Is social democracy finished?
in What’s in it for me?
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Social democracy seeks compromise between capitalism and socialism, advocating democratic collective action to achieve political and economic freedoms. Recent social democrats have made mistakes, presiding over deregulation and unordered immigration. This is related to globalization, a process estranging social-democratic elites from concerns of traditional supporters. Social-democratic acceptance of capitalism, a long-standing left-wing criticism, is associated with such failures.

Despite mistakes of social-democratic politicians and the challenge of globalization, social democracy has redeeming features. Emphasis on economic security means that it averts the instability associated with conservatism, while respect for individual rights counters national-populist stigmatization. Social democracy also avoids difficulties associated with the new left; restrained patriotism appeals to lower classes, while preference for gradual change avoids potential instability. In a way which other worldviews are not, social democracy is based on compromise, making it an appropriate governing tactic.

Because of divisions in its base, between authoritarian lower classes and liberal middle classes, social democracy may have entered terminal decline. If this is the case, the ability of social democracy to reconcile separate interests might be emulated by alternative positions.

What’s in it for me?

Self-interest and political difference


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