The Relational Nordic Welfare State
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The Relational Nordic Welfare State

Between Utopia and Ideology

Edited by Sakari Hänninen, Kirsi-Marja Lehtelä and Paula Saikkonen

The success of the Nordic welfare state is well known, but the key drivers of its remarkable expansion are not. This book explores the relationships between citizens that constitute the normative groundwork of Nordic societies, arguing that the quality of relations steers welfare development.
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Chapter 4: The Nordic model in ordo-liberal Europe: from welfare parity to social hierarchy?

Paolo Borioni


Paolo Borioni focuses on the relational quality of equality. Equality is interpreted as an outcome of collective political action. Borioni also introduces parity as the ‘primacy of politics’ bringing together various agents. The focus is on the analysis of the significance of the parity between labour and capital and the parity between export-led competitiveness and wage-led domestic growth. These parities have helped to make it possible to construct a ‘virtuous circle’ between efficiency, solidarity, security and equality in the Nordic countries. In the present circumstances of ordo-liberal influence, it is evident that equality is not a permanent quality but can be reversible. The chapter more closely examines how far and deep ordo-liberal regulation has penetrated Denmark and Sweden. Finally, the chapter outlines what kind of pressures and challenges the change from parity to hierarchy, from equality to inequality, and from rights to obligations has posed for the Nordic welfare state.

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