UK Foreign Secretary and Labour MP
 
‘Instead of making sweeping generalisations and putting together unrealisable manifestos, the cast of contributors deliberately concentrate on providing cutting-edge, evidence-based analysis and workable solutions – on hard choices rather than hot air. Social democrats everywhere can draw both ammunition and even a measure of confidence from every single page. Highly recommended.
– Tim Bale, Chair in Politics, Queen Mary, University of London

‘Progressive Politics after the Crash is a major contribution to ongoing debates about the future of the left. The onset of the “great recession” in 2008 seemed, for a moment, to promise a revival in the fortunes of the centre-left, but it has not yet happened. The argument made here is that the fortunes of parties of the centre-left will not improve until parties and thinkers on the left develop a model of governance premised on a deeper understanding of the nature of contemporary global capitalism, and of the constraints it places on the state and state finances and on traditional, social-democratic policies for growth and redistribution. Progressive politics on this reading requires not so much a new rhetoric or vision but rather novel approaches to creating a fair society – “social investment”, for example, and measures aimed at “predistribution” – as well as persistent efforts to create or recreate the institutional basis for centre-left politics. These finely crafted chapters will be essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of progressive politics.’
– James Cronin, Professor of History, Boston College and affiliate of the Center for European Studies, Harvard University

‘The Great Financial Crisis has raised major policy challenges for all advanced democracies. Yet, very few policy thinktanks have addressed these questions comprehensively and even fewer take the perspective of the centre-left. Progressive Politics after the Crash is a concise and highly readable collection of chapters that includes some of the world’s most stimulating and reflective academics. It is a very valuable contribution to a new centre-left agenda of establishing a political economy in the western world based on the reconciliation of economic development, equal access to assets and human capital, and redistribution.’
– Anke Hassel, Professor of Public Policy, Hertie School of Governance
, Berlin

‘If it is to win the battle of ideas, the centre-left urgently needs a new reform agenda. The essays in this book, drawing on the twin traditions of social liberalism and social democracy, begin to show the way forward.’
– Andrés Velasco, Edward Larocque Tinker Visiting Professor at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and former finance minister of Chile

Progressive Politics after the Crash is published by I.B. Tauris and can be purchased here.

The book was launched in Brussels by Policy together with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) on 16 September.

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