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Quora Answer : When Marxists criticize capitalism for the social ills of poverty and denying medical care, would it be more accurate to criticize "neoliberalism"? Aren't there countries (such as in the Nordic model) that have capitalism but avoid these social ills?

Aug 20, 2019

When Marx wrote the original criticism of capitalism in Capital, there wasn't a Nordic model. That kind of mixed social democracy was only achieved after workers had won power through a) trade unions, b) getting the vote, c) creating socialist "Labour" parties and winning control of the state.

I think most Marxists accept that the mixed economies of the Nordic model / social democracies are attempts to ameliorate the bad effects of capitalism by balancing them with something that is NOT capitalism.

The main Marxist contention against the Nordic model / social democracies is that they are only a temporary and unsustainable defence against the rapaciousness of capital. The moment capital gets strong enough or finds a way to subvert and destroy the Nordic / social democratic model, it will.

That's what we saw with the rise of neoliberalism in the first place : capital finding ways to overthrow the constraints that social democracy / Nordic models put on it.

Worse, once the "third-way" left accepted the basic neoliberal premise, that only the capitalist "creates value" and that state or social action can only redistribute it, then they never managed to put constraints back on capital.

So, from the perspective of the Marxist, the Nordic or social democratic / mixed economies are a bit like Jurassic Park. It might seem cool and profitable to keep big hungry dinosaurs around - look at all the happy crowds - but sooner or later they ARE going to get out of their cages and eat you.

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