Social democracy

political ideology
(Redirected from Social democratic)

Social democracy is a political ideology that has similar values to socialism[1][2], but within a capitalist framework and economy.[3] The ideology is named from democracy where people have a say in government actions and it supports a competitive capitalist economy while also helping people in need by providing healthcare, education and social welfare.[4][5][6] This makes it easier for people to support themselves in society by having more protection if they are unemployed or fall into poverty.[7] It has been influenced by socialism, which places an emphasis on equal rights for everyone, and there is plenty of government ownership or regulation of various industries to protect the public interest.[8][9] The ideology's movement has seen some interest in other countries whose economic systems do not work this way, because it has worked well for those who have it.[10]

A red rose, the symbol for social democracy.

Despite a common belief, social democracy is very different from socialism its policies keep capitalism in place and it is supportive of Keynesian economics, where the government should step in and help people in need or without jobs.[8][11] Social democracy strives to achieve a balance between capitalism and socialism or a balance between the public sector and private sector in the economy.[12]

Practice versus theoryEdit

Some would argue that neither were capitalist systems empty of help for the poor and the needy. An example is England, where relief for the poor was available in every parish in the land, long before there were any government social services. The practice was known as charity. Also, Britain saw the growth of an important middle class after industrialisation took hold. So it is not completely right to think of such societies as simply composed of owners and workers, or rich and poor.

Social democrats are divided in how they see their theory and it has been a subject of much debate around the world. Terms like "market socialism" and "the third way" are efforts to rethink what social democracy means today.[13][14][15][16]

Related pagesEdit


  1. Contemporary political ideologies. Roger Eatwell, Anthony Wright (2nd ed.). London: Pinter. 1999. pp. 80–103. ISBN 1-85567-605-2. OCLC 39706797.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. Newman, Michael (2005). Socialism : a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-19-151684-9. OCLC 94270255.
  3. Berman, Sheri. "Can Social Democrats Save the World (Again)?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2023-05-04.
  4. Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy. Edward Craig, Routledge. London: Routledge. 1998. p. 827. ISBN 0-415-07310-3. OCLC 38096851.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. International encyclopedia of political science. Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Leonardo Morlino, Sage Publications. Thousdand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE. 2011. p. 2423. ISBN 978-1-4129-9416-3. OCLC 699482491.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. Meyer, Thomas (2007). The theory of social democracy. Lewis P. Hinchman. Cambridge, UK: Polity. ISBN 978-0-7456-4112-6. OCLC 122283497.
  7. Colby, Ira C. (2013). Connecting social welfare policy to fields of practice. Catherine N. Dulmus, Karen M. Sowers. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-41928-1. OCLC 798809969.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Weisskopf, Thomas E. (1992–2009). "Toward a Socialism for the Future, in the Wake of the Demise of the Socialism of the Past". Review of Radical Political Economics. 24 (3–4): 1–28. doi:10.1177/048661349202400302. ISSN 0486-6134.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: date format (link)
  9. Routledge encyclopedia of international political economy. R. J. Barry Jones. New York: Routledge. 2001. ISBN 0-415-24350-5. OCLC 44860825.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. "The Happiest Countries In The World (INFOGRAPHIC)". HuffPost. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2023-05-04.
  11. Heywood, Andrew (2012). Political ideologies : an introduction. pp. 125–128. ISBN 978-0-230-36724-1. OCLC 779097284.
  12. Harrington, Michael (2011). Socialism : past and future : the classic text on the role of socialism in modern society. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-61145-335-5. OCLC 759166335.
  13. Bardhan, Pranab; Roemer, John E. (1992). "Market socialism: a case for rejuvenation" (PDF). Journal of Economic Perspectives. 6 (3): 101–116. doi:10.1257/jep.6.3.101. S2CID 155047731.
  14. Ollman, Bertell (1998). Market socialism: the debate among socialists. New York: Routledge. pp. 55–80. ISBN 978-0-415-91966-1.
  15. Cramme, Olaf; Diamond, Patrick (2012). After the third way: the future of social democracy in Europe. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 1–27. ISBN 978-1-84885-992-0.
  16. Lavelle, Ashley (2008). The death of social democracy: political consequences in the 21st century. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7014-8.