Against Social Democracy: Mobility Rights for a Globalising World

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Critics of neoliberalism may long for a return to the kinder days of social democracy. But is social democracy as we know it the answer for a global age? Modern social democracies have pursued social justice objectives through the redistribution of risks and resources within a strictly defined territory. Under conditions of neoliberal globalisation, this state based conception of the boundaries of justice exposes the populations of corrupt and bankrupt states, those who cross borders without legal authorisation to escape conflict and destitution, and others with only tenuous or conditional permission to remain in the affluent countries of the Global North, to circumstances of pervasive insecurity. It is possible to support social democratic ideals as a matter of principle, while recognising their limitations in the face of global inequality. In this chapter I argue ‘against social democracy’, not due to a rejection of its egalitarian and redistributive principles but on the basis of its inadequate scope in a globalising world. Of course, this problem of scope is as much a problem of the individual sovereignty of nation-states within which social democratic principles have been embedded, as with social democracy itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime, Justice and Social Democracy
EditorsKerry Carrington, Matthew Ball, Erin O'Brien, Juan Tauri
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781137008695
ISBN (Print)9781349435753
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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