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I'm aware that 'if not' can be used to mean 'perhaps even' as in 'million if not billions of people...' I was wondering if the use of 'if...not...' was something along those lines in the below?

People who believe this readily accept that 'socialism' in a mild social democratic version, remains, and will long continue to be, part of the political scene of capitalist societies, and that it may even become, if it is not already, a stronger current of thought than laissez-faire capitalism.

So what I initially read was: Social democracy seems rampant enough at the moment & it is already kind of a stronger current of thought & if there are any uncertainties about this claim, there won't be in the future.

Or does it mean: Even though social democracy is not really a stronger current of thought nowadays...it will certainly become so in the future??

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This is a pretty complex sentence in my opinion. Yes, "if not" can mean "perhaps even". But "if not" is a logical truth condition, I don't believe it can always be replaced with "perhaps even". The section of text you've made bold:

"it may even become, if it is not already, a stronger current of thought"

Simply means "if it has not already become stronger, then it may become stronger."

I don't think you can replace it with "perhaps has already", though maybe in parentheses.

"it may even become (perhaps has already) a stronger current of thought"

Maybe.

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