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Safeguarding Democratic CapitalismU.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015$
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Melvyn P Leffler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196510

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196510.001.0001

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Victory

Victory

The “State,” The “West,” and the Cold War

Chapter:
(p.221) 7 Victory
Source:
Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism
Author(s):

Melvyn P. Leffler

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196510.003.0008

This chapter argues that the West “won” the Cold War because statesmen made systems of democratic capitalism and social democracy work effectively. The challenge for democratic leaders throughout the world was to thwart the appeal of communism and co-opt revolutionary nationalist movements. To do so, they had to reinvent the role of government—not to supplant markets, but to make markets work more effectively and equitably. They avoided intracapitalist conflict, won the support of their own peoples, and created a culture of consumption that engendered the envy of peoples everywhere. In this contest over rival systems of political economy, the role of government was not the problem; it was part of the solution. But it had to be calibrated carefully.

Keywords:   Cold War, democratic capitalism, social democracy, government, markets, consumption, political economy

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