Monday, December 18, 2006

Socialism and social democracy

The term socialism, used from the 1830s onwards in France and England, was directly related to what was called the social question, in essence the problem that the emergence of competitive market societies did not create liberty, equality and fraternity for all citizens, requiring the intervention of politics and social reform to tackle social problems, injustices and grievances a topic on which Jean-Jacques Rousseau discourses at length in his classic work The Social Contract. Originally the term socialist was often used interchangeably with co-operative, mutuality, associations and collectivist.

The term social democracy originally referred to the political project of extending democratic forms of association to the whole of society, substituting popular sovereignty, the universal franchise and social ownership for the rule of a propertied class which had exclusive voting rights.


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