Democratic socialism combines the ideas that countries should be run democratically and that wealth should be shared and run as a group. People often mix up democratic socialism and socialist democracy, but they are not the same thing.
Nordic countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are all socialist democracies. Democratic socialist countries like Bolivia and Ecuador can often be found in South America. Before its recent political problems, Venezuela was another example of a democratic socialist country.
How do you define democratic socialism?
The New York Times says that democratic socialism is a political philosophy that is in the middle of communism and social democracy. In a communist country, the government controls the whole economy. Most of the time, the centralization happens after a revolution. North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam are all examples of communist countries.
Capitalism is allowed to be around in a social democracy. But there are also programmes to make sure that resources are shared and that the economy and businesses are run in a fair way. On the other hand, democratic socialism tries to get rid of capitalism and make the economy more centralised. Unlike communism, it doesn’t want to get what it wants by starting a revolution. Instead, it wants to get what it wants by using democratic practises.
Since 2015, when Antonio Costa was elected Prime Minister, the Socialist party has been in charge in Portugal. The Social Democratic party, which had been in charge of the country before Costa was elected, lost power when Costa won.
After an economic crisis that started in 2010, democratic socialism grew in Portugal. After the crisis, there were strikes all over the country, and the European Union helped the country out by giving it money. Costa was re-elected as Prime Minister in 2019.
Before Evo Morales stepped down as president of Bolivia at the end of 2019, the country was run by democratic socialist ideas. Under Morales’s leadership, the country gave Indigenous groups some of the power back. Morales became president for the first time in 2006. After trying to make term limits longer, he left office in 2019.
Also, Morales cut the number of poor people in Bolivia by more than half. NPR says that it went from being about 36% of the population to being about 17% of the population.
Rafael Correa was president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017. He also started the center-left political party PAIS Alliance. The party was democratic socialist when Correa was in charge.
But in 2017, Lenn Garcés took over as head of the party and president of Ecuador. Since Garcés has been in charge, the party has moved to the right. It’s no longer a democratic socialist party, but a socialist democratic party.
Before Hugo Chávez died in 2013, Venezuela was often held up as an example of a successful democratic socialist country. Since Chávez’s death, however, the country has been going downhill.
Nicolás Maduro became president of Venezuela in 2013. At that point, the economy of the country started to fail, and hyperinflation started to take hold. According to the BBC, the rate of inflation in the country in November 2018 was 1,300,000 percent. Since the economic crisis in Venezuela started, about four million people have left to find a better life elsewhere.