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What is the difference between Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism?

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    Hey guys, I'm studying for my political ideologies A2 level next week, and I'm unsure about the difference between Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism. As far as I can gather, Social Democracy is not really socialism, but simply democracy that emphasizes the importance of social politics. On the other hand, I have gathered that Democratic Socialism is socialism, but gradual socialism done through democratic reform, rather than the Marxist uprising of the proletariat and the overthrow of capitalism 'over night'.

    Please feel more than free to prove me wrong, thanks for the help. Good luck with any exams you may have coming up too.
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    I asked my politics teacher this question a while ago because I got confused aswell :')
    The way he explained it was that social democracy is more to do with policy. It's the idea that a moderate form of socialism can work within a market economy to produce fairer outcomes, through welfare and NHS etc.

    His definition of democratic socialism is similar to what you've written. He said that it is attaining a socialist state through democratic means, eg. revisionist/evolutionary socialism, perhaps through the ballot box.
    Hope this helps
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    social democracy is basically third way/new labour - most things are left to the market, education and infrastructure usually provided by the state but may be contracted private companies employed by the state - pro-business policies, some level of deregulation but not necessarily low tax - definitely lower than other forms of socialism. they tend to encourage co-operatives as an alternative to private enterprise within social democracy it varies though, nordic social democracy tends to be much more accepting of high tax and redistributive policies and closer to democratic socialism . democractic socialism is like post war britains government under atlee, most major industries are nationalised, private sector is highly taxed and usually limited to consumer goods, public provision of healthcare, etc. tend to be more hostile to capitalism, and closer to marx whereas social democracts tend to be closer ot the liberal tradition. its actually quite a blurred distinction however and easy to get confused

    social democrats - anthony giddens, blair
    democratic socialists - bernstein, tony benn, george galloway

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Updated: June 7, 2012
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