What Is Democratic Socialism?

In recent times Socialism has experienced a resurgence. People seem to be divided into 2 major political categories, right and left, conservative and liberal, capitalist and socialist. Each side attacks the other in a seemingly relentless battle of logic vs morality. Free market capitalism is not without its critics, often seen as an economic model that promotes dominance, monopolies and power. We will address Capitalism in a separate article, but for now lets focus in on Socialism, more specifically Democratic Socialism.

It is my belief that the idea of Socialism, currently being pushed by liberals is in fact an error of understanding and definition. Only a few years ago I started to pay close attention to the Scandinavian Countries and how they managed their economy and social system. I read about, how Scandinavia was leading the world as far as social wellbeing was concerned, but also in several other more specific areas. The word Socialism was often used to describe the economic model of these countries, but this was in fact quite misleading. I started to feel that Socialism was the answer and at the time, incorrectly aligned Socialism with Democratic Socialism. I continued to research Economics until I eventually gained enough awareness to reach an important understanding. The Scandinavian Economic Model, often referred to as the Nordic Model, was not Socialism, it wasn't even Democratic Socialism, it was in fact Capitalism. I was wrong in my original understanding of Socialism. The Nordic economic Model, the model responsible for the Scandinavian countries high rating for well-being and social progress, actually turned out to be Capitalism.

Why is democratic socialism actually Capitalism? Well it may not be Capitalism by definition, but I do believe the idea most people have of democratic socialism is simply an error in understanding. The Nordic model is essentially a free market, the primary differences being higher taxes and social programs designed to support the foundational aspects of society. Instead of the rich getting rich beyond comprehension, the tax system pulls at their wealth to pick up the people struggling at the bottom. It isn't necessarily just for the people at the bottom though, it is for anyone who wants access to some of the most basic expectations in developed societies, such as health care, education, welfare support and other social programs. The rich can still get rich, but it is understood that in order to look after everyone, the people at the top and on the way to the top will end up giving more back in the form of taxes.

The real truth seems to be- that Scandinavians appear to care more-so about their fellow man and woman to the extent that they are willing to forgo the freedom to generate wealth unchecked. The system is a vortex between the rich and the poor, pulling both ends to the centre, but not to the extent that it denies wealth creation for the rich, nor guarantee wealth creation for the poor. It is simply an approach designed to be reasonable, fair, considerate, generous, balanced and cooperative. This is the bare bones of it, but at the very least this article will hopefully demonstrate the fact that, what many believe to be Socialism is in fact a soft version of Capitalism.

The importance of this understanding is relevant to the current political climate. When promoting an idea, system or model, it is necessary to ensure that what we believe something to be, is in fact correct and accurate. Be careful to not allow emotions and a lack of awareness lead you astray, I know I did. The idea most people have of Democratic Socialism, is in fact watered down Capitalism, do your research and make up your own mind.