Social democracy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes; and is often associated with the set of socioeconomic policies that became prominent in Northern and Western Europe—particularly the Nordic model in the Nordic countries—during the latter half of the 20th century.

Social democracy originated as a political ideology that advocated an evolutionary and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism using established political processes in contrast to the revolutionary approach to transition associated with orthodox Marxism. In the early post-war era in Western Europe, social democratic parties rejected the Stalinist political and economic model then current in the Soviet Union, committing themselves either to an alternate path to socialism or to a compromise between capitalism and socialism. In this period, social democrats embraced a mixed economy based on the predominance of private property, with only a minority of essential utilities and public services under public ownership. As a result, social democracy became associated with Keynesian economics, state interventionism, and the welfare state, while abandoning the prior goal of replacing the capitalist system (factor markets, private property and wage labor) with a qualitatively different socialist economic system.

Modern social democracy is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, oppression of underprivileged groups, and poverty; including support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, education, health care, and workers' compensation. The social democratic movement also has strong connections with the labour movement and trade unions, and is supportive of collective bargaining rights for workers as well as measures to extend democratic decision-making beyond politics into the economic sphere in the form of co-determination for employees and other economic stakeholders.

The Third Way, which ostensibly aims to fuse right-wing economics with social democratic welfare policies, is an ideology that developed in the 1990s and is sometimes associated with social democratic parties, but some analysts have instead characterized the Third Way as an effectively neoliberal movement.

See also

Political theory

Social democracy in practice





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social democracy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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