Hey y’all! I’m back again and this week I’ll be talking about democratic socialism and why I’m one. I’ll also hit on what social democracy is and how it is different than democratic socialism. Democratic socialism is not communism nor it is Nazi-ism. I will not get into either and if you want to know why, I’m sure a quick search will tell you why.
What is democratic socialism? It is a form of socialism. I know, real helpful. Like any form of socialism, it advocates the the ownership of the means of production by society, instead of private individuals. It also advocates the use of democracy in determining how the means of production should be used. Democratic socialism is 110% or more against authoritarianism and totalitarianism. And a centralized command economy is right out. Unlike state forms of socialism, democratic socialism sees the means of production being owned by the workers or consumers rather than the state.
I’m also a market socialist, which blends in nicely with democratic socialism. Market socialism is an economic system where there is public, cooperative ownership of the means of production. The means of production would be owned by cooperatives or unions. It retains the free market system for the allocation of goods. Profits are reinvested and used to either give bonuses to the employees or used as a social dividend given to all.
So, what is social democracy? It is a form of capitalism that uses politics and taxes to directly address social justice. A social democracy is an egalitarian and more democratic form of capitalism. You see this in northern and western Europe. This is where Bernie Sanders falls. Sadly, he is not really a democratic socialist. I’ll get into why soon. Anyway, back to social democracy. It has private ownership of the means of production, though heavily regulated, a large welfare state, and more powerful unions. Social democracy is a compromise between capitalism and socialism and started as an intermediate step towards democratic socialism, and has become its own form.
How are democratic socialism and social democracy different? The biggest difference is that one is a form of socialsim and the other is a form of capitalism. Both want to help people and pursue equality for all, though how they do it is different. Social democracy wants to redistribute wealth primarily through taxes, where democratic socialism wants to use the profits from the shared ownership of the means of production. This is why Bernie is a social democrat. He is not suggesting that we change to a socialist economy.
Finally, why? Because democratic socialism with market socialism would lead to a more democratic society. Government and business would be more controlled by the people. Not all business would be owned by either the governmet or cooperatives. There may well be far more small businesses than under our ‘capitalist’ system. Think about it, you’d be able to open a business and not worry that you would lose everything if it didn’t work. Some of the basics would be provided by the governmet. Health care, universal basic income, and education are a few examples. I’m not against social democracy and will help those who want that. At the very least, it’s better than what we’ve got now. And, it may, eventually, lead to democratic socialism. Both would be freer and far more compassionate than our current system.