Social Democracy is the best Democracy!

"Three Arrows" are representative in social democracy as smashing the the three forces, monarchy, fascism, communism which work against true democracy as noted in this 1932 election poster that reads, "Against Papen, Hitler, Thälmann." Unlike socialism in the Marxist sense, which aims to replace the capitalist system entirely, social democracy aims to reform capitalism in order to remove its perceived injustices.

Social Democracy is very similar to Liberalism and Democratic Socialism. Social democrats want to see a market economy with both the public and private sectors. Social Democracy wishes to reform capitalism, instead of abolishing it entirely.

Social Democracy and the Public Sector

Some Social Democrats think the private sector should be larger than the public sector. In social-democratic Scandinavian countries, the public sector may be larger than the private sector. Social Democrats believe that the government should make sure that all citizens can get childcare, education, Health Care and similar services, see Welfare state. Sometimes the state runs these services. Other times the state subsidizes the private sector and the private sector runs it.

This article is part of
the Political Philosophy
Popular sovereignty

Social Democracy Preserves Democracy

Conservatives pretend that social democracy is like UN-democratic Communism. In truth, social democracy protects democracy. Many Conservatives try and pretend:-

  1. Social democracy is the same as socialism.
  2. Socialism is the same as Communism.
  3. Communism is the same as totalitarianism as in the USSR.

In reality, conservatives can’t face the truth. Liberal or social-democrat welfare provisions can preserve democracy. Welfare provisions prevent people from becoming so poor and desperate that they join Stalinist or Fascist or Nazi-type revolutions.

Social Democracy and the Private Sector

Social democrats want the state to regulate the private sector and stop private companies harming society generally. The state should make sure trade is fair and prevent monopolies, etc. Social democrats want social security to protect people if they become sick or unemployed, or when they are too old to Work. They also want equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Social democrats want the state to protect people from becoming poor generally. High progressive taxation is advocated to achieve this, that means taxing the rich who can afford to pay.

Social democrats want to protect the environment. That means things like trying to reduce Global warming and developing alternative energy sources, see Renewable energy. They tend to be Pro-choice and in favour of same-sex marriage. They think countries should work to promote Democracy abroad. They want to see Civil liberties protected and accept multiculturalism. Denmark is an example of social democracy and is one of the happiest countries in the World.

Social Democracy and Liberals

There is a great deal of overlap between social democrats and liberals, indeed some people and organisations can be both social democrat and liberal at the same time. A further complication is that people and groups that would be called social democrat in Europe are usually called liberal in the USA. As a general rule people and groups seen as liberal put more emphasis on Freedom while social democrats emphasise more welfare provision and regulation for the public good.

Social Democracy and Socialism

In the early 1900s, social democrats tended to be sympathetic towards Marxism and socialism and openly supported a transition to democratic socialism. Unlike Marxists, social democrats believed a violent overthrow of the working class was unnecessary and counterproductive. Their opposition towards capitalism was rooted in ethics as opposed to economics. The socialist party was brought into Germany in 1917, and was somewhat accepted in 1932. Since World War II, many social democrats have considered their ideology an ends instead of a means, and few platforms support the gradual abolition of private property. Because of this, some hardcore left-wingers criticize social democracy as neoliberal and not an effective way of ending capitalism. However, social democrats who genuinely desire the abrogation of capitalism exist and most social democratic parties are members of Socialist International, which advocates democratic socialism. In practise even countries like communist China found it necessary to allow a private sector and it is unlikely that the private sector will ever be abolished in successful social democratic nations.

Leftist Critiques of Social Democracy

  • Most currently-existing social democratic countries are First World nations which gain the money for their social welfare programmes by exploiting the Second and Third World. 40% of France's electricity, for example, is powered by uranium from Nigeria.
  • Social democracy is a reform and preservation of Capitalism, not an abolition of it. Consequentially, all the negative aspects of Capitalism (wage labour, the extraction of surplus value, boom-and-bust cycles every 4-8 years, etc.) are preserved as well.
  • It is difficult for Social democracies and Socialist countries to exist in the Second and Third World. This isn't an inherent fault of these ideologies themselves, but rather in a Capitalist world, these countries will always be under threat from other Social democracies as well as Neoliberal countries. Social democratic examples in particular include Allende's Chile, Chávez & Maduro's Venezuela, and Mossadegh's Iran.
  • Most social democracies attack other socialist countries (e.g. Finland attacked the USSR during World War II, Sweden attacked Libya under Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi, et cetera).
  • Many social democratic countries like Finland adopted their welfare policies to ensure that their citizens had a comfortable life, that way they wouldn't rise up like they did in the USSR or China. Now that the Soviet Union is gone, these countries have, for the past 30 years, implemented austerity and cut funding for/attempted to privatise these services.
  • Due to a general lack of centralisation, cooperatives like Mondragon often compete with other workers' cooperatives and trade unions (this occurs in unregulated Capitalism as well). This causes parallel development, wasting twice as many resources to create the same commodity.

Forms of Social Democracy

Friendly Ideologies

Enemy Ideologies

See also

Democratic Socialism

External links

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