Foreign Policy Magazine

AFTER CAPITALISM

1 IT SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISING THAT, IN 2020, we’re still talking about socialism. After all, in much of the world, just 40 years ago if someone had a political identification, it was probably as a socialist of one kind or another. Maybe they were third-world nationalists looking for a pathway to development for their long-oppressed homelands. Or defenders of the Leonid Brezhnev-era “actually existing socialism” of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Or maybe they were social democrats—no longer seeking a socialism after capitalism but committed to creating a Nordic-style “functional socialism” within it.

The past three decades haven’t been kind to any of these socialisms. State socialism suddenly collapsed; Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to renovate the system only undermined the coercion that held it together. The fate of social democracy in Europe wasn’t so dramatic: It ground to a halt rather than imploding. Postwar social democracy had relied on economic expansion—a

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