Historian Giles Udy explains the difference between “Social Democracy” (e.g. Scandinavia) and "Democratic Socialism” (e.g. Venezuela).
I’m one the of few of my friends and rellies who has lived in a proper socialist society: China in the late seventies, when it was at the fag end of the Cultural Revolution. Well before Deng Xiaoping allowed free enterprise to explode China’s wealth. And I know Scandinavia. So I can relate to the difference Udy describes.
The distinction is important. Because people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Not the "Social Democrats of America”. The Democratic Socialists. Many folks thinks AOC is just looking to Scandenavianise the US. But she’s a down-and-out socialist, and I critique her here. Socialism does not work. I’ve seen it not work, with mine own eyes. In China I had ration tickets to buy the cotton for my clothing, ration tickets for my rice and the rare treats of meat. We had ration tickets because socialism was unable to produce them. But, hey, equality!
Life lesson: Only free enterprise delivers what socialism promises.
Short version of the difference:
- Social Democracy: Capitalism is OK, but needs to be controlled and channeled, so society is fair.
- Democratic Socialism: Capitalism is the enemy and must be abolished.