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
socialism vs. social democracy
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.
First Known Use of social democracy
SOCIAL DEMOCRACY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of social democracy for English Language Learners
: 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
Learn More about social democracy
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about social democracy
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up social democracy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).