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Social democracy is a
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stu ...
,
social Social organisms, including human(s), live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary or not. Etymology The word "social" derives from ...
, and
economic philosophy An economic ideology is a set of views forming the basis of an ideology on how the economy should run. It differentiates itself from economic theory in being Normative economics, normative rather than just explanatory in its approach, whereas the ...
within
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
that supports
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that stu ...
and
economic democracy Economic democracy is a Socioeconomics, socioeconomic philosophy that proposes to shift decision-making power from Management, corporate managers and Shareholder, corporate shareholders to a larger group of stakeholder theory, public stakehold ...
. As a policy regime, it is described by academics as advocating
economic An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with ...
and social interventions to promote
social justice Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, Equal opportunity, opportunities, and Social privilege, privileges within a society. In Western Civilization, Western and Culture of Asia, Asian cultures, the concept of social ...
within the framework of a
liberal-democratic Liberal democracy is the combination of a liberalism, liberal political ideology that operates under an representative democracy, indirect democratic form of government. It is characterized by elections between Pluralism (political philosophy), ...
polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize ...
and a
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for Profit (economics), profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, pric ...
-oriented
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and
participatory democracy Participatory democracy, participant democracy or participative democracy is a form of government in which Citizenship, citizens participate individually and directly in political decisions and policies that affect their lives, rather than through ...
, measures for
income redistribution Redistribution of income and wealth is the transfer of income and wealth (including physical property) from some individuals to others through a social mechanism such as taxation, welfare, public services, land reform, monetary policies, confisc ...
, regulation of the economy in the general interest, and
social welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refer specifical ...
provisions. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the
post-war consensus The post-war consensus, sometimes called the post-war compromise, was the Economic system, economic order and social model of which the major political parties in Postwar Britain (1945–1979), post-war Britain shared a consensus supporting vie ...
and their influence on socioeconomic policy in Northern and Western Europe, social democracy became associated with
Keynesianism Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
, the
Nordic model The Nordic model comprises the Economic policy, economic and social policies as well as typical cultural practices common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). This includes a comprehensive welfare state and ...
, the
social-liberal Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo, nl, Sociaalliberalisme), also known as new liberalism in the United Kingdom, modern liberalism, or simply liberalism in the contemporary United States, left-liberalism ...
paradigm, and
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
s within political circles in the late 20th century. It has been described as the most common form of Western or modern socialism, as well as the reformist wing of
democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
. The
history of social democracy Social democracy originated as an ideology within the Labour movement, labour whose goals have been a social revolution to move away from purely Laissez-faire#Capitalism, laissez-faire capitalism to a Social market economy, social capitalism mo ...
stretches back to the 19th-century
labour movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement ( American English) on the one hand, and the political labour movement on the other. * The trade union movemen ...
. It is a
left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
political ideology that advocates for a peaceful democratic
evolution Evolution is change in the heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expression, expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to ...
from laissez-faire or
crony capitalism Crony capitalism, sometimes called cronyism, is an economy, economic system in which Business, businesses thrive not as a result of free enterprise, but rather as a return on Capital (economics), money amassed through collusion between a busines ...
towards social capitalism sometimes also referred to as a
social market economy The social market economy (SOME; german: soziale Marktwirtschaft), also called Rhine capitalism, Rhine-Alpine capitalism, the Rhenish model, and social capitalism, is a socioeconomic model combining a free-market capitalist economic system alo ...
. Social democracy opposes the full centralization of an economy as proposed by
socialists Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
, like democratic socialists, which are sometimes mislabeled as social democrats. The main difference between social democracy and
democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
is that democratic socialism is a
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include politics ...
within
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
, advocating an
evolutionary Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproductio ...
and peaceful transition from
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
to
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
, using established political processes, as opposed to the
revolutionary socialist Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the rel ...
approach to transition associated with
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better kno ...
. On the other hand, social democracy seeks to improve the lives of people living within a
free Free may refer to: Concept * Freedom, having the ability to do something, without having to obey anyone/anything * Freethought, a position that beliefs should be formed only on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism * Emancipate, to procure ...
and democratic society, by having a well regulated
market economy A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, Production (economics), production and Distribution (economics), distribution to the consumers are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply ...
. In the early
post-war In Western world, Western usage, the phrase post-war era (or postwar era) usually refers to the time since the end of World War II. More broadly, a post-war period (or postwar period) is the interval immediately following the end of a war. A po ...
era in Western Europe, social democratic parties rejected the
Stalinist Stalinism is the means of governing and Marxism-Leninism, Marxist-Leninist policies implemented in the Soviet Union from History of the Soviet Union (1927–1953), 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. It included the creation of a One-party state ...
political and economic model then-current in the Soviet Union, committing themselves either to an alternative path to socialism or a compromise between capitalism and socialism. In this period, social democrats embraced a mixed economy based on the predominance of
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property and personal property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective ...
, with only a minority of essential utilities and public services under public ownership. Social democrats promoted
Keynesian economics Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
, state interventionism, and the welfare state while placing less emphasis on the goal of replacing the capitalist system (
factor market In economics, a factor market is a market where factors of production are bought and sold. Factor markets allocate factors of production, including land, labour and capital, and distribute income to the owners of productive resources, such as wage ...
s,
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property and personal property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective ...
, and
wage labour Wage labour (also wage labor in American English), usually referred to as paid work, paid employment, or paid labour, refers to the socioeconomics, socioeconomic relationship between a workforce, worker and an employment, employer in which the w ...
) with a qualitatively different socialist
economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. It includes the combinati ...
. Along with
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
, social democracy became the dominant political tendency within the international socialist movement by the early 1920s.: "Chapter 1 looks at the foundations of the doctrine by examining the contribution made by various traditions of socialism in the period between the early 19th century and the aftermath of the First World War. The two forms that emerged as dominant by the early 1920s were social democracy and communism." While retaining socialism as a long-term goal, social democracy is distinguished from some modern forms of democratic socialism for seeking to humanize capitalism and create the conditions for it to lead to greater democratic,
egalitarian Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hum ...
, and solidaristic outcomes. It is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating
oppression Oppression is malicious or unjust treatment or exercise of power, often under the guise of governmental authority or cultural opprobrium. Oppression may be overt or covert, depending on how it is practiced. Oppression refers to discrimination ...
of underprivileged groups, and eradicating
poverty Poverty is the state of having few material possessions or little income. Poverty can have diverse social, economic, and political causes and effects. When evaluating poverty in ...
, as well as support for universally accessible public services like
child care Child care, otherwise known as day care, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose ages range from two weeks of age to 18 years. Although most parents spend a significant amount of time caring for their child(r ...
,
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
,
elderly care Elderly care, or simply eldercare (also known in parts of the English-speaking world Speakers of English language, English are also known as Anglophones, and the countries where English is natively spoken by the majority of the population are ...
,
health care Health care or healthcare is the improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, amelioration or cure A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication, a surgery, surgical operation, ...
, and
workers' compensation Workers' compensation or workers' comp is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her emp ...
. It has strong connections with the
labour movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement ( American English) on the one hand, and the political labour movement on the other. * The trade union movemen ...
and
trade unions A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and Employee ben ...
, being supportive of
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees aimed at agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights for workers. The i ...
rights for workers and measures to extend decision-making beyond politics into the economic sphere in the form of
co-determination In corporate governance, codetermination (also "copartnership" or "worker participation") is a practice where workers of an enterprise have the right to vote for representatives on the board of directors A board of directors (commonly referre ...
, or
social ownership Social ownership is the appropriation of the surplus product, produced by the means of production, or the wealth that comes from it, to society as a whole. It is the defining characteristic of a socialist economic system. It can take the for ...
, for employees and stakeholders. The
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
, which ostensibly aims to fuse
liberal economics Economic liberalism is a List of political ideologies, political and economic ideology that supports a market economy based on individualism and private property in the means of production. Adam Smith is considered one of the primary initial wr ...
with social democratic
welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet Basic needs, basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refe ...
policies, is an ideology that developed in the 1990s and is sometimes associated with social democratic parties; some analysts have characterized the Third Way as part of the
neoliberal Neoliberalism (also neo-liberalism) is a term used to signify the late 20th century political reappearance of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market capitalism after it fell into decline following the Second World War. A prominent fa ...
movement.


Overview


Definition

Social democracy is defined as one of many socialist traditions. As a
political movement A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo, and are often associated with a certain ideology. So ...
, it aims to achieve socialism through
gradual The gradual ( la, graduale or ) is a chant or hymn in the Mass in the Catholic Church, Mass, the liturgy, liturgical celebration of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, and among some other Christians. It gets its name from the Latin (meanin ...
and democratic means. This definition goes back to the influence of both the
reformist socialism Reformism is a political doctrine advocating the reform of an existing system or institution instead of its abolition and replacement. Within the socialist movement, reformism is the view that gradual changes through existing institutions can eve ...
of
Ferdinand Lassalle Ferdinand Lassalle (; 11 April 1825 – 31 August 1864) was a Prussian-German Confederation, German jurist, philosopher, Socialism, socialist and political activist best remembered as the initiator of the social democracy, social democratic move ...
and the internationalist
revolutionary socialism Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy, doctrine, and tradition within socialism that stresses the idea that a social revolution is necessary to bring about structural changes in society. More specifically, it is the view that revoluti ...
advanced by
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, Critique of political economy, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His be ...
and
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
ideology An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones." Formerly applied pr ...
, social democracy has undergone various major forms throughout its history. Whereas in the 19th century, it was "organized Marxism", social democracy became "organized reformism" by the 20th century. As a policy regime, social democracy entails support for a
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
and ameliorative measures to benefit the
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
within the framework of
democratic capitalism Democratic capitalism, also referred to as market democracy, is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as ...
. By the 21st century, a social democratic policy regime is generally defined as an increase in
welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet Basic needs, basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refe ...
policies or an increase in
public service A public service is any service intended to address specific needs pertaining to the aggregate members of a community. Public services are available to people within a government A government is the system or group of people gover ...
s and may be used synonymously with the
Nordic model The Nordic model comprises the Economic policy, economic and social policies as well as typical cultural practices common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). This includes a comprehensive welfare state and ...
. In political science, ''democratic socialism'' and ''social democracy'' are largely seen as synonyms, while they are distinguished in journalistic use. Under this democratic socialist definition, social democracy is an ideology seeking to gradually build an alternative socialist economy through the institutions of
liberal democracy Liberal democracy is the combination of a liberalism, liberal political ideology that operates under an representative democracy, indirect democratic form of government. It is characterized by elections between Pluralism (political philosophy), ...
. Starting in the post-war period, social democracy was defined as a policy regime advocating the reformation of capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of
social justice Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, Equal opportunity, opportunities, and Social privilege, privileges within a society. In Western Civilization, Western and Culture of Asia, Asian cultures, the concept of social ...
. In the 19th century, it encompassed various non-revolutionary and revolutionary currents of socialism, excluding
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy and movement that is skeptical of all justifications for authority and seeks to abolish the institutions it claims maintain unnecessary coercion and hierarchy, typically including, though not necess ...
. In the early 20th century, social democracy came to refer to support for a process of developing society through existing political structures and opposition to revolutionary means, which are often associated with Marxism.


Political party

''Social Democratic'' is the name of socialist parties in several countries. The term came to be associated with the positions of the German and Swedish parties. The first advocated revisionist Marxism, while the second advocated a comprehensive
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
. By the 21st century, parties advocating social democracy include Labour, Left, and some Green parties. Most social democratic parties consider themselves democratic socialists and are categorized as socialists. They continue to reference socialism, either as a
post-capitalist Post-capitalism is a state in which the economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within a s ...
order or, in more ethical terms, as a just society, described as representing democratic socialism, without any explicit reference to the economic system or its structure. Parties such as the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany. Sask ...
and the
Swedish Social Democratic Party The Swedish Social Democratic Party, formally the Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party ( sv, Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti ; S/SAP), usually referred to as The Social Democrats ( sv, link=no, Socialdemokraterna ), is a social-de ...
describe their goal as developing democratic socialism, with social democracy as the principle of action. In the 21st century, European social democratic parties represent the
centre-left Centre-left politics lean to the Left-wing politics, left on the left–right political spectrum but are closer to the Centrism, centre than other left-wing politics. Those on the centre-left believe in working within the established systems to ...
and most are part of the European Socialist Party, while democratic socialist parties are to their left within the
Party of the European Left The Party of the European Left (PEL), commonly abbreviated European Left, is a European political party that operates as an association of Democratic socialism, democratic socialist and Communism, communist political parties in the European Unio ...
. Many of those social democratic parties are members of the
Socialist International The Socialist International (SI) is a political international or worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of Socialism, socialist and Labour movement, labour-oriented political ...
, including several democratic socialist parties, whose Frankfurt Declaration declares the goal of developing democratic socialism. Others are also part of the
Progressive Alliance The Progressive Alliance (PA) is a political international of Social democracy, social democratic and Progressivism, progressive political parties and organisations founded on 22 May 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The alliance was formed as an al ...
, founded in 2013 by most contemporary or former member parties of the Socialist International. What
socialists Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
such as
anarchists Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is skeptical of all justifications for authority and seeks to abolish the institutions it claims maintain unnecessary coercion and Social hierarchy, hierarchy, typi ...
,
communists Communism (from Latin la, communis, lit=common, universal, label=none) is a Far-left politics, far-left Political sociology, sociopolitical, Political philosophy, philosophical, and Economic ideology, economic ideology and current within th ...
, social democrats, syndicalists, and some social democratic proponents of the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
share in common is history, specifically that they can all be traced back to the individuals, groups, and literature of the
First International The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was an international organization, international organisation which aimed at uniting a variety of different Left-wing politics, left-wing So ...
, and have retained some of the terminology and symbolism such as the colour
red Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength of approximately 625–740 nanometre 330px, Different lengths as in respect to the molecula ...
. How far society should intervene and whether the government, mainly the existing government, is the right vehicle for change are issues of disagreement. As the ''Historical Dictionary of Socialism'' summarizes, "there were general criticisms about the social effects of the private ownership and control of capital", "a general view that the solution to these problems lay in some form of collective control (with the degree of control varying among the proponents of socialism) over the means of production, distribution, and exchange", and "there was agreement that the outcomes of this collective control should be a society that provided social equality and justice, economic protection, and generally a more satisfying life for most people". ''Socialism'' became a catch-all term for the
critics of capitalism Criticism of capitalism ranges from expressing disagreement with the principles of capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central ...
and industrial society. Social democrats are anticapitalists insofar as criticism about "poverty, low wages, unemployment, economic and social inequality, and a lack of economic security" is linked to the
private ownership Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the prope ...
of the
means of production The means of production is a term which describes land, Work (human activity), labor and capital (economics), capital that can be used to produce products (such as goods or Service (economics), services); however, the term can also refer to anyth ...
.


Terminology

In the 19th century, ''social democrat'' was a broad catch-all for international socialists owing their primary ideological allegiance to Lassalle or Marx, in contrast to those advocating various forms of
utopian socialism Utopian socialism is the term often used to describe the first current of modern socialism and socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Étienne Cabet, and Robert Owen. Utopian socialism is often des ...
. In one of the first scholarly works on European socialism written for an American audience, Richard T. Ely's 1883 book ''French and German Socialism in Modern Times'', social democrats were characterized as "the extreme wing of the socialists" who were "inclined to lay so much stress on equality of enjoyment, regardless of the value of one's labor, that they might, perhaps, more properly be called communists". Many parties in this era described themselves as ''Social Democrats'', including the General German Workers' Association and the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany, which merged to form the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany. Sask ...
, the
Social Democratic Federation The Social Democratic Federation (SDF) was established as Britain's first organised socialist political party by H. M. Hyndman, and had its first meeting on 7 June 1881. Those joining the SDF included William Morris William Morris (24 ...
in Britain, and the
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP; in , ''Rossiyskaya sotsial-demokraticheskaya rabochaya partiya (RSDRP)''), also known as the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or the Russian Social Democratic Party, was a Socialism , s ...
. ''Social Democrat'' continued to be used in this context until the
Bolshevik Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countri ...
of October 1917, when ''Communist'' came into vogue for individuals and organizations espousing a revolutionary road to socialism. ''Social democracy'' or ''social democratic'' remains controversial among socialists. Some define it as representing a
Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
faction and non-communist socialists or the ''right-wing'' of socialism during the split with
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
. Others have noted its pejorative use among communists and other socialists. According to
Lyman Tower Sargent Lyman Tower Sargent (born 9 February 1940) is an American academic, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Sargent's main academic interests are in utopian studies, political theory, American studies and bi ...
, "''socialism'' refers to ''social'' theories rather than to theories oriented to the individual. Because many communists now call themselves ''democratic socialists'', it is sometimes difficult to know what a political label really means. As a result, ''social democratic'' has become a common new label for democratic socialist political parties."


Marxist revisionism

Marxist revisionist
Eduard Bernstein Eduard Bernstein (; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German Social democracy, social democratic Marxist theorist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Bernstein had held close association to Karl ...
's views influenced and laid the groundwork for developing post-war social democracy as a policy regime, Labour revisionism, and the neo-revisionism of the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
. This definition of social democracy is focused on ethical terms, with the
type of socialism Types of socialism include a range of economic An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, di ...
advocated being
ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, alo ...
and liberal. Bernstein described socialism and social democracy in particular as "organized liberalism"; in this sense,
liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on the Individual rights, rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law."political rationalism, hostilit ...
is the predecessor and precursor of socialism, whose restricted view of
freedom Freedom is understood as either having the ability to act or change without constraint or to possess the power and resources to fulfill one's purposes unhindered. Freedom is often associated with liberty and autonomy in the sense of "giving one ...
is to be socialized, while democracy must entail social democracy. For those social democrats, who still describe and see themselves as socialists, ''socialism'' is used in ethical or moral terms, representing democracy, egalitarianism, and social justice rather than a specifically socialist economic system. Under this type of definition, social democracy's goal is that of advancing those values within a capitalist
market economy A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, Production (economics), production and Distribution (economics), distribution to the consumers are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply ...
, as its support for a mixed economy no longer denotes the coexistence between
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" is a song by British singer Dusty Springfield, released as a single on 20 November 1989. It was Springfield's third single in a row to be a chart success, after an absence of ...
and
public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
or that between
planning Planning is the process of thinking regarding the activities required to achieve a desired goal. Planning is based on foresight, the fundamental capacity for mental time travel. The evolution of forethought, the capacity to think ahead, is consi ...
and market mechanisms but rather, it represents
free market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the b ...
s combined with
government intervention Economic interventionism, sometimes also called state interventionism, is an Economic policy, economic policy position favouring government intervention in the Market (economics), market process with the intention of correcting market failures a ...
and
regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For ...
. Social democracy has been seen as a revision of
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better kno ...
, although this has been described as misleading for modern social democracy. Some distinguish between ideological social democracy as part of the broad socialist movement and social democracy as a policy regime. The first is called ''classical social democracy'' or ''classical socialism'', contrasted with ''competitive socialism'', ''liberal socialism'', ''neo-social democracy'', and ''new social democracy''.


Philosophy

As a form of reformist
democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
, social democracy rejects the either/or interpretation of capitalism versus socialism. It claims that fostering a progressive evolution of capitalism will gradually result in the evolution of a capitalist economy into a socialist economy. All citizens should be legally entitled to certain social rights: universal access to public services such as education, health care, workers' compensation, and other services, including child care and care for the elderly. Social democrats advocate freedom from discrimination based on differences in ability/disability, age, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, and social class. Later in their life,
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, Critique of political economy, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His be ...
and
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
social revolution Social revolutions are sudden changes in the Social structure, structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed society, economy, culture, philosophy, and technology along with but more than just ...
. In developing social democracy,
Eduard Bernstein Eduard Bernstein (; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German Social democracy, social democratic Marxist theorist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Bernstein had held close association to Karl ...
rejected
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better kno ...
's revolutionary and materialist foundations. Rather than
class conflict Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socioeconomics, socio-economic competition among the social classes or between Affluence, ...
and
socialist revolution Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the rel ...
, Bernstein's Marxist revisionism reflected that socialism could be achieved through cooperation between people regardless of class. Nonetheless, Bernstein paid deference to Marx, describing him as the father of social democracy but declaring that it was necessary to revise Marx's thought in light of changing conditions. Influenced by the gradualist platform favoured by the Fabian movement in Britain, Bernstein advocated a similar evolutionary approach to socialist politics that he termed ''evolutionary socialism''. Evolutionary means include
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a types of democracy, type of democracy where elected people Representation (politics), represent a group of people, in contrast to direct democracy. Nearly all modern liberal democr ...
and cooperation between people regardless of class. Bernstein accepted the Marxist analysis that the creation of socialism is interconnected with the evolution of capitalism.
August Bebel Ferdinand August Bebel (22 February 1840 – 13 August 1913) was a German socialist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869, which in 1875 mer ...
, Bernstein, Engels, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Marx, and Carl Wilhelm Tölcke are all considered founders of social democracy in Germany. However, Bernstein and Lassalle, along with labourists and reformists such as
Louis Blanc Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc (; ; 29 October 1811 – 6 December 1882) was a French politician and historian. A Socialism, socialist who favored reforms, he called for the creation of cooperatives in order to job guarantee, guarantee employment ...
in France, led to the widespread association of social democracy with socialist reformism. While Lassalle was a reformist
state socialist State socialism is a Political ideology, political and economic ideology within the socialist movement that advocates state ownership of the means of production. This is intended either as a temporary measure, or as a characteristic of socialism ...
, Bernstein predicted a long-term coexistence of democracy with a
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
during the reforming of capitalism into socialism and argued that socialists needed to accept this. This mixed economy would involve
public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociology, sociological concept of the ''Öf ...
,
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomy, autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratical ...
, and
private enterprise A privately held company (or simply a private company) is a company whose shares and related rights or obligations are not offered for public subscription or publicly negotiated in the respective listed markets, but rather the company's stock is ...
s, and it would be necessary for an extended period before private enterprises evolve of their own accord into cooperative enterprises. Bernstein supported state ownership only for certain parts of the economy that the state could best manage and rejected a mass scale of state ownership as being too burdensome to be manageable. Bernstein was an advocate of Kantian socialism and
neo-Kantianism In late modern continental philosophy Continental philosophy is a term used to describe some philosophers and philosophical traditions that do not fall under the umbrella of analytic philosophy. However, there is no academic consensus on the ...
. Although unpopular early on, his views became mainstream after World War I. In '' The Future of Socialism'' (1956),
Anthony Crosland Charles Anthony Raven Crosland (29 August 191819 February 1977) was a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician and author. A social democrat on the right wing of the Labour Party, he was a prominent socialist intellectual. His influ ...
argued that "traditional capitalism has been reformed and modified almost out of existence, and it is with a quite different form of society that socialists must now concern themselves. Pre-war anti-capitalism will give us very little help", for a new kind of capitalism required a new kind of socialism. Crosland believed that these features of reformed managerial capitalism were irreversible, but it has been argued within the Labour Party and by others that
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
and
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician, actor, and union leader who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He also served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 ...
brought about its reversal in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the post-war consensus represented a period where social democracy was "most buoyant", it has been argued that "post-war social democracy had been altogether too confident in its analysis" because "gains which were thought to be permanent turned out to be conditional and as the reservoir of capitalist growth showed signs of drying up". In ''Socialism Now'' (1974), Crosland argued that " ch more should have been achieved by a Labour Government in office and Labour pressure in opposition. Against the dogged resistance to change, we should have pitted a stronger will to change. I conclude that a move to the Left is needed". In ''Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared'', Vít Hloušek and Lubomír Kopecek explain how socialist parties have evolved from the 19th to the early 21st centuries. As the number of people in traditional working-class occupations such as factory workers and miners declined, socialists have successfully widened their appeal to the middle class by diluting their ideology; however, there is still continuity between parties such as the SPD, the Labour Party in Britain, and other socialist parties which remain part of the same ''famille spirituelle'', or ideological party family, as outlined by most political scientists. For many social democrats,
Marxism Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
is loosely held to be valuable for its emphasis on changing the world for a more just, better future.


Development

During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, social democracy was a broad labour movement within socialism that aimed to replace
private ownership Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the prope ...
with
social ownership Social ownership is the appropriation of the surplus product, produced by the means of production, or the wealth that comes from it, to society as a whole. It is the defining characteristic of a socialist economic system. It can take the for ...
of the means of production, distribution and exchange, taking influence from both
Marxism Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
and the supporters of
Ferdinand Lassalle Ferdinand Lassalle (; 11 April 1825 – 31 August 1864) was a Prussian-German Confederation, German jurist, philosopher, Socialism, socialist and political activist best remembered as the initiator of the social democracy, social democratic move ...
. By 1868–1869, the socialism associated with
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, Critique of political economy, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His be ...
had become the official theoretical basis of the first social democratic party established in Europe, the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany. By the early 20th century, the German social democratic politician
Eduard Bernstein Eduard Bernstein (; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German Social democracy, social democratic Marxist theorist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Bernstein had held close association to Karl ...
rejected the ideas in
orthodox Marxism Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better kno ...
that proposed specific historical progression and
revolution In political science, a revolution (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known ...
as a means to achieve
social equality Social equality is a state of affairs in which all individuals within a specific society have equal rights, liberties, and status, possibly including civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals ...
, advancing the position that socialism should be grounded in ethical and moral arguments for
social justice Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, Equal opportunity, opportunities, and Social privilege, privileges within a society. In Western Civilization, Western and Culture of Asia, Asian cultures, the concept of social ...
and
egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all hum ...
that are to be achieved through
gradual The gradual ( la, graduale or ) is a chant or hymn in the Mass in the Catholic Church, Mass, the liturgy, liturgical celebration of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, and among some other Christians. It gets its name from the Latin (meanin ...
legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 18th century and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill#The Yorkshire Associati ...
. Following the split between
reformist Reformism is a political doctrine advocating the reform of an existing system or institution instead of its abolition and replacement. Within the socialist movement, reformism is the view that gradual changes through existing institutions can eve ...
and
revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. The term ''revolutionary'' can also be used as an adjective, to refer to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. ...
socialists in the
Second International The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitan ...
, socialist parties influenced by Bernstein rejected revolutionary politics in favour of
parliamentary A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
reform while remaining committed to
socialization In sociology, socialization or socialisation (see American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), spelling differences) is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and ...
. During the 1920s and 1930s, social democracy became dominant in the socialist movement, mainly associated with reformist socialism while
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
represented revolutionary socialism. Under the influence of politicians like Carlo Rosselli in Italy, social democrats began disassociating themselves from orthodox Marxism altogether as represented by
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a List of communist ideologies, communist ideology which was the main communist movement throughout the 20th century. Developed by the Bolsheviks, it was the state ideology of the Soviet Union, its Soviet satellite state ...
, embracing liberal socialism,
Keynesianism Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
, and appealing to morality rather than any consistent systematic,
scientific Science is a systematic endeavor that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and some of the earli ...
, or materialist worldview. Social democracy appealed to communitarian, corporatist, and sometimes
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
sentiments while rejecting the
economic An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with ...
and
technological determinism Technological determinism is a reductionism, reductionist theory that assumes that a society's technology progresses by following its own internal logic of efficiency, while determinism, determining the development of the social structure and cult ...
generally characteristic of orthodox Marxism and
economic liberalism Economic liberalism is a List of political ideologies, political and economic ideology that supports a market economy based on individualism and private property in the means of production. Adam Smith is considered one of the primary initial wr ...
. By the post-
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
period and its economic consensus and expansion, most social democrats in Europe had abandoned their ideological connection to orthodox Marxism. They shifted their emphasis toward social policy reform as a compromise between
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
to
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
. According to
Michael Harrington Edward Michael Harrington Jr. (February 24, 1928 – July 31, 1989) was an American democratic socialism, democratic socialist. As a writer, he was perhaps best known as the author of ''The Other America''. Harrington was also a political activi ...
, the primary reason for this was the perspective that viewed the Stalinist-era
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
as having succeeded in usurping the legacy of Marxism and distorting it in propaganda to justify
totalitarianism Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and reg ...
. In its foundation, the
Socialist International The Socialist International (SI) is a political international or worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of Socialism, socialist and Labour movement, labour-oriented political ...
denounced the Bolshevik-inspired communist movement, "for tfalsely claims a share in the Socialist tradition". Furthermore, core tenets of Marxism have been regarded by social democrats as having become obsolete, including the prediction that the working class was the decisive class with the development of capitalism. In their view, this did not materialize in the aftermath of mass industrialization during World War II. During the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
development of social democracy, social democrats adjusted to the neoliberal political climate that had existed since the 1980s. Those social democrats recognized that outspoken opposition to capitalism was politically non-viable and that accepting the powers that be, seeking to challenge
free-market In economics, a free market is an economic market (economics), system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand expressed by sellers and buyers. Such markets, as modeled, operate without the intervention of ...
and ''
laissez-faire ''Laissez-faire'' ( ; from french: laissez faire , ) is an economic system in which transactions between private groups of people are free from any form of economic interventionism (such as Subsidy, subsidies) deriving from special interest ...
'' variations of capitalism, was a more immediate concern. The Third Way stands for a modernized social democracy, but the social democracy that remained committed to the gradual abolition of capitalism and social democrats opposed to the Third Way merged into democratic socialism. Although social democracy originated as a revolutionary socialist or communist movement, one distinction between democratic socialism and social democracy is that the former can include revolutionary means. The latter proposes
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a types of democracy, type of democracy where elected people Representation (politics), represent a group of people, in contrast to direct democracy. Nearly all modern liberal democr ...
under the
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
as the only acceptable constitutional form of government. Social democracy has been described as the evolutionary form of democratic socialism that aims to gradually and peacefully achieve socialism through established political processes rather than
social revolution Social revolutions are sudden changes in the Social structure, structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed society, economy, culture, philosophy, and technology along with but more than just ...
as advocated by revolutionary socialists. In this sense, social democracy is synonymous with ''democratic socialism'' and represents its original form, that of socialism achieved by democratic means, usually through the
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
. While social democrats continue to call and describe themselves as ''democratic socialists'' or simply ''socialists'', with time, the post-war association of social democracy as a policy regime, and the development of the Third Way, ''democratic socialism'' has come to include
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
and
revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. The term ''revolutionary'' can also be used as an adjective, to refer to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. ...
tendencies, representing the original meaning of ''social democracy'', as the latter has shifted towards reformism.


Communism and the Third Way

Before social democracy was associated with a policy regime with a specific set of socioeconomic policies, its economics ranged from
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
to
syndicalism Syndicalism is a Revolutionary politics, revolutionary current within the Left-wing politics, left-wing of the Labour movement, labor movement that seeks to unionize workers Industrial unionism, according to industry and advance their demands t ...
and the guild socialists, who rejected or were opposed to the approach of some Fabians, regarded as being "an excessively bureaucratic and insufficiently democratic prospect". Communists and revolutionary socialists were a significant part of social democracy and represented its revolutionary wing. Although they remained committed to social democracy representing the highest form of democracy, social democracy became associated with its reformist wing since the communist split starting in 1917. The
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution (Trotskyism), political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire which began during the First World War. This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and ad ...
further exacerbated this division, resulting in a split between those supporting the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. in the Soviet Union, also known as the Bolshevik Revolution, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolsheviks, Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin that was ...
renaming themselves as ''Communist'' and those opposing the
Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (russian: Большевики́, from большинство́ ''bol'shinstvó'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvó'' (большинство́), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English ...
development (favouring the liberal social democratic development as argued by the
Mensheviks The Mensheviks (russian: меньшевики́, from меньшинство 'minority') were one of the three dominant political faction, factions in the Russian socialist movement, the others being the Bolsheviks and Socialist Revolutionary Pa ...
) remaining with the ''Social Democrat'' label. Rather than abandoning social democracy, Communists remained committed to revolutionary social democracy, merging into communism; however, they saw ''Social Democrat'' associated with reformism, found it irredeemably lost and chose ''Communist'' to represent their views. For the Communists, the Social Democrats betrayed the world's
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
by supporting the imperialist
Great War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and leading their national governments into the war. The Communists also criticized their reformism, arguing that it represented "reformism without reforms". This reformist–revolutionary division culminated in the German Revolution of 1919, in which the Communists wanted to overthrow the German government to turn it into a soviet republic like it was done in Russia, while the Social Democrats wanted to preserve it as what came to be known as the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: link=no, Weimarer Republik ), officially named the German Reich, was the government of Germany from 1918 to 1933, during which it was a Constitutional republic, constitutional federal republic for the first time in ...
. Those revolutions transformed the social democracy from "Marxist revolutionary" into a form of "moderate parliamentary socialism". While evolutionary and reformist social democrats believe that
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
can be reformed into
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
, revolutionary social democrats argue that this is impossible and that a
social revolution Social revolutions are sudden changes in the Social structure, structure and nature of society. These revolutions are usually recognized as having transformed society, economy, culture, philosophy, and technology along with but more than just ...
would still be necessary. The revolutionary criticism of reformism but not necessarily of reforms which are part of the class struggle goes back to Marx, who proclaimed that social democrats had to support the bourgeoisie wherever it acted as a revolutionary, progressive class because "bourgeois liberties had first to be conquered and then criticised". Internal rivalry in the social democratic movement within the
Second International The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitan ...
between reformists and revolutionaries resulted in the Communists, led by the
Bolsheviks The Bolsheviks (russian: Большевики́, from большинство́ ''bol'shinstvó'', 'majority'),; derived from ''bol'shinstvó'' (большинство́), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority". also known in English ...
, founding their own separate
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was a Soviet-controlled international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle b ...
(Comintern) in 1919 that sought to rally revolutionary social democrats together for socialist revolution. With this split, the social democratic movement was now dominated by reformists, who founded the
Labour and Socialist International The Labour and Socialist International (LSI; german: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, label=German language, German, SAI) was an international organization of socialist and labour parties, active between 1923 and 1940. The group was establi ...
(LSI) in 1923. The LSI had a history of rivalry with the Comintern, with which it competed over the leadership of the international socialist and labour movement. In Britain, the social democratic Gaitskellites emphasized the goals of personal liberty,
social welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refer specifical ...
, and
social equality Social equality is a state of affairs in which all individuals within a specific society have equal rights, liberties, and status, possibly including civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals ...
. The Gaitskellites were part of a political consensus between the Labour and
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
parties, famously dubbed
Butskellism The post-war consensus, sometimes called the post-war compromise, was the Economic system, economic order and social model of which the major political parties in Postwar Britain (1945–1979), post-war Britain shared a consensus supporting vie ...
. Some social democratic Third Way figures such as
Anthony Giddens Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens (born 18 January 1938) is an English sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic Holism () is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wh ...
and
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
, who has described himself as a Christian socialist and a socialist in ethical terms, insist that they are socialists, for they claim to believe in the same values that their anti-Third Way critics do. According to those self-proclaimed social democratic modernizers, Clause IV's open advocacy of state socialism was alienating potential middle-class Labour supporters, and nationalization policies had been so thoroughly attacked by neoliberal economists and politicians, including rhetorical comparisons by the right of state-owned industry in the West to that in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and nationalizations and state socialism became unpopular. Thatcherite Conservatives were adept at condemning
state-owned enterprise A state-owned enterprise (SOE) is a Government, government entity which is established or nationalised by the ''national government'' or ''provincial government'' by an executive order or an act of legislation in order to earn Profit (econom ...
s as economically inefficient. For the Gaitskellites, nationalization was not essential to achieve all major socialist objectives;
public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
and
nationalization Nationalization (nationalisation in British English) is the process of transforming privately-owned assets into public assets by bringing them under the State ownership, public ownership of a Government, national government or State (polity), ...
were not explicitly rejected but were seen as merely one of numerous useful devices. According to social democratic modernizers like Blair, nationalization policies had become politically unviable by the 1990s. Some critics and analysts argue that many prominent social democratic parties, such as the Labour Party in Britain and the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany. Sask ...
, even while maintaining references to socialism and declaring themselves democratic socialist parties, have abandoned socialism in practice, whether unwillingly or not.


Social democracy and democratic socialism

Social democracy has some significant overlap in practical policy positions with democratic socialism, although they are usually distinguished from each other. In Britain, the revised version of Clause IV to the Labour Party Constitution, which was implemented in the 1990s by the
New Labour New Labour was a period in the History of the Labour Party (UK), history of the British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party from the mid to late 1990s until 2010 under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The name dates from a conferenc ...
faction led by
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
, affirms a formal commitment to democratic socialism, describing it as a modernized form of social democracy; however, it no longer commits the party to public ownership of industry and in its place advocates "the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition" along with "high quality public services either owned by the public or accountable to them". Many social democrats "refer to themselves as socialists or democratic socialists", and some such as Blair "use or have used these terms interchangeably". Others argue that "there are clear differences between the three terms, and preferred to describe their own political beliefs by using the term 'social democracy' only". ''Democratic socialism'' represents social democracy before the 1970s, when the post-war displacement of Keynesianism by
monetarism Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on measures ...
and neoliberalism caused many social democratic parties to adopt the Third Way ideology, accepting
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
as the ''
status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs (sociology), state of affairs, particularly with regard to social, political, religious or military issues. In the Sociology, sociological sense, the ''status quo'' refers to the current st ...
'' for the time being and redefining
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
in a way that maintains the capitalist structure intact. Like modern social democracy, democratic socialism tends to follow a gradual or evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary one. Policies commonly supported are
Keynesian Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
and include some degree of regulation over the economy,
social insurance Social insurance is a form of Social protection, social welfare that provides insurance against economic risks. The insurance may be provided publicly or through the subsidizing of private insurance. In contrast to other forms of Welfare, soci ...
schemes, public
pension A pension (, from Latin ''pensiō'', "payment") is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments ...
programs, and a gradual expansion of
public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
over major and strategic industries.


Internal debates

During the late 20th century, those labels were embraced, contested and rejected due to the emergence of developments within the European left, such as
Eurocommunism Eurocommunism, also referred to as democratic communism or neocommunism, was a trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties which said they had developed a theory and practice of social transformation more rele ...
, the rise of neoliberalism, the
fall of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskogo Soyúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. was the process of internal disintegration within the Sov ...
and the
Revolutions of 1989 The Revolutions of 1989, also known as the Fall of Communism, was a revolutionary wave that resulted in the end of most communist states in the world. Sometimes this revolutionary wave is also called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Natio ...
, the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
, and the rise of anti-austerity and Occupy movements due to the global
financial crisis of 2007–2008 Finance is the study and discipline of money, currency and capital assets. It is related to, but not synonymous with economics, the study of Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics) ...
and the
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred from late 2007 into 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At t ...
, the causes of which have been attributed by some to the neoliberal shift and deregulation economic policies. This latest development contributed to the rise of politicians, such as
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. On the pol ...
in Britain and
Bernie Sanders Bernard Sanders (born September8, 1941) is an American politician who has served as the Seniority in the United States Senate, junior United States Senate, United States senator from Vermont since 2007. He was the U.S. representative for t ...
in the United States, who rejected
centrist Centrism is a political outlook or position involving acceptance or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy while opposing political changes that would result in a significant shift of society strongly to Left-w ...
politicians that supported
triangulation In trigonometry and geometry, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by forming triangles to the point from known points. Applications In surveying Specifically in surveying, triangulation involves only angle me ...
within the Labour and Democratic parties. According to both right-wing critics and supporters alike, policies such as universal
health care Health care or healthcare is the improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, amelioration or cure A cure is a substance or procedure that ends a medical condition, such as a medication, a surgery, surgical operation, ...
and
education Education is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty ...
are "pure Socialism" because they are opposed to "the hedonism of capitalist society". Because of this overlap, ''democratic socialism'' refers to European socialism as represented by social democracy, especially in the United States, where it is tied to the
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
. Some democratic socialists who follow social democracy support practical, progressive reforms of capitalism and are more concerned with administrating and humanising it, with socialism relegated to the indefinite future. Other democratic socialists want to go beyond mere meliorist reforms and advocate the systematic transformation of the
mode of production In the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production (German: ''Produktionsweise'', "the way of producing") is a specific combination of the: * Productive forces: these include human labour power and means of production (tools, ...
from
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, pr ...
to
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
.


In the United States

Despite the long history of overlap between the two, with social democracy considered a form of democratic or parliamentary socialism and social democrats calling themselves democratic socialists, ''democratic socialism'' is considered a misnomer in the United States. One issue is that ''social democracy'' is equated with wealthy countries in the Western world, especially in Northern and Western Europe, while ''democratic socialism'' is conflated either with the
pink tide The pink tide ( es, marea rosa, pt, onda rosa, french: marée rose), or the turn to the left ( es, giro a la izquierda, link=no, pt, volta à esquerda, link=no, french: tournant à gauche, link=no), is a political wave and perception of a tur ...
in Latin America, especially with Venezuela, or with communism in the form of Marxist–Leninist socialism as practised in the Soviet Union and other self-declared socialist states. ''Democratic socialism'' has been described as representing the left-wing or socialist tradition of the
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
. The lack of a strong and influential socialist movement in the United States has been linked to the
Red Scare A Red Scare is the promotion of a widespread fear of a potential rise of communism, anarchism or other Left-wing politics, leftist ideologies by a society or state. The term is most often used to refer to two periods in the history of the Un ...
, and any ideology associated with socialism brings social stigma due to its association with
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a political system characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political ''status quo'', and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic votin ...
socialist states. ''Socialism'' has been used as a pejorative term by members of the
political right Right-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political ideologies, political ideologies that view certain social orders and Social stratification, hierarchies as inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this pos ...
to stop the implementation of liberal and progressive policies and proposals and to criticize the public figures trying to implement them. Although Americans may reject the idea that the United States has characteristics of a European-style social democracy, it has been argued by some observers that it has a comfortable social safety net, albeit severely underfunded in comparison to other Western countries. It has also been argued that many policies that may be considered socialist are popular but that socialism is not. Others, such as Tony Judt, described
modern liberalism in the United States Modern liberalism in the United States, often simply referred to in the United States as liberalism, is a form of social liberalism found in American politics. It combines ideas of civil liberty and Social equality, equality with support for so ...
as representing European social democracy.


Policy regime

In the 21st century, it has become commonplace to reference social democracy as the European social democracies, namely the actually-existing states in Northern and Western European countries, usually in reference to their model of the
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
and corporatist system of
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees aimed at agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights for workers. The i ...
. European social democracies represent a socioeconomic order that has been described as starting in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s and ending in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. Henning Meyer and Jonathan Rutherford associate social democracy with the socioeconomic order in Europe from the post-war period until the early 1990s. This has been accepted or adopted across the political spectrum, including
conservatives Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
(
Christian democrats __NOTOC__ Christian democratic parties are political party, political parties that seek to apply Christian principles to public policy. The underlying Christian democracy movement emerged in 19th-century Europe, largely under the influence of Ca ...
), liberals (
social liberals Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo, nl, Sociaalliberalisme), also known as new liberalism in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Uni ...
), and
socialists Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
(social democrats); one notable difference is that socialists see the welfare state "not merely to provide benefits but to build the foundation for emancipation and self-determination". Social democratic roots are also observed in Latin America during the early 20th century; this was the case in Uruguay during the two presidential terms of José Batlle y Ordóñez. Social democracy influenced the development of
social corporatism Social corporatism, also called social democratic corporatism, is a form of economic Tripartism, tripartite corporatism based upon a social partnership between the interests of Capital (economics), capital and Labour (economics), labour, involvin ...
, a form of economic tripartite corporatism based upon a social partnership between the interests of
capital Capital may refer to: Common uses * Capital city, a municipality of primary status ** List of national capitals, List of national capital cities * Capital letter, an upper-case letter Economics and social sciences * Capital (economics), the dura ...
and labour, involving collective bargaining between representatives of employers and labour mediated by the government at the national level. During the
post-war consensus The post-war consensus, sometimes called the post-war compromise, was the Economic system, economic order and social model of which the major political parties in Postwar Britain (1945–1979), post-war Britain shared a consensus supporting vie ...
, this form of social democracy has been a major component of the
Nordic model The Nordic model comprises the Economic policy, economic and social policies as well as typical cultural practices common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). This includes a comprehensive welfare state and ...
and, to a lesser degree, the West European social market economies. The development of social corporatism began in Norway and
Sweden Sweden, formally the Kingdom of Sweden,The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's formal name is the Kingdom of SwedenUNGEGN World Geographical Names, Sweden./ref> is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...
in the 1930s and was consolidated in the 1960s and 1970s. The system was based upon the dual compromise of capital and labour as one component and the market and the state as the other. From the 1940s through the 1970s, defining features of social democracy as a policy regime included Keynesian economic policies and industrial agreements to balance the power of capital and labour and the welfare state. This is especially associated with the Swedish
Social Democrats Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. ...
. In the 1970s, social corporatism evolved into
neo-corporatism Corporatism is a collectivist political ideology An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which "practical elements are a ...
, which replaced it. Neo-corporatism has represented an important concept of Third Way social democracy. Social democratic theorist Robin Archer wrote about the importance of social corporatism to social democracy in his work ''Economic Democracy: The Politics of a Feasible Socialism'' (1995). As a welfare state, social democracy is a specific type of welfare state and policy regime described as being universalist, supportive of collective bargaining, and more supportive of public provision of welfare. It is especially associated with the Nordic model. Social democracy rests on three fundamental features, namely "(1) democracy (e.g., equal rights to vote and form parties), (2) an economy partly regulated by the state (e.g., through Keynesianism), and (3) a welfare state offering social support to those in need (e.g., equal rights to education, health service, employment, and pensions)". In practice, social democratic parties have been instrumental in the social-liberal paradigm, lasting from the 1940s and 1970s, and called such because it was developed by social liberals but implemented by social democrats. Since those policies were mostly implemented by social democrats, social liberalism is sometimes called ''social democracy''. In Britain, the social-liberal
Beveridge Report The Beveridge Report, officially entitled ''Social Insurance and Allied Services'' ( Cmd. 6404), is a government report, published in November 1942, influential in the founding of the welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in w ...
drafted by the Liberal economist
William Beveridge William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge, (5 March 1879 – 16 March 1963) was a British economist and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician who was a Progressivism, progressive and social reformer who played a central role in designing ...
influenced the Labour Party's social policies, such as the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
and Labour's welfare state development. This social-liberal paradigm represented the post-war consensus and was accepted across the political spectrum by conservatives, liberals and socialists until the 1970s. Similarly, the neoliberal paradigm, which replaced the previous paradigm, was accepted across the mainstream political parties, including social democratic supporters of the Third Way. This has caused much controversy within the social democratic movement.


Implementation

From the late 19th century until the mid to late 20th century, there was greater public confidence in the idea of a state-managed economy that was a major pillar of communism, and to a substantial degree by
conservatives Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
and
left-liberal Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo, nl, Sociaalliberalisme), also known as new liberalism in the United Kingdom, modern liberalism, or simply liberalism in the contemporary United States, left-liberalism ...
s. Aside from
anarchists Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is skeptical of all justifications for authority and seeks to abolish the institutions it claims maintain unnecessary coercion and Social hierarchy, hierarchy, typi ...
and other
libertarian socialists Libertarian socialism, also known by #Name, various other names, is a Left-wing politics, left-wing,Diemer, Ulli (1997)"What Is Libertarian Socialism?" The Anarchist Library. Retrieved 4 August 2019. anti-authoritarian, anti-statist and liberta ...
, there was confidence amongst socialists in the concept of
state socialism State socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
as being the most effective form of socialism. Some early British social democrats in the 19th century and 20th century, such as the Fabians, said that British society was already mostly socialist and that the economy was significantly socialist through government-run enterprises created by conservative and liberal governments which could be run for the interests of the people through their representatives' influence, an argument reinvoked by some socialists in post-war Britain. Advents in economics and observation of the failure of state socialism in the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a Sover ...
countries and the Western world with the crisis and stagflation of the 1970s, combined with the neoliberal rebuke of state interventionism, resulted in socialists re-evaluating and redesigning socialism. Some social democrats have sought to keep what they deem are socialism's core values while changing their position on state involvement in the economy and retaining significant social regulations. When
nationalization Nationalization (nationalisation in British English) is the process of transforming privately-owned assets into public assets by bringing them under the State ownership, public ownership of a Government, national government or State (polity), ...
of large industries was relatively widespread in the 20th century until the 1970s, it was not uncommon for commentators to describe some European social democracies as democratic socialist states seeking to move their countries toward a socialist economy. In 1956, leading Labour Party politician and British author
Anthony Crosland Charles Anthony Raven Crosland (29 August 191819 February 1977) was a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician and author. A social democrat on the right wing of the Labour Party, he was a prominent socialist intellectual. His influ ...
said that capitalism had been abolished in Britain, although others such as Welshman
Aneurin Bevan Aneurin "Nye" Bevan Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, PC (; 15 November 1897 – 6 July 1960) was a Welsh people, Welsh Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician, noted for tenure as Minister of Health in Clement Attlee's go ...
, Minister of Health in the first post-war Labour government and the architect of the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
, disputed the claim. For Crosland and others who supported his views, Britain was a socialist state. According to Bevan, Britain had a socialist
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
, which opposed the
hedonism Hedonism refers to a family of theories, all of which have in common that pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain or suffering, which are forms of feeling bad ...
of Britain's capitalist society. Although, as in the rest of Europe, the laws of capitalism still operated fully and
private enterprise A privately held company (or simply a private company) is a company whose shares and related rights or obligations are not offered for public subscription or publicly negotiated in the respective listed markets, but rather the company's stock is ...
dominated the economy, some political commentators stated that during the post-war period, when social democratic parties were in power, countries such as Britain and France were democratic socialist states. The same claim has been applied to Nordic countries with the Nordic model. In the 1980s, the government of President François Mitterrand aimed to expand dirigism and attempted to nationalize all French banks, but this attempt faced opposition from the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
because it demanded a free-market economy among its members.
Public ownership State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an Industry (economics), industry, asset, or Business, enterprise by the State (polity), state or a public body representing a community, as opposed to a ...
never accounted for more than 15–20% of
capital formation Capital formation is a concept used in macroeconomics, national accounts and financial economics. Occasionally it is also used in corporate accounts. It can be defined in three ways: *It is a specific statistical concept, also known as net invest ...
, further dropping to 8% in the 1980s and below 5% in the 1990s after the rise of neoliberalism. One issue of social democracy is the response to the collapse of legitimacy of state socialism and state-interventionist economics of
Keynesianism Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
with the discovery of the phenomenon of
stagflation In economics, stagflation or recession-inflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high or increasing, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high. It presents a dilemma for economic policy, since actions ...
which has been an issue for the legitimacy of state socialism. This has provoked re-thinking of how socialism should be achieved by social democrats, including changing views by social democrats on private property—anti-Third Way social democrats such as Robert Corfe have advocated a socialist form of private property as part of new socialism (although Corfe technically objects to ''
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property and personal property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective ...
'' as a term to collectively describe property that is not publicly owned as being vague) and rejecting state socialism as a failure. Third Way social democracy was formed in response to what its proponents saw as a crisis in the legitimacy of socialism—especially state socialism—and the rising legitimacy of neoliberalism, especially ''laissez-faire'' capitalism. The Third Way's view of the crisis is criticized for being too simplistic. Others have criticized it because with the fall of state socialism, it was possible for "a new kind of 'third way' socialism (combining social ownership with markets and democracy), thereby heralding a revitalization of the social democratic tradition"; however, it has been argued that the prospect of a new socialism was "a chimera, a hopeful invention of Western socialists who had not understood how ' actually existing socialism' had totally discredited ''any'' version of socialism among those who had lived under it".


Analysis


Legacy

Social democratic policies were first adopted in the
German Empire The German Empire (),Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reich" does not literally connote an empire as has been commonly assumed by English-speaking people. The term literally denotes an empire – particularly a hereditary ...
between the 1880s and 1890s, when the
conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the or lattice work screens of a basilica or law cou ...
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (, ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a conservative German statesman and diplomat. From his origins in the upper class of J ...
put in place many
social welfare Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refer specifical ...
proposals initially suggested by the
Social Democrats Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. ...
to hinder their electoral success after he instituted the
Anti-Socialist Laws The Anti-Socialist Laws or Socialist Laws (german: Sozialistengesetze; officially , approximately "Law against the public danger of Social Democratic endeavours") were a series of Act of Parliament, acts of the parliament of the German Empire, the ...
, laying the ground of the first modern
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
. Those policies were dubbed
State Socialism State socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
by the liberal opposition, but Bismarck later accepted and re-appropriated the term. It was a set of social programs implemented in Germany that Bismarck initiated in 1883 as remedial measures to appease the
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
and reduce support for
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
and the Social Democrats following earlier attempts to achieve the same objective through Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws. This did not prevent the Social Democrats from becoming the biggest party in parliament by 1912. Similar policies were later adopted in most of Western Europe, including France and the United Kingdom (the latter in the form of the Liberal welfare reforms), with both socialist and liberal parties adopting those policies. In the United States, the
progressive movement Progressivism holds that it is possible to improve human societies through political action. As a political movement, progressivism seeks to advance the human condition through social reform based on purported advancements in science, techno ...
, a similar social democratic movement predominantly influenced more by
social liberalism Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo, nl, Sociaalliberalisme), also known as new liberalism in the United Kingdom, modern liberalism, or simply liberalism in the contemporary United States, left-liberalism ...
than
socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to Private prop ...
, supported progressive liberals such as Democratic presidents
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the History of the Democratic Party (United States), Demo ...
and Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose New Freedom and
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
programmes adopted many social democratic policies. With the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
,
economic interventionism Economic interventionism, sometimes also called state interventionism, is an Economic policy, economic policy position favouring government intervention in the Market (economics), market process with the intention of correcting market failures a ...
and nationalizations became more common worldwide and the
post-war consensus The post-war consensus, sometimes called the post-war compromise, was the Economic system, economic order and social model of which the major political parties in Postwar Britain (1945–1979), post-war Britain shared a consensus supporting vie ...
until the 1970s saw
Keynesian Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
social democratic and
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
policies put in place, leading to the post-World War II boom in which the United States, the Soviet Union, the Western European, and East Asian countries experienced unusually high and sustained
economic growth Economic growth can be defined as the increase or improvement in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economics, economy in a financial year. Statisticians conventionally measure such growth as the perce ...
, together with
full employment Full employment is a situation in which there is no cyclical or unemployment#Cyclical unemployment, deficient-demand unemployment. Full employment does not entail the disappearance of all unemployment, as other kinds of unemployment, namely Structu ...
. Contrary to early predictions, this period of high economic growth and national development also included many countries that were devastated by the war, such as Japan ( Japanese post-war economic miracle), West Germany and Austria (
Wirtschaftswunder The ''Wirtschaftswunder'' (, "economic miracle"), also known as the Miracle on the Rhine, was the rapid reconstruction and development of the Economy, economies of West Germany and Austria after World War II (adopting an ordoliberalism-based soc ...
), South Korea ( Miracle of the Han River), France (
Trente Glorieuses ''Les Trente Glorieuses'' (; 'The Glorious Thirty') was a thirty-year period of economic growth in France between 1945 and 1975, following the end of the Second World War. The name was first used by the French demographer Jean Fourastié, who ...
), Italy ( Italian economic miracle), and Greece (
Greek economic miracle The Greek economic miracle describes a period of rapid and sustained economic growth in Kingdom of Greece, Greece from 1950 to 1973. At its height, the Economy of Greece, Greek economy grew by an average of 7.7 percent, second in the world only to ...
). With the
1970s energy crisis The 1970s energy crisis occurred when the Western world, particularly the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, faced substantial petroleum shortages as well as elevated prices. The two worst crises of this period wer ...
, the abandonment of both the
gold standard A gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold. The gold standard was the basis for the international monetary system from the 1870s to the early 1920s, and from th ...
and the
Bretton Woods system The Bretton Woods system of Monetary system, monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the United States, Canada, Western European countries, Australia, and Japan after the 1944 Bretton Woods Agree ...
along with Keynesian social democratic, mixed-economy policies and the implementation of market-oriented,
monetarist Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on measures ...
, and neoliberal policies (
privatization Privatization (also privatisation in British English) can mean several different things, most commonly referring to moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when ...
,
deregulation Deregulation is the process of removing or reducing state regulations, typically in the economic sphere. It is the repeal of governmental regulation of the economy. It became common in advanced industrial economies in the 1970s and 1980s, as a ...
,
free trade Free trade is a trade policy that does not restrict imports or exports. It can also be understood as the free market idea applied to international trade. In government, free trade is predominantly advocated by political parties that hold Econo ...
,
economic globalization Economic globalization is one of the three main dimensions of globalization Globalization, or globalisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and ...
, and anti-
inflation In economics, inflation is an increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation corresponds to a reductio ...
ary
fiscal policy In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (taxes or tax cuts) and Government spending, expenditure to influence a country's economy. The use of government revenue expenditures to influence macr ...
, among others), the social democratic welfare state was put in doubt. This caused several social democratic parties to adopt the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
, a centrist ideology combining
progressivism Progressivism holds that it is possible to improve human societies through political action. As a political movement, progressivism seeks to advance the human condition through social reform based on purported advancements in science, techno ...
and
social liberalism Social liberalism (german: Sozialliberalismus, es, socioliberalismo, nl, Sociaalliberalisme), also known as new liberalism in the United Kingdom, modern liberalism, or simply liberalism in the contemporary United States, left-liberalism ...
with neoliberalism; however, the
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred from late 2007 into 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At t ...
in the late 2000s and early 2010s cast doubts on the
Washington Consensus The Washington Consensus is a set of ten economic policy prescriptions considered to constitute the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser devel ...
, and
protests A protest (also called a demonstration, remonstration or remonstrance) is a public expression of objection, disapproval or dissent towards an idea or action, typically a political one. Protests can be thought of as acts of coopera ...
against
austerity measures Austerity is a set of political-economic policies that aim to reduce government budget deficits through spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both. There are three primary types of austerity measures: higher taxes to fund spend ...
ensued. There was a resurgence of social democratic parties and policies, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the rise of politicians such as
Bernie Sanders Bernard Sanders (born September8, 1941) is an American politician who has served as the Seniority in the United States Senate, junior United States Senate, United States senator from Vermont since 2007. He was the U.S. representative for t ...
and
Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (; born 26 May 1949) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020. On the pol ...
, who rejected the Third Way, after the
economic recession In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity. Recessions generally occur when there is a widespread drop in spending (an adverse demand shock). This may be triggered by various ...
caused the Pasokification of many social democratic parties. The
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
World Happiness Report The World Happiness Report is a publication that contains articles and rankings of Gross National Happiness, national happiness, based on respondent ratings of their own lives, which the report also correlates with various Quality of life, (qualit ...
shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in social democratic nations, especially in Northern Europe, where the
Nordic model The Nordic model comprises the Economic policy, economic and social policies as well as typical cultural practices common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). This includes a comprehensive welfare state and ...
is applied. This is at times attributed to the success of the social democratic Nordic model in the region, where similar
democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
, labourist, and social democratic parties dominated the region's political scene and laid the ground for their universal welfare states in the 20th century. The Nordic countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands, also ranks highest on the metrics of real
GDP per capita Lists of countries by GDP per capita list the countries in the world by their gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The lists may be based on nominal or purchasing power parity GDP. Gross national income (GNI) per capita accounts for inf ...
, economic equality,
public health Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals". Analyzing the det ...
,
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, current age, and other demographic factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth ...
,
solidarity ''Solidarity'' is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes. It is based on class collaboration.''Merriam Webster'', http://www.merriam-webster.com/dicti ...
, perceived freedom to make life choices,
generosity Generosity (also called largess) is the virtue of being liberal in giving, often as gift A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. An item is not a gift if that item is alre ...
,
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization as "an individual's perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards ...
, and
human development Human development may refer to: * Development of the human body * Developmental psychology * Human development (economics) * Human Development Index, an index used to rank countries by level of human development * Human evolution, the prehistoric ...
, while countries practising a neoliberal form of government have registered relatively poorer results. Similarly, several reports have listed Scandinavian and other social democratic countries as ranking high on indicators such as
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation, or judicial interpretation, without due process. Though the scope of the term differs between countries, civil liberties may ...
,
democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
, press, labour and
economic An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with ...
freedoms,
peace Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups. ...
, and freedom from
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption m ...
. Numerous studies and surveys indicate that people live happier lives in countries ruled by social democratic parties than those ruled by neoliberal, centrist, and right-wing governments.


Criticism

Other socialists criticize social democracy because it serves to devise new means to strengthen the capitalist system, which conflicts with the socialist goal of replacing capitalism with a socialist system. According to this view, social democracy fails to address the systemic issues inherent in capitalism. The American democratic socialist philosopher David Schweickart contrasts social democracy with
democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing political philosophy that supports political democracy and some form of a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy, and workers' self- ...
by defining the former as an attempt to strengthen the
welfare state A welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equa ...
and the latter as an alternative economic system to capitalism. According to Schweickart, the democratic socialist critique of social democracy is that capitalism can never be sufficiently humanized and that any attempt to suppress its economic contradictions will only cause them to emerge elsewhere. He gives the example that attempts to reduce unemployment too much would result in inflation, and too much job security would erode labour discipline. In contrast to social democracy's
mixed economy A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, Market (economics), markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to ...
, democratic socialists advocate a
post-capitalist Post-capitalism is a state in which the economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within a s ...
economic system based on either a
market economy A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, Production (economics), production and Distribution (economics), distribution to the consumers are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply ...
combined with
workers' self-management Workers' self-management, also referred to as labor management and organizational self-management, is a form of organizational management based on self-directed work processes on the part of an organization's workforce. Self-managed economy, Sel ...
or on some form of
participatory Citizen Participation or Public Participation in social science refers to different mechanisms for the Public consultation, public to express opinions—and ideally exert influence—regarding political, economic, management or other social dec ...
,
decentralized planning A planned economy is a type of economic system where Investment (macroeconomics), investment, Production (economics), production and the allocation of capital goods takes place according to economy-wide economic plans and production plans. A plan ...
of the economy. Marxian socialists argue that social democratic welfare policies cannot resolve the fundamental structural issues of capitalism, such as cyclical fluctuations, exploitation, and alienation. Accordingly, social democratic programs intended to ameliorate living conditions in capitalism, such as unemployment benefits and taxation on profits, creates further contradictions by further limiting the efficiency of the capitalist system by reducing incentives for capitalists to invest in further production. The welfare state only serves to legitimize and prolong the exploitative and contradiction-laden system of capitalism to society's detriment. Critics of contemporary social democracy, such as Jonas Hinnfors, argue that when social democracy abandoned
Marxism Marxism is a Left-wing politics, left-wing to Far-left politics, far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a Materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand S ...
, it also abandoned socialism and became a liberal capitalist movement, effectively making social democrats similar to non-socialist parties like the Democratic Party in the United States.
Market socialism Market socialism is a type of economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within a society o ...
is also critical of social democratic welfare states. While one common goal of both concepts is to achieve greater social and economic equality, market socialism does so through changes in enterprise ownership and management. Social democracy attempts to do so by subsidies and taxes on privately owned enterprises to finance welfare programs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt III (grandson of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt) and David Belkin criticize social democracy for maintaining a property-owning capitalist class with an active interest in reversing social democratic welfare policies and a disproportionate amount of power as a class to influence government policy. The economists John Roemer and Pranab Bardhan point out that social democracy requires a strong
labour movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement ( American English) on the one hand, and the political labour movement on the other. * The trade union movemen ...
to sustain its heavy redistribution through taxes and that it is idealistic to think such redistribution can be accomplished in other countries with weaker labour movements, noting that social democracy in Scandinavian countries has been in decline as the labour movement weakened. Some critics say social democracy abandoned socialism in the 1930s by endorsing Keynesian
welfare capitalism Welfare capitalism is capitalism that includes social welfare policies and/or the practice of businesses providing welfare services to their employees. Welfare capitalism in this second sense, or industrial paternalism, was centered on industrie ...
. The democratic socialist political theorist
Michael Harrington Edward Michael Harrington Jr. (February 24, 1928 – July 31, 1989) was an American democratic socialism, democratic socialist. As a writer, he was perhaps best known as the author of ''The Other America''. Harrington was also a political activi ...
argued that social democracy historically supported
Keynesianism Keynesian economics ( ; sometimes Keynesianism, named after British economist John Maynard Keynes) are the various macroeconomics, macroeconomic theories and Economic model, models of how aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) strongl ...
as part of a "social democratic compromise" between capitalism and socialism. Although this compromise did not allow for the immediate creation of socialism, it created welfare states and "recognized noncapitalist, and even anticapitalist, principles of human need over and above the imperatives of profit". Social democrats in favour of the
Third Way The Third Way is a centrist political position that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right economic policies with centre-left social policies. The Third Way was born from a ...
have been accused of endorsing capitalism, including anti-Third Way social democrats who have accused Third Way proponents such as
Anthony Giddens Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens (born 18 January 1938) is an English sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic Holism () is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wh ...
of being anti-social democratic and anti-socialist in practice. Social democracy's reformism has been criticized by both the left and right, for if the left was to govern a capitalist economy, it would have to do so according to capitalist, not socialist, logic. This argument was previously echoed by
Joseph Schumpeter Joseph Alois Schumpeter (; February 8, 1883 – January 8, 1950) was an Austrian-born political economist. He served briefly as Finance Minister of German-Austria in 1919. In 1932, he emigrated to the United States to become a professor at ...
in '' Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy'' (1942), writing: "Socialists had to govern in an essentially capitalist world..., a social and economic system that would not function except on capitalist lines. ... If they were to run it, they would have to run it according to its own logic. They would have to "administer" capitalism". Irving Kristol argued: "Democratic socialism turns out to be an inherently unstable compound, a contradiction in terms. Every social democratic party, once in power, soon finds itself choosing, at one point after another, between the socialist society it aspires to and the liberal society that lathered it".
Joseph Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former ...
was a vocal critic of reformist social democrats, later coining the term ''
social fascism Social fascism (also socio-fascism) was a theory that was supported by the Communist International (Comintern) and affiliated communist parties in the early 1930s that held that social democracy was a variant of fascism because it stood in the way ...
'' to describe social democracy in the 1930s because, in this period, it embraced a similar corporatist economic model to the model supported by
fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
. This view was adopted by the
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was a Soviet-controlled international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle b ...
, which argued that capitalist society had entered the Third Period in which a
proletarian revolution A proletarian revolution or proletariat revolution is a social revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie and change the previous political system. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by Socialism, ...
was imminent but could be prevented by social democrats and other fascist forces.


See also

*
Economic progressivism Economic progressivism or fiscal progressivism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distributio ...
* History of the Social Democratic Party of Austria *
History of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The foundation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left social democratic political party in Germany. ...
* International Group of Democratic Socialists * List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation * List of social democratic and democratic socialist parties that have governed * List of democratic socialist parties and organizations * List of democratic socialists * List of Labour parties * List of left-wing political parties * List of social democratic parties * List of social democrats * Social Democratic Party * Socialist Party * Socialist Union of Central-Eastern Europe


References


Citations


Notes


Sources


Books

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Conferences

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Encyclopedias

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Journals

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News

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Speeches

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Websites

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Further reading

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External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Social Democracy Social democracy Capitalist systems Centre-left politics Centrism Political philosophy Types of democracy Types of socialism Anti-capitalism Anti-Stalinist left Centre-left ideologies Democracy Democratic socialism Economic ideologies Ideologies of capitalism Economic progressivism Left-wing ideologies Liberal socialism Capitalism Anti-fascism Mixed economies Political-economic models Political ideologies Progressivism Social justice
Democracy Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
Socialism Welfare economics