[OPE-L] On methodology and Social Democracy

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@YAHOO.ES)
Date: Sun May 06 2007 - 06:05:53 EDT

Dear Jurriaan:

Jurriaan on 04/24/2007: What does it mean if I have a lack of methodological pluralism? I believe there is not one socialism, but many different socialisms.
Methodological pluralism concerns an attitude to the diverse contribution of different methods to social sciences. If you proclaim the superiority of economics in the shape of a theory of socialism, it just means that you are underestimating the contribution of other social scientists.
Besides, presuming that only economists have made valuable contributions to a comprehensive theory of socialism is an overestimation of methodological unity of economics. Many outstanding economists have made multidisciplinary contributions to social sciences, like Thorstein Veblen, Gunnar Myrdal and John Galbraith among others. And many positivist economists (neo-classical mostly) have underrated them not considering their work as pertaining to economics.
Jurriaan on 04/24/2007: Social democracy (mixed economy or state capitalism) was very effective for many decades. However, social democracy caved in to neoliberalism. Why? Among other things, because subsidisation and dirigisme no longer necessarily generate any social solidarity, and because state bureaucracies and regulation are often an inefficient constraint. Social democracy is an ideology of government managers, but if the populace is no longer interested much in governmental politics, then the social democratic party has a representational problem.
Welfare State is not a straight synonym of Social Democracy. In fact, only those Welfare States created in Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and maybe Island) are considered legitimately social-democrat. The kind of Welfare State created in Anglo-Saxons countries on the one hand, and Central and more recently Mediterranean Europe on the other have liberal-conservative roots. Even though liberal-conservatives parties and interests groups in Scandinavia have gain power and influence during the last 20 years, it is doubtful to claim that these countries caved to neoliberalism. This claim is primarily appropriate for the Residual Welfare State of Anglo-Saxons countries.
But, whether the populace is no longer interested in governmental politics, How can we advance toward Socialism? I personally reject the revolutionary way.

Best regards,
Alejandro Agafonow

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