Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social democracy (sometimes used synonymously with democratic socialism ) refers to a political tendency resting on three fundamental features: (1) democracy (e.g., equal rights to vote and form parties), (2) an economy partly regulated by the state (e.g., through Keynesianism), and (3) a welfare state offering social support to those in need (e.g., equal rights to education, health service, employment, and pensions). Very often, socialist democratic parties are members of the “Socialist International,” an organization of social-democratic, socialist, and labor parties that pursues mutual cooperation. This entry discusses social democracy's roots and its fundamental characteristics and modern development. Inspired by the 19th-century German economist and sociologist Karl Marx (1818–1883), social democrats traditionally deemed total equality the final goal of efforts to remedy the plight of the working class. They regarded the capitalist economic system as the cause behind society's ills. With close ties to the then budding labor movement, social-democratic ...