Social Democracy

It's what most American "socialists" probably believe in.

I have spent the last few weeks honing my thoughts on the matter: Is what I want "socialism"? I've come around to the answer, and it seems it is "No".

For anyone who knows me, that doesn't mean my beliefs have actually changed; it just means I've determined the correct term for the brand of government I currently advocate: Social Democracy. Here is the Wikipedia excerpt, for clarification - bold is added.

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy; measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest; and welfare state provisions.

In other words: Social Democracy is the kind of Progressive liberal political platform advocated by the likes of Bernie Sanders and others on the further Left of American politics. It's the kind of political-ecomonic system present in some Nordic countries. It is not Socialism outright, as that system eschews capitalism. "Social democracy" embraces further regulation of private enterprise and wealth inequality for the benefit of society while accepting market economies.

Another good read for this concept is "Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist".

It isn't just about Bernie - it was written during the 2016 campaign, when the topic was a bit hotter, but the points remain. I recommend reading through it. Some highlights:

  • Social Democracy is not Socialism (It allows for private ownership of business and a regulated market economy)
  • Socialism is not Communism (Example: Socialism allows personal private property, though the means of production are owned by workers or the State, in contrast to total State ownership in Communism)
  • The United States is not a completely "free market" economy - The government accounts for ~40% of GDP spending and regulates many types of businesses. We have plenty of invisible hands working our economy... they just don't always work for the people.

In short: To support healthcare for all, higher marginal tax rates, greater public oversight of utilities and critical infrastructure, and stronger workers' rights against self-interested corporate management is NOT Socialism. It is "social democracy". It is in the interest of all people, especially the poorer and middle classes. It is entirely compatible with American values of merit, freedom, and private ownership.

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