Talk:Social democracy

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You do know that the Scandinavian countries have a highger gdp per capita than Great Britain, right? And that Norway has a higher gdp per capita than the USA? Or wait, you didn't know that since you claimed it was the other way around...

Source: — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Iceland and Ireland had at one stage (Maybe still do) among the highest GDP per capita in any country in the world. GDP per capita is almost as faulty a barometer of economic performance as GDP itself, considering both those countries were haystacks ready to fall over with the first financial wind (My country, Ireland, was saved by the Europeans. Poor auld Iceland had to rely on the Russians) I much prefer Gross National Happiness. MarcusCicero 18:34, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Rosa Luxemburg murder[edit]

If you want this fact to be included, by all means write an article about her, she was an interesting and notable politician. But don't use it to smear Social Democrats in general. Point out the ideological differences, mention that Socialists think Social Democrats have abandoned the revolutionary cause, that's all fair. But a political murder that happened over 80 years ago is simply not relevant to the distinction between Socialists and Social Democrats, and it's not an issue that sets them apart, not even in Germany. Röstigraben (talk) 19:58, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

While we're at it, we could use some citation of the other part, i.e. that "many" socialists dislike liberal policies and such. Not that I know much about political factions, but it sounds either arbitrary or tautological. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 20:06, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
He called these policies neoliberal, which is shorthand for a somewhat overenthusiastic belief in free market perfection. That's an exaggeration, but he's right about a general trend among Social Democrats to move to the middle (or right), and the so-called "Third Way" is probably best exemplified by New Labour. This has pissed off traditional Socialists, and if he wants that criticism included, I'm fine with it - as long as he doesn't turn the article into an ideological smear piece. Röstigraben (talk) 20:15, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I see no reason not to revert anything not cited. It's clear he needs to learn joined-up argumentation in general - David Gerard (talk) 20:22, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

"Differences between Socialists and Social Democrats" - this section completely fails to say what they are. If the weird Luxemburg murder part is taken out, it says nothing about Socialism. Also, it's a bit out of date, something that happened in 1922 or so isn't very relevant to modern Social Democracy/Socialism. I suggest deleting the weird cruft and retitling the section. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:15, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

RationalWiki's silence on Social Democrats[edit]

I know the articles aren't exactly for pontification on preferred economic and social organization of societies, but seriously, the silence is still very conspicuous. I thought that rationalwiki was all about empiricism? I mean, seriously, how does a website with such a large UK and US population devoted to refuting crank or failed beliefs not come out more strongly for social democracies? Do the UK and US's neoliberal governments and societies have some feature to them that outweigh the benefits that, say, Scandanavian countries do not? If this is not the case, then what's with the measured, downright passive-aggressive 'support'? Dr. Swordopolis (talk) 04:38, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

There's still a lot of stigma surrounding social democracy, unfortunately, no matter how extraordinary its performance in Northern Europe. Appeal to emotion does a huge part - in North America it's a pipe dream considering it. The fear of tax increases and a slightly larger government will make the dreaded s-word come out in seconds (while, ironically, social democratic economies have some of the most lax barriers to free trade available). The risk of welfare dependancy is also hyped ie. Sweden in the 1990s, but even then it was simply a matter of shifting the Nordic Model slightly to the right in terms of privatization.
And then you have the eurozone crisis, where the Greece straw man is thrown around like crazy. For now, the Scandinavians will continue to laugh at us for being idiots. Simple as that. Osaka Sun (talk) 11:10, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
Americans will grow up eventually. Labour, hey, at least they still pay lip service to socialism, much like the ALP here in AU... if you read those largely unread party platforms/manifestos and other largely internal-focused documentation, as opposed to just a diet of mainstream election advertising (((Zack Martin))) 11:15, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

"Today" section[edit]

The "Today" section is full of nonsense.

No party in the Swedish parliment favour "nuking" the welfare state, or even cutting it in any meaningful sense of the term. Taxes remain comparatively extremely high (Top 1-3ish worldwide) despite a supposedly "centre-right" government having been in power for since 2006.

The section implies that Sweden has not been affected by the financial crisis. Fact is, just like the US and virtally every other western country, Sweden has also been severely affected by the financial crisis.

The section implies that Sweden is more regulated than Iceland and that this prevents Sweden from meeting the same fate as Iceland. In fact, there is no fundamental reason (except size of the economy) why Sweden may not meet a similar fate as Iceland did. There isnt much difference in terms of financial regulation between Iceland and Sweden. Sweden had a crisis in the 80s which Iceland did not.

The section implies that Sweden is more regulated than the US and that this prevents Sweden from taking on similar debt levels. In fact, Swedens debt levels are comparatively low in large part because it simply would not be possible for Sweden to lend equivalent amounts as e.g. the US due to the US dollar being the favored world currency.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

If you have some sources, please edit in.--Token Conservative (talk) 17:05, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
  • "No party in the Swedish parliment favour 'nuking' the welfare state, or even cutting it in any meaningful sense of the term. Taxes remain comparatively extremely high (Top 1-3ish worldwide) despite a supposedly 'centre-right' government having been in power for since 2006."
Yeah, that's exactly the point the section was trying to get across. Before the recession there was a belief that the Moderate Party was going to be Thatcherite, and we source that directly. There have been mild reforms, nonetheless.
I see. What mild reforms?
  • "Fact is, just like the US and virtally every other western country, Sweden has also been severely affected by the financial crisis."
Duh? It's difficult, however, to claim that Scandinavia is in a worse financial situation than the US and much of the West.
The section (at least to me) does come across as if Sweden is not or very little affected by the financial crisis, this simply isnt the case.
  • "The section implies that Sweden is more regulated than Iceland and that this prevents Sweden from meeting the same fate as Iceland. In fact, there is no fundamental reason (except size of the economy) why Sweden may not meet a similar fate as Iceland did. There isnt much difference in terms of financial regulation between Iceland and Sweden. Sweden had a crisis in the 80s which Iceland did not...the section [also] implies that Sweden is more regulated than the US and that this prevents Sweden from taking on similar debt levels."
You're going to need quite a lot of sources to prove that. Osaka Sun (talk) 17:58, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Why is the burden of proof on me? The section currently contains the unsubstantiated claim that Sweden is more regulated than Iceland, and thats the reason why Sweden hasnt met the same fate as Iceland- Im simply pointing that out.
For the record, here are some points and sources:
  • A common mistake is looking only at public debt. While Swedens public debt is not overly large (in no small part because of the fact that SEK is not like USD a world currency and it simply wouldnt be possible for Sweden to lend the same way the US does), total debt levels are comparatively very high and still climbing or accelerating.
  • Before the centre-right government came into power in 2006, the Social Democratic government had to take money out of peoples pension funds to finance themselves.
  • Sweden has a massive land and real estate bubble which has just begun to show signs of deflating. If other recent housing bubbles over the world are any reference, prices can be expected to fall 30-50%. This would be catastrophic since the vast majority of owners of real estate are heavily indebted, and foreclosures are not possible in Sweden.
  • TAXES are high but taxes are not regulation. Banks and financial institutions, just like in Iceland, are able to to lend freely with no or little securities and there are *no* minimum reserve requirements. Deposit/Reserve ratios in Swedish banks are some of the worst in the world. This has contributed significantly to the bubbles in land and real estate. Swedish financial markets have all the same types of products as the US or any other, including the ones popularly blamed for triggering the 2008 financial crisis.
(Swedish, use google translate to read in English)
"900% of GDP in debt"
"Real estate debt reaches new record levels"
"The Swedish debt bubble - companies"
"Swedish banks top leverage-ratio list"

The article also contains other suspicious claims, e.g. it says that Sweden enjoys comparatively high social mobility. In fact, while Swedens welfare guarantees housing, education and health care even for the poor, the rate of poor or middle class people that end up with high net worth is low compared to many other countries.

I just came across Rational Wiki yesterday and I was initially impressed with the idea, but after having surfed around a little this wiki sadly comes across as just another wiki full of poorly substantiated claims written by people who have little or no knowledge of the topics at hand; this article is an example of that. I have no stake or interest in improving the article, I just thought I could point out some problems with it. Do with it as you wish.

You made an even more common mistake when it comes to debt but not comparing it to gdp.
You are correct, however, that the recent deregulation may end in an economic depression for the Swedish. It was the Social Democratic party's embrace of neo-liberal policies that created the 1990's crises and The Moderate Party's embrace of the same values may create another as well.
Your claim that the Social Democrats used Pensions to "finance themselves" is somewhat suspicious. I have found no controversies or writings over this, nor have I heard of it before. You seem like you are trying to downplay the higher quality of life and longer life spans many poor to middle class people have in Sweden. Your claim that the net worth is much lower for the poor is also dubious, since many surveys make it seem the median net worth is much higher in the us simply because of a few extremely wealthy households being accounted for. Also, and more importantly, Sweden and other Nordic countries have pension plans that will set you up when you retire. Countries with weaker pension plans, such as the US , leave many people preparing for the future by accumulating wealth they can't actually spend. Whether that wealth is even enough to get them through their twilight years is debatable. Therefor most poor and middle class people are better off in Sweden. Your failure to account for Sweden's VERY strong pension plan, that is based on lifetime earnings, is your biggest offence. I'm with you on deregulation though, it's been a big mistake for Sweden to push it through and they will pay for it. When they do people may not look at the deregulation and just give up on Social Democracy, despite it being one of the best, if not the best, system for a country to operate on. I believe the main reason Sweden didn't get hit as hard as the US is because they've maintained high levels of spending on public goods whereas the US embraced more austerity, keeping government employees hired may have saved the Swedes. (talk) 08:56, 14 June 2013 (UTC)Clothcoat


I was wading through the Wikipedia Page on the Swedish Social Democrats and came across this paragraph:

"The economic crisis in the 1990s has been widely cited in the Anglo-American press as a social democratic failure, but it is important to note not only did profit rates begin to fall worldwide after the 1960s,[50] also this period saw neoliberal ascendance in Social Democratic ideology and policies as well as the rise of bourgeois coalition rule in place of the Social Democrats. 1980s Social Democratic neoliberal measures—such as depressing and deregulating the currency to prop up Swedish exports during the economic restructuring transition, dropping corporate taxation and taxation on high income-earners, and switching from anti-unemployment policies to anti-inflationary policies—were exacerbated by international recession, unchecked currency speculation, and a centre-right government led by Carl Bildt (1991–1994), creating the fiscal crisis of the early 1990s.[51 Englund, P. 1990. "Financial deregulation in Sweden." European Economic Review 34]"

So I remember coming across this paragraph a long time ago as well so its been around for awhile. I was wondering if you guys feel it's biased nonsense or has a point. I haven't studied this period of Swedish Economic history enough to be an authoritative figure, so I can't given an answer right now. ClothCoat (talk) 09:05, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

No, it's true, this is where "bitten off more than it can chew" applies. But even then it just meant tweaks to the system, otherwise it wouldn't be called the Nordic model, would it? Osaka Sun (talk) 14:09, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
But the paragraph seems to be defending the welfare state as it was and blaming the crises on neoliberal policies and deregulation, so if that's true it means it wasn't entirely the fault of the welfare system that caused the crises. ClothCoat (talk) 19:28, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for a new image[edit]

I think, that image should be used, since it is more associated with social democracy pr socialism in general then a simple rose.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 12:49, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

I disagree. That is the logo of the Socialist International and is fair use while the rose alone is public domain. What is RationalWiki's policy on images? (talk) 19:44, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Arisboch's suggestion with copyright being the only possible objection. I've also seen the "rose in hand" logo used by various social democratic parties (although its use seems to have declined somewhat, or at least I haven't noticed it as often) whereas the current image is little more than random clip art. As for copyright, is it any more problematic to use the "rose in hand" on RW than on WP? It's in the WP articles on social democracyWikipedia and the Socialist InternationalWikipedia — so unless RW runs a more cautious fair use policy, I don't see why the "rose in hand" can't become the lead image and the "clip art rose" either canned or moved further down the article. I've noticed that the "clip art rose" is used in the WP social democracy navbox, but suspect that's to avoid a tricky and/or cumbersome justification of fair use in every case where the navbox appears. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:35, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Criticism based solely on an IEA report is a bit, eh, tenuous...[edit]

Since the entire section of “actual criticism” relies solely on a report from the Institute of Economic Affairs, I have added some caveats. The report reads very much like the usual beltway libertarian think tank (sic!) publications that cherry pick whatever they can find to support their a priori conclusions, such as the (in)famous 2011 report from the Heritage Foundation that insisted that US poverty was not really a thing because 99.6% of the US poor had refrigerators (rinse and repeat for other appliances), an argument rehashed a year later by the Cato Institute.

The IEA seems to be using the same kind of dubious statistical shenanigans to marshal the argument that some vague “black box” of socio-cultural “values” are behind the apparent success of the Scandinavian countries and that this is actually hindered by the Nordic model. ScepticWombat (talk) 12:16, 28 August 2019 (UTC)


What is it? It's mention once out of no where with no link or anything to explain what's different or especially bad about them. It just looks weird to single them out when there's plenty of non anglo countries in the table that are just as bad regarding union membership. Féinléiriú (talk) 13:04, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Hi @Féinléiriú, thank you for your input and I think your point is valid and I should expand it (to be fair to me, I wasn't completely done editing the article). What I mean by anglo-conservative countries is 1) Five EyesWikipedia (except Ireland, but Ireland isn't really "anglo" either) member countries and 2) countries that follow the U-shape curve in top 1% income distribution (see If you check the logs, I initially wanted to include that graph in the article but decided not to, at the end. 3) Finally, these countries share more or less something called the Anglo-Saxon modelWikipedia. Let me know what you think. Feel free to edit the article too, if you want to correct some things (for starters: I am not a native English speaker so I might've done some grammar mistakes here and there). — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 13:10, 22 June 2020 (UTC)


@Goose4445 comparing the social standing of certain white people in different countries to criticize social democracy in favour of the USAs arguably white supremacist neoliberal system where those white people are marginally better off is completely invalid. — Z 23:13, 26 July 2020 (UTC)

Yeah, using race realism to criticize social democracy is garbage quite frankly. — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 01:21, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Hey, I wasn't presenting it as if I was making the argument, I was just presenting the criticism discussed in the book. Regardless, that argument does exist, so I think it should be discussed somewhere in this article. Maybe it deserves a paragraph in the faux criticism section? — Goose4445 (talk) 12:58, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
A bit of a late addition, but just so we're clear, @GR, while you may interpret the section as being race realist, that absolutely was not something I was trying to put forth with it. I was only interested in highlighting criticism that others had laid out. — Goose4445 (talk) 16:20, 27 July 2020 (UTC)


Oh, and @Goose4445, to be clear, I added the "+" signs to the correlation because they are explicitly signifying a positive correlation rather than a net correlation (which is the modular/absolute value i.e. |±correlation|. — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 12:31, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

Okay, thanks for clarifying. — Goose4445 (talk) 12:58, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

The SNP[edit]

The SNP are not a Social Democratic Party. They are neither a member of the Progressive Alliance or European Social Democratic Group. They align with the Greens and Regionalist when the UK was a part of the EU in the EU Parliament. To put them with other parties that are both a part of the Progressive Alliance and Social Democratic Group is wrong. They are a catch all party that have policies from the Left, Centre-Left & Centre. It's intellectually dishonest to put them alongside other Social Democratic Parties. -- (talk) 12:53, 16 January 2021 (UTC)

You're not wrong, BON. Scream!! (talk) 14:43, 16 January 2021 (UTC)