It serves not as an alternative to capitalism itself, but rather a different, “friendlier” version of it. To many, the social democratic system seems like a good middle-ground between capitalism and But social democracy is a system built not only on the exploitation of the workers in the country it is established, but also on imperialistic exploitation of the global south’s “third world” countries.

Social democracy is not viable without the luxury that cheap offshore labour provides. If conditions for the workers in third world countries improve (e.g. child labour is outlawed and the 12-hour workday is changed to an 8- or 6-hour workday), the standards of living in social democratic countries fall. In fact, socialists want more welfare and social security for the people. Socialists want to ensure that everyone has a place to live, enough food and water to lead a healthy life, as well as free access to good schools and hospitals, among other things (parental leave, work safety laws, paid sick leave, paid vacation, etc.).

The economic theory behind—an economic system in which citizens share ownership of the various factors of production—is community or solidarity. Socialists believe people should value the freedom and well-being of others as much as their own, and that the economic system should support that goal. In the purest form of a capitalistic system (sometimes referred to as laissez-faire capitalism), private individuals are unrestrained, and the economy operates without any government checks or controls. Private individuals and businesses may determine where to invest, what to manufacture and sell, and the prices of goods and services. A quick glance at history and anthropology will ruin the idea that “human nature” is a static unchanging thing.

Most countries are mixed economies, falling somewhere on the spectrum between pure capitalism and pure socialism. Kirsten Rohrs Schmitt is an accomplished professional editor, writer, proofreader, and fact-checker. She has expertise in finance, investing, real estate, and world history. Throughout her career, she has written and edited content for numerous consumer magazines and websites, crafted resumes and social media content for business owners, and created collateral for academia and nonprofits. Kirsten is also the founder and director of Your Best Edit; find her on LinkedIn and Facebook. There have always been different types of socialists — not to mention wildly varying ideas of what the “means of production” are, what role government should have, and where free enterprise might still fit in.

Early Christian communities also practiced the sharing of goods and labour, a simple form of socialism subsequently followed in certain forms of monasticism. For Jabari Brisport, a New York state senator elected in 2020, “What means is that energy, housing, health care, education, finance, and transportation … shall be controlled publicly and not run by, for profit motive.” They are not members of the current socialist party, called Socialist Party USA, or of the nation’s biggest socialist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America , which has about 70,000 members nationwide. But a substantial minority of voters hold a positive view of both systems — 25% of the overall group of Americans surveyed by Pew felt favorably about socialism as well as a capitalist economy. Some general advice I can give, which does apply to everyone the world over, is to find like-minded people and coordinate with them.