A Definition of Democratic Socialism
". . .people should themselves have the decisive say in matters that most directly affected them, for the simple reason that they knew best."
". . .of more basic concern to Norwegian society was the unemployment, bitterness, strikes, and even something resembling a real battle between workers and soldiers. For the first and only time in Norwegian history the army was deployed by the government in what became known as the 'battle of Menstat' near Skien in June 1931. Some workers were arrested and sentenced, but no one was killed. The two parties that put their signatures to the Basic Agreement only four years later were the trade unionists' organization, the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions, and the Norwegian Employers' Confederation. This agreement formed a framework for later negotiations on binding agreements about wages and conditions, and it ensured that the two main parties in industry had control over their individual organizations and members. As a compromise agreement bridging a social and economic gap during a period characterized by conflict and hostility, it is quite unique in European history.
Portrait of a Nation
A Needlessly Controversial Term
The term "democratic socialism" refers to a conjoined system of governance and economics. The system of governance is democracy, while the system of economics is one of compromise between public and private ownership. The state doesn't monopolize ownership of productive facilities, but extreme concentrations of wealth are prohibited, often, in part, through progressive taxation and estate taxation. This goes a long way toward preventing the sort of corruption that arises when wealthy individuals and/or monster corporations acquire too much political influence via their wealth.
More fundamentally, democratic socialist nations prioritize human well-being. By contrast, the managed democracy of the United States instead prioritizes the wealth and power of a handful of CEOs and bankers. It also promotes war, militarism, and arms sales for profit, with "defense spending" comprising the single largest sector of government expenditures. Revealingly, the quality of medical care in the US lags far behind that of other advanced nations, while at the same time being the most expensive. While the absolute amount of US foreign aid is high, it is low as a percentage of the gross domestic product. It is primarily the nordic countries, like Sweden and Norway, that lead the world in foreign aid.
In consequence of properly set priorities, political unrest is comparatively minimal in social democratic countries, and corruption is also relatively minor.
Although such countries as Norway and Finland outperform the United States on virtually all measures of human well-being, this system of governance is virtually never presented favorably in the corporately-dominated American mass media, and even the internet reveals gross bias. Misleadingly, authoritarian countries like Venezuela are often referred to as "democratic socialist".
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