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Is Social Democracy a revised version of Socialism by capitalists?

NR92 6 Feb 11
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Remember social democrat friends, keeping capitalism as an engine of growth means keeping the engine of global warming and keeping imperialism. But then again, it's merely dark skinned people who overwhelmingly suffer from those...

Krish55 Level 7 Feb 12, 2019

This is what a Norwegian friend told me:

In Socialism you want all of your main industries to be nationalised and state run. Socialists seek to replace the market. Social Democrats don't want that. They want state ownership over strategic infrastructure or resources, but they never go as far as socialists in limiting the free market. Social Democratic ideology is about building and managing a robust and effective well fare state that works within the framework of capitalism. It is about placing certain regulations on the market to combat the worst traits of capitalism to promote a more egalitarian work force where there is less difference between the richest and the poorest in society. Social Democrats can combine Free Trade with the quest for economic growth that underlines all capitalism, to build a more cohesive society and state. In a social democratic country, you can still, in theory, become a billionaire. We have more than a few. But we have far less than you guys and far better spread of wealth.We don't really have real poverty.
By the way, Social Democracy as an ideology is not a Scandinavian thing. It has just been more successful here than elsewhere. But while it is not a force in America today, it did have many adherants in the past. But today, many who call themselves Democratic Socialists are probably actually Social Democrats.

altschmerz Level 9 Feb 11, 2019

When you have a Social Democracy structure in place, gets easier to manage god and bad times, to let the economy a bit more loose or a bit more tight.
The problem is that the structures can be abused a lot.
Social democracy gives very good results if the population is educated. If not it easily falls into populism.


It emerged to placate the working class in the West at the expense of "Third World" peoples. It succeeded in getting western workers to support capitalism and the intensified imperialism that funded social-democratic programs at home in the West. It is only "half-way" if you ignore the imperialism and depredations in Africa and Latin America on which it is based. Those who fawn over "Nordic Socialism" while condemning necessary radical, anti-imperialist revolutions in the "Third World" are basically engaging the socialist version of white supremacy.

Krish55 Level 7 Feb 11, 2019

"Fawn over" Nordic democratic socialism is a rather rudely dismissive turn of phrase to refer to a system that is currently working better for its people arguably than any other on the planet. But regardless, one can certainly admire the Nordic approach without being callous to the tremendous suffering of third world countries hurt by western imperialism.

Revolution is also a much more optimistic idea than so far has been born out by history. We have to consider carefully what we mean by revolution, as the historical armed overthrow approach has led to slaughter, mass suffering, and oppressive oligarchies or dictatorships. That is NOT an outcome any should want, and that is not meant as an excuse for the gross imperialist abuses of capitalist powers.

@MikeInBatonRouge I was not dismissing the Nordic system. I advocate that for the US also. What I was objecting to was your repeated counterpointing Nordic socialism against the revolutionary socialism that emerged from the victims of imperialism. Many "Third World' countries tried to start on the path to a democratic Nordic-type socialism. They were met by US coups and invasions. To dismiss revolutionary socialism in such situations is a bit of clueless Western privilege. It wasn't the revolutions that were the problem; it was the Western continuous economic blockades, sabotage, and military opposition that caused the degeneration. To discuss socialism, we have to be acquainted with the facts of history. It is a bit infantile to have expected the Chinese and Vietnamese to have developed Nordic-type socialism given their history of being subject to imperialism. Given that and given that no one is advocating revolutionary socialism in the the US, it is simply ahistorical and unnecessary to dismiss revolutionary socialism.



ToolGuy Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

If a party isn't promoting Universal MediCare, they are not a Social Democratic Party.


No. It's a good balance between extreme capitalism and extreme socialism. It lies far closer to capitalism than socialism because the money is generated by capitalism but some of it is used for public services.

brentan Level 8 Feb 11, 2019

There seem to be competing definitions and emphasis for the term "democratic socialism," but basically it is a blending. Whether it is as your post phrases it or rather socialists revising capitalism is up for debate or may even be a semantics game.
I think of it as revised capitalism to dampen the power and abuses of private capital through heavier regulation and taxation, which in turn is revenue that can be used to better fund projects and services that benefit the masses. This is hopefully achieved through a democratic process.
Some very significant level of private ownership of means production exists under this. The government "owns" relatively little, but the means of production is taxed and regulated in an attempt to keep it answerable to the needs of the people.

All societies have at least some degree of a blend of private and public ownership of the means of production, except arguably total police states like N. Korea, which has to be propped up economically from without. Even then, you could argue it is a capitalist monopoly of one, which makes categorization rather pointless.

All the rest are some degree of blending, which is one reason why the definitions are not clearly resolved. We have no "pure" ideal examples we can point to as viable economic systems unto themselves.

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