social democracy

noun

Definition of social democracy 

1 : a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means

2 : a democratic welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices

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Other Words from social democracy

social democrat noun
social democratic adjective

Socialism vs. Social Democracy: Usage Guide

In the many years since socialism entered English around 1830, it has acquired several different meanings. It refers to a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control, but the conception of that control has varied, and the term has been interpreted in widely diverging ways, ranging from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal. In the modern era, "pure" socialism has been seen only rarely and usually briefly in a few Communist regimes. Far more common are systems of social democracy, now often referred to as democratic socialism, in which extensive state regulation, with limited state ownership, has been employed by democratically elected governments (as in Sweden and Denmark) in the belief that it produces a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth.

Examples of social democracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So what was happening leading up through the ’70s is that New York City was becoming a social democracy. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Not even shopping locally can save your favorite mom-and-pop — the problem is much, much bigger than that.," 21 Nov. 2018 That's possible under social democracy through taxation or universal basic income. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Meet Ash Sarkar, the Communist Who Called Piers Morgan an "Idiot"," 15 July 2018 Some of his newspaper columns seem to espouse anti-state libertarianism, others liberal social democracy. The Economist, "Mario Vargas Llosa explains why his politics changed," 26 Apr. 2018 The collapse of the oil price in the 1980s and 1990s weakened a stable social democracy, hollowing out its welfare state, causing bank failures and exposing corruption. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 During the last decades of the 20th century — adverse years for social democracy across the West — rumors of liberalism’s death within the party proved greatly, and repeatedly, exaggerated. Sam Rosenfeld, Vox, "The Democratic Party is moving steadily leftward. So why does the left still distrust it?," 22 June 2018 Is social democracy doomed to be a casualty of the tech revolution? Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, "Bay Area: Join us 4/11 to discuss the tech boom and the fate of democracy," 4 Apr. 2018 After all, the Nordic social democracies are still alive and kicking; historically, concentrating financial power in the state apparatus has often been an invitation to tyranny. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The Liberal Media Can Have Ideological Diversity Without Conservatives," 6 May 2018 The city inspired one resident, Karl Polanyi, to a lifelong defense of social democracy. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social democracy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of social democracy

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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The first known use of social democracy was in 1848

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More Definitions for social democracy

social democracy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of social democracy

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on social democracy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about social democracy

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