Stefan Sjöberg



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Norstedts
Dr. Stefan Sjöberg

Centre for Marxist Social Studies

Box 12 660

SE-112 93 Stockholm



SWEDEN

stefan.sjoberg@cmsmarx.org



1 During the 1960´s Gleitze´s ideas were elaborated e.g. in the “Buttner-plan” by a working group within DGB, and by important DGB theorists like Wilfried Höhnen and Gerhard Leminsky, as well as in a report from the ministry of labour market in 1968, designed by Wilhelm Krelle. About this discussion see e.g. Jettmar, 1980: 46f; Das Mittbestimmungsgespräch 1972 (2/3); Wredén, 1976, and Eidem & Skog, 1980. Meidner meant himself that Höhnen and Leminsky, and e.g. their articles in Das Mitbestimmungspespräch 1972: 2/3, were the two most important theoretical influences when he elaborated the first WEF proposal. (Mentioned at personal lunch discussion 11/10/2004, see also Meidner, 2005: 49-51)

2 All translations from German to English are done by Carla Krüger, and all translations from Swedish to English by myself.

3 An aspect emphasized by Wilfried Höhnen in an interview I performed in Düsseldorf, 11/05/2005

4 In his famous speech in 1928 the SAP chairman, later to become prime minister, Per-Albin Hansson, declared that social democracy aimed at building a people´s home, where no one was left outside and where there no longer existed division between classes and different parts of the population. By beginning of 1970´s the social democratic secretary of Treasure, Gunnar Sträng, meant that this was achieved.

5 At this time it was argued within Swedish social democracy: first we fought for and achieved political democracy, then we achieved social democracy, now it is time for the third step, economic democracy (See e.g. Hansson, 1984).

6 A recent study from Timbro (Erixon & Hortlund, 2005), the think tank financed by Swedish enterprise, argues that this process would have been much more rapid than the Meidner group estimated.

7 Kollektiv kapitalbildning genom löntagarfonder (1976), Rapport till LO-kongressen, Lund. Published in English as: Meidner, R. (1978) Employee Investment Funds, an Approach to Collective Capital Formation, London: George Allen & Unwin

8 A factor stressed in two recent studies: Ekdahl, 2005 and Meidner, 2005

9 In Erik Olin Wright´s sense of the concept (see e.g. Classes, 1985)

10 An aspect stressed in interviews I have made with Wilfried Höhnen and Gerhard Leminsky, Dusseldorf, May 11th 2005. The arguments for socialisation of key industries functioned as a way to satisfy the most radical parts of the movement. If this aspect, programaticly, was included in the strategy the socialisation argument for the collective funds were disavowed.

11 In an interview in Swedish Radio (”Jobbet” 23-09-1978) Meidner said: ”The system should speak for itself. But one ought to say it is a form of socialism.”

12 A concept elaborated within Eurocommunism in the 1970´s, e.g. by Togliatti in Italian PCI.

13 A concept elaborated in Brie et al 2002. See also Brie & Klein 2004 and Klein 2004

14 The pension fund boards could be democratically elected e.g. by the trade union congresses as in the Meidner model. The union funds would invest the collective capital in companies and different parts of trade and industry. The fund returns could be used for various purposes, decided democratically instead of by big private capital owners in banks, insurance companies and other institutions that control pension funds today. As also in Meidner model fund representatives in company boards could be appointed by trade unions and wage earners in each companies.Union funds may use their responsibility as owners and the power and influence that comes with shareholdership, for instance to prevent closing-down of profitable companies or the moving out of production to low-wage countries. As the funds would be democratically managed the trustees could be directed to responsible investments regarding social and ethical aspects.

15 As an alternative Blackburn launches the argument that the funds could also invest in public bonds. That would of course limit the risks and could significantly contribute to necessary investments in public infrastructure, health, education etc.

16 The neo-classic main theorist Milton Friedman has seen these kinds of aspects quite clear: “I have often speculated that an ingenous way for a socialist to achieve his objective could be to... (1) fully fund obligations under Social Security and (2) invest the accumulated reserves in the capital market by purchising equity interests in domestic corporations... To return to my fantasy, full funding would have long since brought complete socialism.”in Wall Street Journal, 1999, cited in Blackburn 2002



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