social democracy noun
: a political movement that uses principles of democracy to change a capitalist country to a socialist one
: a country that uses both capitalist and socialist practices
: a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means
: a democratic welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices
— social democrat noun
— social democratic adjective
First Known Use of SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
social democracy noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism, using established political processes. It rejects Marxism's advocacy of social revolution. Social democracy began as a political movement in Germany in the 1870s. Eduard Bernstein argued (1899) that capitalism was overcoming many of the weaknesses Karl Marx had seen in it (including unemployment and overproduction) and that universal suffrage would lead peacefully to a socialist government. After 1945, social-democratic governments came to power in West Germany (see Social Democratic Party), Sweden, and Britain (under the Labour Party). Social-democratic thought gradually came to regard state regulation (without state ownership) as sufficient to ensure economic growth and a fair distribution of income.
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