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What Is Democratic Socialism? Q & A

World  (tags: Democratic Socialism, questions and answers, public needs, equitable )

- 1265 days ago -
Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. Democracy and socialism go hand in hand.


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Donna T (0)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 7:24 am
thank you

David C (108)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 7:54 am
we used to be a country that worked for people and the general good (although never equally) and then Reagan and the 80s came along

Kathleen Mireault (211)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 9:00 am
Sounds great to me! Thanks for sharing, Dandelion.

Evelyn B (61)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 11:39 am
The challenge is translating these principles into real practice in a world that has huge problems, & pragmatic responses have to be made. Communism started with similar values & went astray.

Meanwhile - money talks - and changing that involved massive revisions of all the laws, agreements, treaties that have been set up in their interest. As long as such massive protection exists, they have the power to fight any such revisions.

Oil, arms, chemical agro-industry & banking businesses will fight dirty to prevent change ...

But if one doesn't even try, nothing at all will change for the better (for the 98% ) ...



M B (62)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 12:01 pm
"...we recognize that unappealing jobs will long remain.... . And this undesirable work should be among the best, not the least, rewarded work within the economy." The low - educated will get the dirty jobs; that won't change - Beware, with simular speeches our socialist party was wiped off the playground (!)

Caitlin M (104)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 3:45 pm
Evelyn once again said it better than I could. I so agree (but I couldn't send another green star). And Monka got a star from me because she made such good points. This is a good article. Thanks, Dandelion.

. (0)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 5:30 pm
Just as communism marketed itself as democratic and socialist it was nothing like it. It is the same as capitalism which is a system that works. What we have been experiencing since the age of industrialization is corporatism.
True capitalism has a social conscience. It supports and funds programs that benefit the people. This is the exact opposite of those who today claim to be capitalists.
The looming paradigm on the horizon is an oligarchy wherein the few rule the many much as the royals did during the apex of the age of divine rights of kings. If we are not careful we shall wind up with an autocracy.
How else do we explain how so few own so much and yet thirst and covet complete and total control and ownership of the entire planet; its resources and every creature inhabiting it?

Athena F (131)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 7:23 pm
thank you

JL A (281)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 7:28 pm
Thanks Dandelion. Perhaps Bernie will succeed in educating enough people about that the theoretical tenets of the different political theories actually are instead of the perverted images misuse has created over the last century.

Val D (34)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 11:53 pm
Thank you! This was super good.

Inge B (199)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 11:57 pm
Can we have leaders / chiefs, and at the same time democracy...???


Jonathan Harper (0)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 12:35 am

Arild Gone for now (174)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 3:41 am
"Many northern European countries enjoy tremendous prosperity and relative economic equality thanks to the policies pursued by social democratic parties. These nations used their relative wealth to insure a high standard of living for their citizens—high wages, health care and subsidized education. Most importantly, social democratic parties supported strong labor movements that became central players in economic decision-making."

Being a Norwegian I could have written a long answer to the benefits of having a social-democratic system,coming from one of the world richest Countries in the world where the wealth is distributed fairly and evenly and Norway being a Country witch have many natural resources to accumulate it's wealth we also have one of the worlds biggest pensionfunds to take care of our future generations..If any of you want to learn more about the benefits of living in a Country with a social-democratinc system just Google it.

Mitchell D (86)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 6:42 am
Thanks, Sheryl.
Michael K. and Arild put it very well.
Here, this is to begrimed of, hoped for and worked for, despite the obstacles!

Arild Gone for now (174)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 7:17 am
Let me just add something Mitchell D,"there is no such thing as a free lunch",in Scandinavia we're used to high taxation because we know that at one point in life you will not be able to work anymore and since we have paid so much in taxes we get a very good pension/disability pension,free healthcare of the highest standard,childcare for everybody,4 to 5 weeks of paid holidays every year,up to one year with between 80 to 90% of your salary to take time off when the family increases with a newborn pluss a safety network to catch everybody who otherwise would have fallen trough the cracks.
But as I wrote,you must be willing to pay higher taxes and I don't see that happening in USA in the foreeable future.

Terrie Williams (798)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 10:04 am
Thanks for getting this out Sheryl!!!!!!

Winn Adams (179)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 10:33 am
Evelyn said it all for me. Wish I could give you another green star. Thanks Sheryl for sending this to me.

Sheryl G (360)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 11:04 am
Thanks to everyone who has thus far come onto the thread and left a comment, and to those who have read this even if they didn't comment. I thought it was important to place on here since Bernie Sanders has chosen to run for President. There is too much misinformation as to what socialism is let alone Democratic Socialism that I felt I should do my part to bring this to C2.

Whether one wants to vote for Bernie Sanders or not is one thing but I don't want people to not vote for him due to misinformation or confusion. As JL A has stated, there has been perverted images and misuse this last Century as to what Democratic Socialism truly is or is not. I leave this for anyone wanting to explore more.

Mandi T (367)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 11:28 am
Noted, ty Sheryl

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 12:44 pm
Now here are the problems:

Ultimately, management is a job that must be done by an individual. That individual will hold power over others and will do so professionally because most high-up management-jobs are highly skilled labour and cannot just be done on rotation. The power-structure that Democratic Socialism opposes exists out of necessity and will continue to exist. The trouble in the USSR was, in part, that they threw out all the centuries of collected knowledge of how to select managers efficiently and instead just did the best they could while remaining politically viable. I'm not saying capitalism is the best possible solution but, after many thousands of years of division of labour, we are already sitting on a highly optimized system and radical experimentation will typically yield far worse results. The economic failure of the USSR was not about the tyranny and oppression that democratic socialists oppose, but about something which is present in democratic socialism too.

Regarding the incentive to work, meaning and value in work are important, and they do motivate people. However, to maintain the emotional attachment to work which drives this motivation, they require the worker to see the fruits of his or her labout. That will not happen in any working unit that serves the global, rather than local, economy. Such units, whether companies or other institutions, form the cores of local economies, driving inflow of wealth (which then flows out as people need goods or services which cannot be locally provided). Unless everybody is so committed to the success of the socialist project that it may dominate their lives, the collapse under any form of socialism will begin with these cores.

U.S. socialists have generally not really learned the lessons from other countries that they promote. Social services are not the same as socialism as defined in the Q+A. Canada's healthcare system, for example, is about as far from under the control of the people most affected as possible. More importantly, there is the difference between the general welfare and the aggregate welfare of individuals. The Northern European countries ran programs which benefited their people as a unit, not just individually. For example, the Swedes designed an education-system and their trade-policy around exporting engineering consultancy-services to the rest of Europe. Money did not just go out to people in need, nor was it about providing services to specific people. The primary benefit cannot be traced to any individual person, but, through the production of a new industry, to the country as a unit which has been reaping the benefits since and people have benefited. This feature is not present in the bulk of initiatives advanced as "Socialist", which concentrate on providing benefits to individuals seen as being in need rather than the larger objective of the well-being of the country and, when looking at that latter objective, fail in any reasonable cost-benefit analysis.

All that said, Democratic Socialism is a good thing to consider, not because following its prescriptions would lead to anything close to its ideals, but because it is touches on a lot of good ideas and provides another angle from which to consider them. I'm pretty clearly not for promotion of socialism, but its study is worthwhile.

Past Member (0)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 1:43 pm
Thank you Dandelion :) This is really very interesting.
(no I didn't read it yet. I copy it for home...)

Birgit W (160)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 2:36 pm
Thanks for sharing Dandelion.

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 3:38 pm
Noted. Excellent article---thanks for posting, Dandelion. Great explanations. And it is so unfortunate that the word "socialist" has become so hated, much like "communism" was back in the day. We should see socialism as an antidote to that which has overtaken U.S. politics---oligarchy tending towards fascism.

Debra G (0)
Thursday May 7, 2015, 11:57 pm
Thanks for posting. I don't doubt that the Republicants are salivating over the chance to disparage Sen. Sanders, but he's smart and quick-witted and should reduce them to babbling idiots - not that some voters could tell the difference.

P A (117)
Friday May 8, 2015, 12:57 am
Thanks Dandelion - excellent comments too!

Sheryl G (360)
Friday May 8, 2015, 3:44 am
Scandinavian countries are Democratic Socialism and they have strong economies, high standard of living, good safety net programs, quality full health care for all and their children are able to compete on the global market, in fact Finland ranks top when testing against all other Countries. Democratic Socialism is therefore working, what is not working is what many of us are dealing with in the USA with unchecked Capitalism.

Past Member (0)
Friday May 8, 2015, 8:12 am
It's true that people in Scandinavian countries pay a much higher tax rate---but it comes back to them, and all their fellow citizens in many wonderful ways, and the citizens are informed enough to understand that. Here in the U.S. "taxes" has become another dirty word, like socialism. We spend way to much of our federal revenue on feeding the military industrial complex with our huge "defense" budget, when that money should be spent on bettering the lives of our citizens. And the tax code needs to be reformed anyway, the very wealthy and the corporations that supply their wealth should be taxed fairly. A lot of education needs to be done if American voters are going to understand the not-so-subtle nuances in time to vote intelligently, in their own best interests, in time for the 2016 election. Thanks for posting Dandelion, let the enlightenment begin!

Mitchell D (86)
Friday May 8, 2015, 7:12 pm
Sorry bout that:42 AM misprint: the stupid "correct-spell," or whatever it is called wrote "begrimed of" instead of "be dreamed of."

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday May 9, 2015, 1:03 pm
Is okay Mitchell, I have misprints and I can't even blame it on the "correct-spell" I could follow what you meant by the rest of the words.

Michael M (60)
Saturday May 9, 2015, 8:07 pm
While we see theoretical critiques claiming that decisions should not be communal, we also find extreme difficulties with the idea of private land ownership, and indeed the scramble for private property.
Since as Dandelion knows, I have often suggested that we look to the communal and social ways of indigenous North Americans for sustainable societies without significant internal dispute, we might begin to critivcize the "takers" a common indigenous realization of the Euroamerican people who colonized this land.

There is little difference between libertarians who want almost no governance (strangely they thus approach anarchists, whose massive difference is that they are idealists who believe in equality of respect, unlike the private-property libertarians) and the progressives.

ALL, and all in between believe in the validity of private property, disputing ONLY how close to absolute it is (perhaps this is a legacy of "an Englishman's home is his castle").

The perceived threat of socialization, or community ownership, is what drives the use of the word "socialist" in the USA as an epithet.

Yet, with the constraint that no social action deeply affecting a community be taken without the consent of all - or nearly all, excepting only the really nutty, we have democracy that actually worked and worked for countless ages.
In order for this to reoccur, the use of weapons on one another must be completely abjured, upon pain of expulsion from a community. Yes, traditionals had clans whose job was to police, but important decisions required council of the whole, and every possible stakeholder
(does anyone remember the tale I posted, of "who speaks for wolf?" I mean, the WHOLE, including each Other creature affected).

I live among the last of the redwoods, the largest things ever having lived on earth. What right, for instance, have men to take and profit from the life of something that lived and sheltered and made rain for over 2400 years, longer than nearly all human recording, and certainly all if you include its parent?

So, socialism to be viable must involve the strongest use of the human heart. No argument against it could then stand.
If socialism were merely about me, me, me, my wife, my offspring, my job, you JOB, then it is nothing but clamoring of Takers.

If, in our own private lives, we become more generous, more caring, then we will create the ideal, which I have mentioned, existed, and still exists in traditional peoples right nearby most of you.

We cannot any longer accept the liberal ideal of private property, as that has made hell of Earth (conservatives are merely Lockean liberals (the whole idea of private property began around his time, as Europe moved away from nobility in hierarchical ownership - all were mere managers except the regent), who fight against governance of their exploitation of land they claim.

Watching the USA fight over how many pennies are given to governance, and how lesser of more violently threatening the Government should be toward those foreign entities who might prevent private profit, I see idiots arguing uselessly, or fiddling while the forests, the waters, and the inhabiting beings who innocently live and give all life to humans, die.

What are "taxes" when the only true leader, the sun, rises and gives to the plants who make the food and air, giving themselves to the animals, of which we are merely the most ignorant and selfish?

Why are we blind to the lives of our relatives, through whose lives, all of which we are made, also flows?

What kind of relationship should we EACH be making?

One of conscious sharing, or one of killing and accumulating pretend scores with no heart, no love for the others who walk, swim, fly grow before our very eyes?

You decide; I can tell you that you might plug your ears right through your life's end (I have seen this, and could never be part of such a way), but what is life, without the joy of being, knowing that ALL is gift, constantly giving and accepting?

Tell us, when the time is for your leaving.


Elle B (84)
Sunday May 10, 2015, 9:49 am
In spite of ALL the wisdom put forth for centuries addressing this issue...we still have the same problem yet unresolved. .

"Above all things good policy is to be used, that the treasure and moneys in a State be not gathered into few hands. For otherwise a State may have a great stock, and yet starve. And money is like muck, not good except it be spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing or at least keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trades of usury, ingrossing great pasturages, and the like." ―SIR FRANCIS BACON, Essays, Civil and Moral, XV, Of Seditions and Troubles, (1697-1625)

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ―THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1812

"It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs.” ― THOMAS JEFFERSON, to Thomas Cooper, 1814, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

“I have two great enemies, the Southern army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. And of the two, the bankers are my greatest foe.” ―ABRAHAM LINCOLN (response to the National Banking Act 1863 proposed by Bankers)

“My agency in promoting the passage of the National Banking Act was the greatest financial mistake of my life. It has built up a monopoly which affects every interest in the country. It should be repealed, but before that can be accomplished, the people will be arrayed on one side, and the banks on the other, in a contest such as we have never seen before in this country.” ―SALMON P. CHASE, Lincoln's Sec. of Treasury, shortly after passage of the National Banking Act, 1863

"I consider the individual sovereignty of the states retained under the Act of Confederation to be of the second class of rights. It becomes dangerous [...]. It answers the pride and purpose of a few Men in each State, but the State collectively is injured by it." ―THOMAS PAINE to Thomas Jefferson, February, 1788


Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 20, 2015, 4:47 pm
Thank you and noted Dandelion. Man will be forced to regain his memory of the truth that all men are as one---separateness was erroneously created by man and has long been the excuse for calling another his enemy. My thoughts on the subject of democracy ruling economy and society are a blend of the blood in my veins--John Adams and Ancient Native Americans. My heart and soul says, return to the Indian spiritualistic communal ways. My head says, man has too long lived with the idea of separateness for it to work. Also, something new has been added--drastic overpopulation--with resources and environment in dire trouble. Whatever name we put on a new Socio-economc structure, it has to give men one last chance to set separateness aside---work as one, united--and set as their main goal the pouring of all they possess--into saving Earth. In this unification, more memories of oneness will return--as Earth responds positively, so shall man--and save himself in the bargain. If that idea becomes the new Democratic Socio-Economic Society--I vote yea.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 20, 2015, 4:51 pm
As Columbo used to say---just one more thing---Michael M's comment is very moving and is Truth--- jogging the memory of mans's oneness with man, animal, Earth, his environment---and the unseen positive forces who we came from and shall return to and who are patiently watching and waiting for our amnesia to be cured---hopefully in time to save all that is.

Leanne B (46)
Monday July 27, 2015, 12:02 pm
Great post great comments.

Gina Caracci (219)
Friday July 31, 2015, 6:35 pm
nicely and easily explained

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday August 1, 2015, 5:53 am
Thank you. I thought with Bernie Sanders running this was important information. Too many have something else in their minds as to what it is.
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