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A Swedish Road to Socialism: Ernst Wigforss and the Ideological Foundations of Swedish Social Democracy*

  • Timothy A. Tilton (a1)

The reputation of Ernst Wigforss (1881–1977), the foremost ideologist of Swedish Social Democracy, has suffered from the lack of a coherent treatment of his work in English. This article briefly surveys Wigforss' historical contributions to Swedish Social Democracy. Then it examines the structure of Wigforss' thought, analyzing first the conceptions of equality, liberty, democracy, security, economic efficiency, and solidarity that serve for Wigforss as the aims of Social Democracy. Then it considers the reformist measures Wigforss espoused to achieve these aims–social welfare policy, progressive taxation, economic planning, industrial democracy, and socialization of industry. It concludes with an assessment of Wigforss' importance as a Social Democratic theorist and suggests the relevance of his ideas to American politics and social science.

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I want to thank the Swedish Institute, the American Philosophical Society, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and Indiana University for grants which facilitated this research and a host of readers who have helped to improve this essay. Above all my appreciation goes to my friend Lennard Lundquist, whose help has been indispensable to my understanding of Swedish politics.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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