Talk:Social democracy

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Edit request on 21 July 2013[edit]

The follwing section: Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state, collective bargaining schemes, and a capitalist economy. It is often used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in Western and Northern Europe during the later half of the 20th century.[1][2]

Following the split between reformists and revolutionary socialists in the Second International, Social democrats have advocated for a peaceful and evolutionary transition of the economy to socialism through progressive social reform of capitalism.[4][5] Before the split between reformists and revolutionary socialists, "social democracy" was widely used to refer to a wide range of socialists, including revolutionary tendencies.

Should be removed from the Social Democracy definition page. That is offensive to a social democrat, it's a smear. It would be like saying about Republicans in the United States - "Opponents of the Republicans say they're are open liars and are not real politicians." It's not relevant to the definition of it, since it's a smear (the above section). Revolutionary Socialists don't believe we're real Socialists. Notice it keeps mentioning "Revolutionary Socialists" on the above. Do we get to say how we really feel about them on their page? If they do not agree with us, they're free to say it elsewhere but that belongs nowhere on this page whatsoever. Please remove it. That's offensive and a smear. Thank you. Bryanf222 (talk) 15:33, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Question: How is it a smear? Seems like a rather straightforward definition to me. -- TOW  07:19, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Not done: no response to above. Mdann52 (talk) 13:59, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Not all social democrats identify as socialists anymore, this needs to be addressed in the intro[edit]

I am not doubting that social democracy descends from the socialist movement, but today social democracy's association with socialism is mixed. As is mentioned in the article, for the most part social democrats made peace with capitalism with the rise of Keynesian capitalism. Later on there was Third Way that moved away from Keynesianism towards much more neoliberal-accomodating economics. And since 2008, there are social democrats like British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband saying that Third Way was inadequate and calls for a "responsible capitalism". Much of the social democratic political rhetoric on economics today, is like that of progressive liberal rhetoric in the USA, in that it stems from the popularized findings of neo-Keynesian economist Joseph Stiglitz's now famous premise on the problem of economic inequality of the "1%" wealthiest controlling a large portion of the economy while "99%" control a smaller portion.

The content in the article demonstrates a general shift of social democracy towards acceptance of capitalism beginning with moving towards Keynesianism. But, as the article shows there are social democrats who still identify as socialists. Therefore I propose a new first sentence for the intro:

"Social democracy is a reformist progressive ideology whose roots originated in the socialist and labour movements in the 19th century."

Also, the second paragraph's first sentence is another sentence that does not apply to all contemporary social democratic parties, because as said before, many social democratic parties have come to accept capitalism. So that sentence should be removed from the intro because it is not accurately representing the ideology as it stands today.

Then there is other material already in the intro that shows the development of the ideology and its contemporary mixed relationship with socialism and capitalism.-- (talk) 01:43, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

You need to provide a source. Tony Blair claimed to be a socialist, but said Labour should abandon nationalization. And left-wing opponents of Labour had claimed that nationalization was merely state capitalism anyway. To them, socialists parties had ceased to be socialist c. 1917. TFD (talk) 02:08, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I've regularly seen this admission in books about social democracy no longer being socialist in the classical sense of the term that involves promotion of a non-capitalist economy. I don't know if Blair claiming to be a socialist would count as a reliable source, as politicians are all to often known to say one thing and do the opposite, and also he may have talked that way in front of the unions but not the businesses. Blair's position should be reviewed from an outside reliable source. I will provide a source from a relevant book on the subject soon.-- (talk) 02:17, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
You still need a source. Indeed they do not promote the same policies they did in the 19th century, but then neither do liberal or conservative parties. The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario for example no longer supports the policies of the Family Compact and have come to accept democracy, secularism, etc. Liberals no longer demand minimal government and republicanism. TFD (talk) 03:20, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree, and propose the opening paragraph be changed to the following:
Social democracy is a political ideology that traces its roots to the 19th century socialist movement. Contemporary social democracy is a center-left ideology that champions a welfare state and varying degrees of economic regulation; however social democratic parties belonging to the Socialist International still have the nominal goal of establishing a democratic socialist economy.[3] Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy. It is often used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in Western and Northern Europe during the latter half of the 20th century. -Battlecry 03:03, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Your source, Busky, p. 8,[1] does not support that. TFD (talk) 03:23, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Busky might not support his suggested lead, it does however prove/source his general point that started the discussion.--Kmhkmh (talk) 03:39, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
But what I suggested does not contradict what Busky said either, which is that social democratic parties belonging to the Frankfurt Deceleration of the SI have the goal of establishing democratic socialism.
Here is a recent article on Foreign Affairs about a new policy book where Social Democracy is defined as a welfare state (as opposed to an alternative to capitalism): -Battlecry 07:46, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
You cannot simply write something that is not contradicted by Busky (or another source), but you need to write something that is directly supported by him (or other sources). Btw the taking a look at Google books there seems to be plenty of literature supporting the view that social democracy (or large parts) of it do not pursue socialist goals anymore, that is a non capitalistic economic system. Instead it pursues a welfare state within a market based (regulated) capitalistic system. Some literature explaining that view is already included in the article, you probably can recycle that in the lead.--Kmhkmh (talk) 10:38, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
One can also argue that socialists do not pursue "a welfare state within a market based (regulated) capitalistic system", but pursue neoliberal policies, i.e., reductins in welfare and government services, lower taxes, deregulation, and privatization. The most obvious examples are Rogernomics and New Labour. Or Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The current Chinese government argues that free markets are essential to improve the overall living standards of citizens. TFD (talk) 17:26, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I think you will hard pressed to find that as declared or official policy of (most) social democratic parties or movements. You can probably argue that (some of) their government policies do result (de facto) in neoliberal policies and that some cacademics assess their (de facto) policies as neoliberal, but I really doubt you will find that in official programs or self descriptions.--Kmhkmh (talk) 12:52, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
You can mention that the term social democracy is sometimes used to refer to the welfare state etc. The author says, "Social democracy originated in the early twentieth century as a strategy to improve capitalism rather than replace it." He is actually referring to social liberalism, which was developed by liberals and implemented by social democrats. He is referring to is a paradigm that was generally accepted by liberals, socialists and conservatives until the 1970s.
The important consideration is disambiguation. This article is supposed to be about a topic, not the various meanings that "social democracy" may have. Unfortunately we have never agreed on the topic. Why not do that?
TFD (talk) 08:09, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Socialism with Chinese characteristics does not argue in favor of free markets, it just says that forcing a new superstructure on old relations of production (on the mode of production) doesn't work when capitalism is still a dynamic system (see capitalist mode of production). While China is still in the "primary stage of socialism", that stage is very similar to capitalism (according to party theorists)...
But to the point, social democracy developed from socialist theory, and has since the 1980 developed into its own, separate ideology (the social democrats who refuse to label themselves as socialists believe this). --TIAYN (talk) 18:08, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Again, rather than argue about it, please provide a source. German and Scandinavian socialist parties btw have always been called Social Democrats, in most of the rest of Europe they are called Socialist and in the UK they are called Labour. TFD (talk) 19:31, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Actually afaik since WWII the German Social Democrats usually avoid the term socialism or socialist as a self description (partially due to association with East Germany and the Eastern Bloc and partially due to not pursuing (real) socialist goals/socialism anymore). The term gets nevertheless still applied to them occasionally, but usually in the form of (propagandistic) labeling by their political opponents (somewhat like Republicans calling Obama a socialist).--Kmhkmh (talk) 13:01, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
The Norwegian Labour Party defines themselves as sosialdemocratic and different from socialist parties: Here is sociologist Cathrine Holst: "In many countries the socialist term is widely used. One tend to use "social democrat" and "socialist" interchangeably and social democratic parties call themselves socialist. In Norway, the words are used differently. Labour does not not call itself socialist." The Norwegian Labour Party very intentionally distance themselves from socialism. They don't fit the first sentence in the lede "goal of establishing democratic socialism". But they fit the alternative definition "a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy" very well. (they do now and then sing the Socialist International and so, but that's like cultural history). Iselilja (talk) 08:11, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
So in Norway, the term "social democrat" means "socialist" in English, while 'socialist" means "communist". I suppose we could mention that in the article, but it does not seem very important. And it does not support the view that socialists have been transformed into social democrats in the last few years. TFD (talk) 08:31, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
What a non-sensical and condescending comment. The Norwegian Labour Party used to define themselves as socialist (of the reformit type; allthough they were revolutionary for a period in their early history). They now define themselvelves as social democratic and distance themselves from the word and concept of socialism. Iselilja (talk) 08:40, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
When did that happen? Was it when the right-wing broke to form the Social Democratic Labour Party in 1921? That would account for the difference in terminology, because in the rest of the world, communist parties were formed when they broke from socialist parties, while in this case the socialist party joined Comintern. TFD (talk) 08:50, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
The Labour Party (Norway)... What their official name is isn't really what we are discussing here. --TIAYN (talk) 10:36, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
We still need sources before making assertions in the article. TFD (talk) 18:23, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
My understanding is that Lassalle and Bernstein gave up revolution in the 19th century, most socialists sided with national governments in WWI, and after WWII, they supported NATO over Soviet Communism. At that time they also supported the welfare state and nationalization, but have backed away from them. Certainly there was a break between socialists and communists, but where is the hard break between socialists and social democrats? TFD (talk) 06:28, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Note not all parties within "communist" Soviet system (with which the split occurred) called themselves communist, the governing party of Eastern Germany Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) called itself socialist. So the split after WWII is more along autoritarian/totalitarian versus democratic, whereas the split before WWII (with communists) was between revolutionists and reformists. What changed for social democrats between the 19th century and the time after WWII, that their longterm goal is in doubt only a just society (as in social justice) rather than necessarily a socialist one (in a classic sense). The German SPD for instance doesn't necessarily pursue the abolishment of private property anymore since its Godesberger program.--Kmhkmh (talk) 07:05, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
The split between communists and socialists pre-dates the establishment of communist parties. Read about Lassalle and Bernstein. I do not see why the name of the SED in the GDR is relevant. Supposedly it was a merger between the KPD and the SPD, hence the name. TFD (talk) 07:31, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure how your first line relates to my posting. As far the SED is concerned, the point here is, that after WWII it is not a split between social democracy and Soviet communism but a split between social democracy and Soviet style socialism (but not with socialism as a whole).--Kmhkmh (talk) 07:48, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
The split between socialism and communism goes back to the 19th century with Lassalle v. Marx, Bernstein' revisionism vs. the revolutionaries, division over WWI and the Russian revolution, resulting in the establishment of separate communists parties. While socialism and communism are the most common terms today, and other terms are possible, the split goes back to the beginning and did not start with the Second World War. TFD (talk) 08:25, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
There is no argument about the split between socialism and communism in the 19th century. I was talking about a split within socialism after WWII (partially being a split between social democracy and socialism).--Kmhkmh (talk) 09:49, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Even after the split with communism, there was a left-right split within socialism. For example in the U.S., socialists divided between supporters of Hillquit's "Old Guard" and Norman Thomas' "Militants." The post WWII split could be seen as a right that supported Crosland's The Future of Socialism (1956) and the German SDP's rejection of Marx in 1959. If you think this article should be about post-war right-wing socialism and should be called "Social Democracy", I have no objection, provided it is not OR. But if we define Social Democracy as Lassalle, Bernstein and Crosland, then we have a problem. Because Bernstein was a (revisionist) Marxist, not a Lassallean, and the SDP rejected Bernstein's revisionist Marxism in favor of what you call Social Democracy. TFD (talk) 20:55, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not arguing that the article should be only about post WII, the article seems fine as it is for the most part and it should cover all the developments rather than focusing only on a particular part. Btw I find the term "rightwing socialism" here a bit iffy as there are things like German National Socialism and the French Neosocialism as well.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:28, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 10 January 2014[edit]

The page on Social Democracy claims that Social Democracy OFFICIALLY (as if it is all one group) has the goal of the establishment of Democratic Socialism. This is simply not true. Social Democracy has the goal of establishing a mixed-economic welfare-like state. It is capitalism with social benefits.


Please fix this error right away, as it is misleading.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:55, 10 January 2014 TFD (talk) 20:23, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Disagree Your first source is a blog that uses Wikipedia as a source. One of your sources provides an opinion that Obama is a social democrat, which is not a standard view. In order to make changes you need to spell out the recommended change and provide reliable sources. TFD (talk) 20:30, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
The listed sources are not usable, the assessment seems however correct (at least for many social democratic parties). Other sources might be used and in fact description is already contained in the article somewhat. So I'm bit confused about the argument here about something the article already states more or less.--Kmhkmh (talk) 22:04, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
While it is correct that social democratic parties indeed established welfare states, so did conservative, liberal and Christian democratic parties. That does not mean it was their goal, rather a policy to achieve a goal. In fact since "capitalism with benefits" has been established, it makes no sense to say that their goal is establishing it, and many socialist parties have acted to scale it back. But this is not a political blog. Changes require sources. TFD (talk) 22:20, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Not done: Please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. When you find reliable sources, be more specific about what needs to be changed. CarnivorousBunnytalkcontribs 01:13, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Please stop asking reflexively and read what I wrote. I said above that information is already contained (and sourced) in the current article . At the moment for instance it states even in the lead: "Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy.".--Kmhkmh (talk) 06:51, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the term "social democracy" may also refer to modern welfare states. Similarly the term "Mars" may refer to a god of a planet. What relevance does that have? Do you want to replace this article with one about modern welfare states? TFD (talk) 07:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm just pointing out that the info of the requested "change" is already conained in the article's lead.--Kmhkmh (talk) 07:40, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Reply to TFD : How come you can say that social Democracy has the goal of establishing Democratic Socialism, but when it is said that "capitalism with benefits" is their goal (Which is not what is said, but it is a simile) it makes no sense? This is hypocrisy. I find it illogical and nonsensical that this article claims that Social Democracy has the goal of establishing Democratic Socialism when there is a contrast between the two and not all social democrats agree with this claim. It is not a group so how come this article says "OFFICIALLY" as if it is a group that has announced an official goal. That is nonsensical. TFD, please keep your opinions out of this article and look up what a simile is. Also, calling Obama a Social Democrat is quite nonsensical. He supports a mixed economy, and opposes inequality and poverty, while rejecting a fully planned economy. "Common social democratic policies include advocacy of universal social rights to attain universally accessible public services such as education, health care, workers' compensation, and other services, including child care and care for the elderly" This is from the article, and Obama has advocated for most (if not all) of these policies. I am not here to debate with you the alignment of Obama's views, nor am I here to debate with you the parties involved in establishing welfare-states. It is evident that Social Democracy, mainly, has relaxed does not OFFICIALLY SUPPORT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM. The "common social democratic policies" support the definition of welfare capitalism, and you can compare the definitions yourself. Just the fact the word "officially" is used is misleading.(UTC)

Suggestion for dividing this article[edit]

Given the multiple meanings of "social democracy", particularly in reference to post-war and contemporary definitions, I would like to float the idea of splitting the present article into two separate articles: "Social Democracy (Social policy)" and "Social Democracy (Political movement)". The former would include content on social democracy defined as a set of public policies and a model of social welfare provision, while the latter would describe the political movement called "social democracy" and the its various stages throughout history (socialism -> reformism -> welfare capitalism -> Third way/neoliberalism). -Battlecry 04:15, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

How would those articles differ from the existing articles for social liberalism and socialism? TFD (talk) 04:52, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Social democracy is a specific type of welfare state and policy regime (universalist, supportive of collective bargaining, and more supportive of public provision of welfare) while social liberalism is an ideology that might have some overlap, but does not necessarily support the same model of extensive welfare provision and collective bargaining as the models commonly described as "social democracy" (the Nordic model, social market economy, etc.). This is how the term is commonly used today in Academia and the media (for a recent example: Hollande allies hail new social democratic vision).
The "Social democracy (Political movement)" page would include information specific to social democratic parties and groups. There is already precedent for such an article separated from the parent page "Socialism" as all other major variations of socialism (libertarian socialism, democratic socialism, Leninism) have their own articles. -Battlecry 08:49, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
It should not be moved, just as socialism should not be moved. Social democracy is a vague concept (just as liberalism), but there are key features which have remained unchanged; supporting public ownership, mixed economy, skeptical towards capitalism (and/or capitalists), alliance with trade unions, etc --TIAYN (talk) 11:32, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
The British welfare state was based on the Beveridge Report. Beverdige was a Liberal who had been Minister of Labour. Ironically, Labour were the last party to support it. The social market is part of ordoliberalism. I agree btw that social democrats have adopted all these paradigms throughout their history. But the welfare state (or social liberalism) and neoliberalism are paradigms that were accepted accross the political spectrum. TFD (talk) 15:07, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
If we don't split the article, how do we address the fact that there are two definitions of social democracy today? The definition of "social democracy" as a welfare state is not just used by non-academic publications and those ignorant of history, but also by socialists (, and policy analysts. I think a variation of the opening paragraph I proposed on this page a little while back would be the best compromise where the multiple definitions of "social democracy" is more clearly acknowledged at the start of the article:
Social democracy is a political ideology that traces its roots to the 19th century socialist movement. Contemporary social democracy is a center-left ideology that champions a welfare state and varying degrees of economic regulation; however social democratic parties belonging to the Socialist International still have the nominal goal of establishing a democratic socialist economy.[3] Alternatively, social democracy is defined as a policy regime involving a universal welfare state and collective bargaining schemes within the framework of a capitalist economy. It is often used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in Western and Northern Europe during the latter half of the 20th century. -Battlecry 08:21, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
First, the social democratic movement (and therefore Labour) rejected the welfare state (at the beginning) because of their adherence to Marxism. At the 1st congress of the Socialist International (held after World War II), the Socialist International condemned communism (and indirectly communism), and became a movement (from there on) which supported the welfare state and the creation of a capitalism with a human face (within the liberal democratic political system).. Currently, social democracy is a mixture of liberalism and socialism. I don't get it, all ideologies change - we are not discussing the possibility of creating two articles on communism, Soviet communism and Chinese communism (despite the fact that what communism entails has changed in recent years...) .. Social democracy has gone from being a Marxist dominant ideology to become a mixture of liberalism and socialism - that's it, but its the same ideology (and I doubt the majority of the social democratic parties before and after World War II believed that social democracy had radically changed somehow...) --TIAYN (talk) 14:12, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
I do not think you have the history correct. The dominant Marxism of the Second International was Bernstein;s revisionism, which would be the official ideology of the German Social Democratic Party of Germany until 1959. The Communists, led by the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party broke with socialism and set up Comintern. Most "social democrats" would not support the welfare state until after the Second World War. Meanwhile, liberals, such as Beveridge and Keynes, had developed plans for a welfare state, which is called social liberalism. Since these policies were mostly implemented by social democrats, social liberalism is sometimes called social democracy. However, all parties supported them as they became a new paradigm. From the mid to late 1970s, the paradigm came to be replaced by neoliberalism, which was also accepted by all parties, even the Communist Party of China. TFD (talk) 17:58, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
How those the Communist Party of China support neoliberalism, 70 percent of the companies of the Shanghai Stock Exchange has dominant state ownership (from 40 percent upwards).. Secondly, the market plays a much smaller role in China then it does elsewhere. Neoliberalism does not exist in China, because it has never been implemented. The whole point with the economic system in China is that the state guides the private sector (in a neoliberalist model, the private market would guide the state - this is not happening to China, at least not to the same degree).. At last, the Communist Party is opposed to neoliberalism, referring it to "market fundamentalism". The view that China is somewhat extremely capitalist is wrong, and the reason being that everything that is good in China is referred to capitalist, while everything which is bad in China is referred to communist.
When did social democracy become synonymous with social liberalism? Social liberalism supports the welfare state, but more often then not are skeptical towards public ownership. No social democrat could self-describe themselves as social liberal, nor could a social liberal call themselves a social democratic .. In the UK, you have a social democratic party, a social liberal one and a conservative one - no one would say that the Lib Dems have the same policies as Labour (not even New Labour...) ... The only place where social liberalism is synonymous with social democracy is in the United States, and that's because the socialist movement died there in the 1910s and 1920s (and never regained their position in the trade unions). Because of this, those people who support public ownership or high taxes are usually dumped into the social liberal category (and if the opponents are mean, they will call these people socialists, as they did with Obama). To take one example, the United States is not moving in anyway closer to European social democracy under Obama (despite their seeming to be a common misconception in the US that this is indeed happening...)
Again, the social democrats before World War II opposed the welfare state because of their Marxist inclinations (which was dropped, if we are to generalize, with the end of World War II, and the rise of reformist socialism, e.g. social democracy). --TIAYN (talk) 18:48, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
TFD, you have the definitions of "social democracy" and "social liberalism" reversed. Social democracy is commonly defined as a welfare state (or as a model of "social capitalism") and social liberalism is a political ideology. Because this is the most common definition used today we need to be more clear about distinguishing "social democracy" from its historical meanings (as revolutionary socialist parties, as reformist socialist ideology, etc.). Contemporary political parties named "Social democratic party" do not necessarily support social democracy today, just as many "Socialist parties" are not necessarily advocates of socialism, and the ideology "Republican party" in the United States is not republicanism.-Battlecry 02:50, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Social liberalism is an ideology, it is an ideology that supports the welfare state, which itself can be referred to as the social liberal paradigm. See for example Ian Adams Political Ideology Today, pp. 37ff. Social liberalism "came to dominate most of the twentieth century.... In practical terms, the argument points towards a programme of welfare legislation...."[2] Or read the sources provided for the social liberalism article. Nordic Paths to Modernity discusses social liberalism there on pp. 34 ff.[3] I am still waiting for your source. TFD (talk) 04:31, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
From the International Encyclopedia of Political Science: "Social democracy refers to a political tendency resting on three fundamental features: (1) democracy (e.g., equal rights to vote and form parties), (2) and economy partly regulated by the state (e.g., through Keynesianism), and (3) a welfare state offering social support to those in need (e.g., equal rights to education, health service, employment, and pensions."
The text then goes on to differentiate between the roots of social democracy (Marxism, anti-capitalism, etc.) with its contemporary developments (acceptance of the fundamentals of the capitalist market economy). On page 2424, it states that the ends of social democracy came into contention and the movement came to be defined by a reformed capitalism and welfare state after Eduard Bernstein’s revisionism. While it does mention that some elements within the social democratic movement returned to the question of ownership and transformation of capitalism in the late 1970s-early 1980s, the social democratic movement is largely defined by its support for reforms, regulation and a welfare state. -Battlecry 03:58, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
It is discussing the current policies of socialist parties, which have evolved from the 19th century. But it also says that that social democrats once supported public ownership of the means of production. Notice also that it says the term is sometimes used synonymously with democratic socialism, and that article says "see Social democracy", unlike here where there are two articles. Also, notice that it does not say that European welfare states are social democracies. TFD (talk) 04:23, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
It gives a clear definition of social democracy as a mix of welfare state provisions, economic regulation, and democracy. I never said Social democracy was defined specifically as European welfare states, only that social democracy is commonly defined as a welfare state. No one is disputing that social democrats once supported public ownership and the other hallmarks of socialism; my point is the article should reflect what this source says - that (contemporary) social democracy is defined as a welfare state etc, but historically social democracy supported public ownership, etc. As it stands right now, the article does not make a clear distinction between the historical definition of social democracy and its common contemporary definition. -Battlecry 08:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
When did contemporary social democracy get defined as being synonymous with the welfare state? Social democrats actively support the welfare state, but thats not the only thing they do.. And yes, social democracy is an ideology not practical politics. It may have deradicalized, but its still an ideology (and its not synonymous with social liberalism) --TIAYN (talk) 21:52, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
In the post-war period, social democracy came to be defined as support for a welfare state, collective bargaining and economic regulation. I agree that social democracy is not merely a welfare state, but that is what it is used to refer to in contemporary literature and policy discussions. -Battlecry 09:11, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
No, rather the welfare state is the most prominent feature in social democracy, but thats not the only thing contemporary literature and policy discussions refer to them as. For instance, in Norway, the Labour Party (Norway) is considered the strongest supporter of multiculturalism, pro-immigration, solidarity, high taxes, marriage equality for both straight and gays, the right for gays to adopt children, a degree of protectionism in agriculture etc etc etc... The welfare state, collective bargaining and economic regulations are the common denominators which all social democratic movements share, but each have their own peculiarity (for instance, the UK Labour Party became non-skeptical towards the market during the Blair and Gordon years), and in Norway with the exception of two companies, all the largest companies in the country are state-owned or have a dominant share owned by the state. Secondly, you're forgetting the Latin American social democratic parties, which are more often then not, opposed to neoliberalism. This is a simplification. --TIAYN (talk) 09:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
So in your view social democracy has not definition in that it just means anything ranging from anti-imperialism to social liberalism or neoliberalism? Then we might as well put that in the opening paragraph. And just to clarify, a political party that happens to use the name of a political ideology in its name does not define that ideology by its specific policies and actions. But one thing is clear: contemporary social democrats have no desire (even if their constitutions retain language about "social ownership" or "common ownership" from a previous era) to bring about a post-capitalist (socialist) economic system; they are defined by reforms to capitalism (whether it be the welfare state, regulation or advocating social justice). The article needs to represent this widely-held view making a distinction between "historical" social democracy and "contemporary" social democracy defined as a welfare state and what you refer to as "social liberalism".-Battlecry 02:07, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
@Battlecry: Social democracy in its heart is economic equality and public ownership over important heights of the economy.. Tony Blair may have turned the UK Labour Party into a social liberal party (Blair himself said he didn't care if people got rich since the important thing was to alleviate poverty, he supported low taxes and was against a large role for the state in the economy), however, he still called himself a socialist.. In a pamphlet by the Norwegian Labour Party social democracy is defined as a grunnsyn (a "fundamental", an "outlook" etc) which is a mixture of socialism and liberalism, with socialism carrying the most weight. But what does socialism mean? Blair called himself a socialist, many disagree, Kim Jong-un calls himself a socialist (many would definitely disagree), anti-communist Marxists called themselves socialist and calls everyone else capitalists (many disagree).. Since the word socialism has so many meanings, it is by definition impossible to define; but the common denominations are democracy, social justice and economic equality (and democracy and social justice can only be maintained through economic equality).
But yes, you're right, i'm saying social democracy has no definition. Best example, China. They still call themselves, communist, they still believe they are communist, but as mentioned all over the world, it doesn't look much like communism (that is, Soviet-inspired communism).. They are still Marxist (I read somewhere that they use as much money a year on Marxist research as the state budget for the poorest African countries combined; this may not be true, but still, it gets the point through), they still research Marxism, and their "ultimate goal" is still reaching pure communism, but despite this, they look uncommunist. I think everyone agrees that they look uncommunist (with the exception of the CPC itself), but they don't believe so. To give another example, in the 1960s Einar Gerhardsen, the Prime Minister of Norway and a social democrat, established a planning agency and tried to establish a planned economy. He was not a communist, he was not a Marxist, he was a social democrat. However despite this, it would be impossible for the current Labour leader, Jens Stoltenberg, to try to implement a planned economy (or even wishing to implement it; he would probably consider the notion as total communist rubbish).. Despite all this Stoltenberg still considers Gerhardsen to be a social democrat, and not a communist... Or, as Herbert Morrison said, "Socialism is what a Labour government does". --TIAYN (talk) 12:34, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
An economic and political system can be classified based on the actual processes that take place within said system. Official proclamations by politicians and political leaders are irrelevant - especially for an encyclopedic entry. I will grant that "social democracy" has many different meanings, but the general consensus is that it represents and is defined by support for what we might call "welfare capitalism" and related social policies. That does not mean we need to exclude alternative definitions of social democracy as "democratic socialism"; all I am suggesting is we change the opening paragraph to be more neutral instead of immediately defining social democracy as "officially" a form of democratic socialism. (The source only claims that social democratic parties belong to an organization that declares the establishment of democratic socialism its goal, not that social democracy IS socialism). -Battlecry 07:13, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
It is not correct that social democracy has different meanings, rather that socialism has evolved, as have all other ideologies. In Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared , the authors explain on pp. 15-20 how socialist parties in have evolved from the 19th to the early 21st centuries.[4] As the number of people in traditional working class occupations, such as factory-workers and miners, declined, socialists have successfully widened their appeal to the middle class, by diluting their ideology. But there is continuity in the SPD, the British Labour Party, etc. The image that most political scientists use is the famille spirituelle or ideological party family. Families change over time, but remain the same family. TFD (talk) 19:24, 8 February 2014 (UTC)
@Battlecry: @The Four Deuces: Social democracy has different meanings, just as communism has different meanings, but it doesn't make one social democratic party less social democratic then the others.... But Battlecry, I agree with you (that is, the edits you want to implement), my view of social democracy is this; its inherently vague, and every time I read about social democratic ideology, its "nothing" (its not Marxism, nor even Anarchism)... Not all social democratic parties seek to establish a socialist society, but some do (like the Socialist Party of Chile, and the Social Democratic Party of Austria for instance),.. However, this does not make these parties more or less social democratic then other social democratic parties who only wish to create, lets say, a "capitalism with a human face". --TIAYN (talk) 19:03, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

That makes no sense. The definition of communism did not shift between Mao and Deng, the policies did. Similarly, the definition of the Labour Party between Callaghan and Blair did not change, the policies did. Labour ideology changed, but the definition of the Labour Party did not change. Similarly if you study anthropology and switch to history, your definition does not change. You have changed but remain the same person. TFD (talk) 23:09, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Of course communism has changed, above in the talk page you accused China of having a neoliberal economic policy.. Secondly, if the old definition still worked, most people would not refer to China as capitalist... Literally if you search for "China" "capitalism" you get more hits than for "China" "communism"... its a reason for that, the old definition does not work. --TIAYN (talk) 07:33, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Policy and ideology are different things. A socialist opposes the welfare state because it is controlled by the bourgeoisie. Then he says that at least it is a concession to the working class. Then he says it stops economic development which is necessary to support increases in working class wages. He has not changed his definition, merely his policies. Similarly, conservatives and liberals have switched policies on religion, free trade, prohibition, etc.
Conservatives in the UK decided that capitalism would help build the country, but saw capitalists as an inferior class. Similarly, Chinese Communists think capitalism will build the Chinese economy and improve the welfare of Chinese people. But neither wished to replace themselves with capitalists. TFD (talk) 08:13, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
The definition of "communism" hasn't officially changed. The only thing that has changed in China is the policies of the communist party and possibly its allegiance to building a communist society (which is debatable). But in the case of "social democracy" we have a wide swath of academics and policy analysts who use the term in reference to welfare states / welfare capitalism. We need to either better accommodate this widespread definition in this article, or split the article into two separate articles for each major definition. The lead should also do a better job at distinguishing the actual policies and modern ideology of social democratic parties and nominal allegiances to "democratic socialism". -Battlecry 09:15, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
@The Four Deuces:@Battlecry: Democratic socialism is not the left-wing version of social democracy, where people have gotten that from I don't know. Democratic socialism is a vague term used by everybody, even Brown called himself a democratic socialist before the New Labour period. Honestly. This article is not going to get split, it wouldn't help anyone. Secondly, you could say the definition of communism has changed; many people like to point out you can't be communist if you don't have a planned economy. For instance Meriam Webster defines communism as "a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property"... If that's the case China is no longer communist (by the old definition), but they seem to believe so themselves.... Or Oxford, communism is a "a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs."... The definition has changed, or at least certain parts of it. Yes, they are officially committed to reaching communism (the "ultimate goal" of china and the party), but they've changed their view on the capitalist mode of production (which was about time, since the system is not collapsing, but showing clear signs of dynamism); for instance, some CPC theoreticians believe capitalism to be a preliminary stage to reach communism... So the definition must have changed, at least the part which is concerned about economics... --TIAYN (talk) 14:42, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Of course there was always a distinction between communism, and the policies of Communist governments. Communists never claimed that China was a communist society, they said it was a socialist society. Similary, the Social Democratic Party of Sweden is committed in its constitution to a society based on "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." But they have never claimed to have achieved that.
I agree that people sometimes confuse policies similar to the Swedish Social Democrats with social democracy. Hence the social market policies developed by ordoliberals and implemented by Christian Democrats lead some people to call Germany a social democracy. We can say that. But it does not mean the definition of Social Democracy has changed. And there is really no significant difference between Lassallian socialism and Blair's Third Way. In each case they advocated government policies that would immediately help working people rather than revolution. And in both cases their critics accused them (accurately or not) of having sold out to the establishment, and therefore not real socialists.
TFD (talk) 21:37, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
@The Four Deuces: "I agree that people sometimes confuse policies similar to the Swedish Social Democrats with social democracy." ... But the policies of the Swedish Social Democratic Party is social democracy, what else could it be described as? ... " there was always a distinction between communism, and the policies of Communist governments"... There has always been a distinction between communism, the stage of development, but all policies which will help the party to reach that stage are communist (by definition, according to them) because it will reach the party reach its end goal... Its not like the CPC would initiate uncommunist policies to reach communism - that wouldn't make much sense... I agree with you're pragmatism, but in highly ideologized regimes (such as China), there is no chance in hell of introducing things they consider uncommunist.. Its a reason why Xi Jinping recently said "The reason is that, politically, their theory that capitalism is the ultimate has been shaken, and socialist development has experienced a miracle. Western capitalism has suffered reversals, a financial crisis, a credit crisis, a crisis of confidence, and their self-conviction has wavered. Western countries have begun to reflect, and openly or secretively compare themselves against China’s politics, economy and path"... This doesn't sound like a guy who has made a compromise with capitalism, this sounds like a man who believes China is on the socialist road...
Lastly, social democratic parties won't go against their own principle except in cases where their old policies have been proven false (or, if they think they have been proven false, hence New Labour)..... Of course, this is not a discussion (I believe), which can be proven my refs. But, I must say, I wouldn't make sense that social democratic governments went against their ideology because it suited them, they went against their ideologies because they believed they were, indeed, social democratic.. But of course, with this view, I'm also saying, by default, that it is impossible to define an ideology. --TIAYN (talk) 18:36, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
People do refer to Sweden as a social democracy and there is no reason why we should not point that out in the article. But Sweden is a liberal, captialist state, not socialist or a social democracy, and people do not contribute according to their ability and receive according to their needs, as articulated by the Social Democrats. It is however what they considered the best possible state achievable. The next day they may defend open markets and dismantling the welfare state, like rogernomics.
Ideology is not the policies that they follow but what determines the policies they choose. So conservatives supported welfare because the higher classes should protect the lower classes, liberals supported welfare because without basic amenities individuals cannot achieve their potential, i.e., have real freedom, and socialists thought welfare made society more egalitarian. Or socialists can say welfare enforces the power of the bourgeois state, liberals say it discourages enterprise, and conservatives say it will destory hierarchy.
TFD (talk) 19:41, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
@The Four Deuces: India calls itself a socialist state, does that make India more or less socialist? They calls themselves an "Independent Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic" (a bit of a mouthful); that doesn't make much sense to me, but its still there.. Its all about how they define it.. Just as Marxism defines socialism as a stage, some defines socialist as some given policies.... But who cares, my problem with you is the following, you're setting it in stone, you're saying social democracy (and socialism) is something definable, and everything a socialist politician is doing in something separate, which you refer to as policy.. You are making lines, and I don't understand why you're lines are better than the lines Marx made for what socialism is, or what Proudhon defined as socialism, or for that matter Michel Aflaq who defined socialism simply as the social emancipation of all arabs into one Arab Nation... Another example, we both agree that Blair and Lenin were socialists, but do their respective socialism' have any common denominators? I can't think of any; I mean, both supported social justice and democracy (but so do anyone...) What common denominators in socialist thinking do Attlee and Kim Jong-un share? I'm guessing none. What common denominators to Einar Gerhardsen, a social democrat who supported economic planning, share with Roger Douglas, a keen supporter of privatization? ... I'm willing to go on the line and state that these people have very different interpretations and personal definition of what socialism is.--TIAYN (talk) 22:15, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
What they all share in common is history, specifically that they can all be traced by to the individuals, groups and literature of the First International, and have retained some of the terminology and symbolism (such as the color red). As the Historical Dictionary of Socialism, pp. 1-2, says, "First, there were general criticisms about the social effects of the private ownership and control of capital.... Second, there was a general view that the solution to these problems lay in dome form of collective control...over the means of production."[5] How far society should intervene, and whether government, particularly existing government, was the correct vehicle for change, are issues of disagreement.
India btw is not a socialist state, it is a capitalist state, even if it follows socialist guiding principles. TFD (talk) 17:08, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
India might be a "socialist state" as per its constitution, but that does not mean that India has a socialist economic system or even that India's government is actively pursuing the development of socialism. We need to be careful to distinguish between the form of government, the official ideal/policy orientation of a government, and the economic system of a country.-Battlecry 09:00, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

notable social democrats[edit]

Is there a citation for Nelson Mandela on this list? I was under the impression he was more democratic-socialist (or even left of that). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sejersted and Adams and Daly, Francis and Madeleine and Richard (2011). The Age of Social Democracy: Norway and Sweden in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691147741. 
  2. ^ Foundations of social democracy, 2004. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, p. 8, November 2009.
  3. ^ a b Busky, Donald F. (2000), Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey, Westport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., p. 8, "The Frankfurt Declaration of the Socialist International, which almost all social democratic parties are members of, declares the goal of the development of democratic socialism"