Democratic Socialism: Definition, Nature, Methods and Tenets!
In the simplest language democratic socialism means the blending of socialist and democratic methods together in order to build up an acceptable and viable political and economic structure. To put it in other words, to arrive at socialist goals through democratic means. It also denotes that as an ideology socialism is preferable to any other form such as capitalism or communism.
But though socialism is the supreme goal its realisation is to some extent polemical because at different times different people suggest different methods for setting up a socialist society and in these methods priority is generally given to revolutionary methods, specifically the class struggle or armed conflict. Because it is believed (by some) that only resort to armed struggle can bring about socialism.
But democratic socialism lays no importance to revolutionary tactics. So if socialism remains a covetable goal only alternative that remains before its supporters is peaceful and legal procedures which include parliamentary and democratic methods. Thus democratic socialism firmly stands on the conception that democratic methods (parliamentary, legal and constitutional) shall be the only methods for setting up a society based on the principles of socialism.
This democratic socialism includes both democracy and socialism and here democracy not in formal sense but in an operative sense. Formal sense means democracy has been interpreted by the theoreticians in their own ways. We refer how it works.
Origin and Development:
1. Evils of Capitalism:
Maturity of industrialism travelled along with the strengthening position of capitalism in the economic systems of Western European countries. Capitalism brought with it or facilitated the discovery of new scientific inventions and their implementation to practice. This helped the development of science and technology.
But capitalism, at the same time, created numerous problems or evils which appeared to be curse for the majority people of the society. The rapid progress of capitalist economy replaced the individual ownership and production system that prevailed in the pre-capitalist era. It destroyed the old cottage and small scale production system and in that place set up large scale production.
Financial and production system was centralised and the decentralisation was replaced. Wealth and profit were centralised in the hands of a few persons. In the pre-capitalist epoch there was the system of the worker-owner-producer-manager. That is, the same person performed all the activities.
Naturally there was no scope of worker-manager relation and tension became the characteristic feature of the capitalist system of production. “The old middle classes of independent entrepreneurs were gradually replaced by the new middle classes of dependent managers, executives and lower echelons of the white collar salariat”. In a word, capitalism produced tension and conflict ridden social, political and economic system.
2. Capitalism Encouraged its Rise:
From the history of Western political thought we come to know that in the medieval period rationalism, independent thought, penchant for ideology had no scope to .thrive. But the advent and growth of capitalism provided potential fillip to these virtues and these virtues gradually strengthened the foundation of capitalism and stimulated its expansion. But it was found that subsequently capitalism was about to kill these virtues and this it did to serve its own purpose.
Ebenstein observes, “The same spirit of critical rationalism later turned against capitalism itself by refusing to accept private property in the means of production on the basis of unquestioning loyalty and mere legal authority”. At the initial stages capitalism in various ways encouraged the individual liberty in economic and political fields. It supported a liberal system of education and economy.
It encouraged liberalism in political sphere. But when the progress of capitalism eroded all these people began to use the weapons provided by capitalism. People used these weapons in self-defence and unfortunately capitalism had nothing to do. Common men raised their arms against the growing miseries and impoverishment which they believed were the consequences of capitalism.
Capitalism created contradiction and this, in turn, forced people to criticise capitalism. A large number of men began to blame capitalism for all the evil effects of industrialism. In short, the role of capitalism worked as a Frankenstein monster.
3. Democratic Socialism was Thought more Suitable:
In the middle of the nineteenth century the birth of a new ideology, the Marxian socialism, created new hopes and aspiration in the minds of numerous men who were quite eager to save people from poverty and squalor of life. But the high hopes were destroyed by the support of armed revolution, class struggle and emergence of totalitarianism.
We have already noted that a large section of population practically had no faith in armed revolution and this firmly rooted disbelief led them to search an alternative way to set of socialist society and this was found in the structure of democratic methods. It was finally concluded that armed revolution could be a means of socialism but it was also a destroyer of democracy and constitutional government.
These people began to ponder over a compromise between democracy and Marxian socialism. After good deal of consideration they decided to set up a socialist society by applying democratic means. They also thought that totalitarianism could never be the alternative to capitalism. Capitalism, no doubt, created certain evils, but functioning of totalitarian system was more dangerous.
Democratic socialism promised to follow dogmas but at the same time it promised to be more pragmatic. It never gives to adhere to the dogmas without considering the practical situation. We find a relevant comment in Ebenstein’s writing: “Democratic socialism cannot afford to follow dogmas for dogmas’ sake but must prove pragmatically through actual accomplishments”.
Nature of Democratic Socialism:
1. Democratic socialism is not a complete departure from Marxian socialism. Democratic socialism cannot be treated as a complete departure from Marxian socialism. It attempts to compromise between Marxian socialism and the long cherished ideas and principles of democracy.
But this compromise cannot be regarded as a sacrifice of the basic tenets of Marxian socialism. Democratic socialism strictly adheres to the fundamental principles of Marxian socialism. To use Bernard Crick’s phrase “it is at least an equally authentic popular tradition of Marxism”. It was created in the tradition and intellectual environment of Marxian socialism.
Naturally it is supposed that Marxian socialism will have tremendous influence upon this ideology. (Many scholars do not intend to call it an ideology). It is not a departure from Marxian socialism is evident from the fact that many principles of democratic socialism are derived from the Marxian socialism.
Both blame the capitalist development as the chief factor of the growing miseries of the common people, both strongly argue for nationalisations of means of production, both support control of capitalism etc.
2. “Democratic socialism is a child of modern society. It struggles against the evils that flow from private property, yet realises that all forms of private property are not necessarily evil”. This observation of Crick clearly shows that, like most of the ideologies and doctrines, democratic socialism can be regarded as the product of contemporary events. The contemporary events demanded the restriction or control of authority upon the capitalist system of production.
3. Democratic socialism demands reformulation of economic and political liberties. During the different phases of capitalist development the chief protagonists of this system stridently argued for the expansion of rights and liberties of economic and political categories because such rights and liberties could free the individual from the bondage of state authority.
The argument of this type gained sufficient weight during the period of absolute monarchy. But subsequently people’s voice against excessive emphasis on rights and liberties gathered storm. It was felt that certain amount of state control over the rights and liberties in economic sphere was necessary.
But there was hardly any scope of curtailment of rights and economic liberties in capitalist system. Because it was thought (and to some extent correctly) that it would lead to the loss of capitalists’ freedom to pursue economic activities. Reformulation of economic liberties was demanded on pragmatic reasons.
The unbridled activities of capitalists were creating heaps of evils and problems which required solution. It was believed that solution lay in the restrictions imposed upon the capitalists. The democratic socialists selected the method of controlling.
4. Ebenstein says that revolutionary communism (many call it revolutionary socialism) and democratic socialism are used interchangeably and this tendency is unjustified. There are two important differences between the two. The revolutionary communism (or socialism) is committed to the principle of public ownership of the means of production and all forms of private property whereas democratic socialism does not advocate complete nationalisation of all properties.
Its principle relates to selected nationalisation. Another difference has been stated by Ebenstein in the following words: “To the democratic socialists the freedom of the individual is so all-important that he puts it above everything else”. But, on the other hand revolutionary socialism regards the freedom of the individual important but does not intend to award supreme importance to it. In capitalist society all the organs are biased and freedom is misused.
5. Democratic socialism is based on relative concepts. Democratic socialism is viewed relatively. Democratic socialism is not pure capitalism nor pure socialism. It is the blend of two, if not more. It opposes capitalism but does not want its complete abolition, because it does not think capitalism out and out dangerous. A democratic socialist society is constructed within the framework of capitalism.
Democratic socialism is viewed as the combination of all (or most of the) advantages of both capitalism and socialism. There is a place of revolution in democratic socialism but this is not to be termed in the light of Marxian revolution. Democratic socialism envisages of a revolution in the attitude, behaviour, outlook and social structure. If men’s minds are not revolutionised, if there is no revolutionary change in their thought system, if common people are not prepared to welcome changes, no reconstruction of society is possible.
Though democratic socialism is predominantly concerned with economic restructuring of society its link with politics and other aspects of society cannot be forgotten. Considering all these points one can say that democratic socialism is not pure, it is relative, relative in respect to capitalism.
Methods of Democratic Socialism:
1. Since democratic socialism falls in the category of evolutionary socialism it avoids in all probable ways the techniques of armed struggle or revolution. In its account force or coercion is associated with revolution and, therefore, it should not be used. There are many peaceful ways which can be applied for “reaching the goals of socialism. Moreover, coercion means the abduction of freedom of the individuals and such course of action is to be avoided at any cost.
2. The most important peaceful way is the reforms. The democratic socialists want to build up socialism within the main structure of capitalism and because of this they argue for introducing reforms. They believe that if reforms are successfully implemented they can produce the results which revolutionary socialism promises to bring forth.
3. To proceed step by step is another method which has an important place in this form of socialism. This is also called gradualism. Gradualism cannot be separated from (in strict sense) reformism. Both rule out abrupt change. The implication of gradualism is it helps people to realise the importance of socialism. It is the belief of the democratic socialists that socialism is not something which can be imposed upon the people; they must be prepared to accept it physically and mentally. The former means there shall exist a physical environment which is favourable to welcome socialism. People must also be mentally prepared.
4. Economic planning, introduced to streamline production and distribution in a planned way, is an important method of democratic socialism. The management of production and the distribution of produced commodities is performed through planning. Planning in democratic socialist state plays a very crucial role. Because of planning the management of economy proceeds in a definite and scientific way and this assures the attainment of promised goals, especially the proper distribution of wealth, and in this way the reduction of inequalities is possible.
The proponents of democratic socialism claim that one of the great curses of capitalism is the great inequality in income and wealth and this curse is the product of unplanned economy. Democratic socialism wants to save the society from this curse and because of this reason it forcefully advocates the introduction of planning. By planning we mean to take decision in a scientific way and then to implement it decisively.
There is hardly any scope of intervention of imagination and orthodoxy in the field of economy. There is another aspect of planning in democratic socialism. Participation of people in planning activities at various stages is ascertained so that people of all walks of life can have first-hand knowledge about the performance of economy.
The technique of planning was first introduced by erstwhile Soviet Union in the thirties of the last century and later on it was emulated by other countries specially the countries professing socialism as their goals. After the Second World War the Labour Party government in U.K. introduced planning in some cases.
5. Along with planning the democratic socialism adopts a very pragmatic step and this is preparation of schemes and projects and to adopt a right way and right time for implementation of the schemes and projects. Needless to say that planning and this technique are closely related. Planning envisages of taking action in a calculated way so that unforeseen incidents cannot disrupt the functioning of the economy.
For the proper preparation of planning and its implementation schemes and projects are prepared in a calculated way so that the planners can reach the goals uninterruptedly. Future is reflected in the schemes and projects and this makes the functioning of economy smooth.
6. Mention has been made about the fact that democratic socialism is largely based on compromise. It accepts nothing as final and absolute. There is very little scope of dogmatism in democratic socialism. It tries to proceed in a balanced and calculated way. In our analysis of democratic socialism as a relative concept we have portrayed the nature of democratic socialism.
We have noted that this concept has not completely rejected either capitalism or socialism. It retains capitalist state minus its coercive nature and exploitative function. It, at the same time, accepts the socialism minus revolutionary methods. Ebenstein says, “All successful democratic government is a compromise between public control, efficiency and private initiative. It will take effort and thought to work it out”. It attempts to avoid hasty judgment and undigested suggestions.
Tenets of Democratic Socialism:
Based on Cluster of Values:
A close analysis of the different principles of democratic socialism and various aspects of its functioning reveal that the whole doctrine (it is also called a political ideology) is based on certain cluster of values or principles and if these are taken away the whole fabric will be a hollow one. One such principle (or tenet as many call) is the concept asserts a strong and deep-rooted relationship among various sections and segments of people and social structure.
Let us quote a lengthy passage from Crick’s small book Socialism:
“The theory is that the rise and fall and the cohesion of societies is best explained not by the experience and perpetuation of elites, … nor by the initiative and inventions of competitive individuals, … but by the relationship to the ownership and control of the means of production of the primary producers of wealth—in an industrial society, the skilled manual worker.
The doctrine asserts the primacy and mutual dependence of the values of liberty, equality and fraternity and it draws on the theory to believe that greater equality will lead to more cooperation than competition, that this will, in turn, enhance fraternity and hence liberate from inhibition, restriction and exploitation both individual personality and the full productive potential of society”. In this passage Bernard Crick has briefly stated the theoretical foundation “of democratic socialism.
These are the principles and basic tenets of the concept:
1. Democratic socialism is a cohesive system or it purports to be one. It is claimed by the democratic socialists that a pervasive cooperation is built up in a socialist society on the basis of planning, participation and cohesion. It has been asserted that democratic socialism gives primacy to planning. Through it participation and decentralisation are realised. Everyone gets full opportunity to take part in the economic and political affairs of the state.
There develops a strong feeling of cooperation among all people. Adherents of this doctrine assume that this process goes to ensure good relation among all sections of community, which other doctrines lack perceptively. Since sources of production and methods of distribution are owned by the society, people are not divided into owners and non-owners—and this is a great step towards unity and good relationship.
In capitalist state institutions are formed to further the interests and financial benefits of the capitalists. But in a democratic socialist state this process is abandoned. All the institutions and organisations are meant for the acceleration of the general interests of the body politic. When people are free from economic bondage goodwill and friendship find scope to flourish.
Suspicion and ill-feeling take back seat in the arena of social relationship. But cooperation and good relationship cannot be achieved in a society whose members are deprived of basic educational facilities and that is why it has been suggested that basic education must be available to all people. The goal, however, remains the same.
2. Democratic socialism is committed to more liberty. In our analysis of liberty we have elaborately discussed the positive and negative aspects of liberty. It is the positive nature that is predominant in political theory. It means that political scientists prefer positive to negative meaning. If so, for the proper realisation of positive liberty the intervention of state is essential.
The most disadvantaged and the wretched individuals must be lifted from their ignoble condition and this can be done by the state. Democratic socialism says that the doors of liberty shall be opened to all and not to few. Only the socialist methods based on democratic principles can do this. Bourgeois concept of freedom revolves around the notion that non-interference of state is the best way to protect liberty.
But when this principle is implemented the result has been that very few persons get to reap the fruits of liberty. In the core area of democratic socialism lies the idea that society will be restructured in such a manner that everyone gets the opportunities to enjoy liberty and the democratic and socialist methods are the only highways to reach this ambitious goal.
It is loudly claimed by the democratic socialists that allowance of scope to everyone for the enjoyment of liberty will finally open the way for overall participation in the processes of state. This we can call maximisation of liberty. It is further asserted that a socialist and democratic structure of political system can ensure this.
When liberty in its full form is realised the participatory democracy finds its proper meaning and worth. Along with liberty, social justice receives better treatment in a democratic socialist society. We thus see that justice and liberty form a basic tenet of this doctrine.
3. Every democratic socialist claims that equality is a very important value or principle. In a socialist society based on democratic values and principles everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy equality. In other words, unjustified or unreasonable differences cannot be allowed to rule the society. Equality also means the absence of special privileges.
In a capitalist society the glaring economic differences among people vitiate the normal relations among them; these also deprive them to have an access to the opportunities created by the state. To establish equality is an important value of democratic socialism. Through constructive efforts and adoption of clear principles/decision the state proceeds continuously to realise the principles of equality.
It is the goal of democratic socialism to bring the chief sources of production under the authority of state and to give due share to labour. It is believed that only socialism can do this. There are, however, different versions of equality- based society. Some are of opinion egalitarian society is better than equal society. The democratic socialists are, of course, very alert about the drawbacks of equality. It does not mean sameness.
There is a suspicion as to its implementation. Equality in the allotment of opportunities cannot be made a reality because of the fact that there are practical difficulties. Many socialists do not agree with the Rawlsian theory of equality. There are also other notorious difficulties.
4. Fraternity is the final value of democratic socialism. Bernard Crick defines it in this way: “Fraternity is an attitude of mind and one associated with activity Fraternity is not radiating an abstract love of humanity, it arises from people actually working together towards common ends”. Like other values (liberty and equality) fraternity is also closely related to democratic socialism.
Rather, it is an important part of socialism based on democracy. In the definition noted above we have said that when fraternity reigns in society all or majority people work together and there exists a common end. The agreement advanced by the democratic socialists is that when a society is free from all types of exploitation and the whole society is the owner of wealth, there emerges an atmosphere of fraternity, then people will develop the feeling of brotherhood. There will not be an artificial discrimination among people, all will work together.
Crick writes: “Fraternity must involve common tasks and activities and an exultant recognition of diversity of character. Fraternity implies individuality, not sameness, but like socialist ethics in general it is also concerned with how individuals can work together and contribute to the common task of a reforming society”. This is the broad meaning of fraternity.
People must work unitedly and must contribute to the social progress unitedly. All must cherish a feeling of unity. There shall exist an atmosphere of harmony. The socialists assert that they strive relentlessly to create that situation. Fraternity will be fully realised when a society will be able to make for its citizens the following goal: “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”.
Democratic Socialism Assessed:
1. Democratic socialism is better than collectivism and capitalism. Reviewing F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom Orwell said: “Capitalism leads to dole-quakes the scramble for markets and war collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader- worship and war. There is no way out of this unless a planned economy can somehow be combined with freedom of intellect”. Although Orwell does not directly refer to democratic socialism he indirectly refers to it and this is clear from his statement. Both collectivism and capitalism are associated with notorious difficulties.
They are the most powerful usurpers of individual freedom. Particularly collectivism does not give any recognition to freedom of the individuals. Personality cult, statism and unconditional obligation to state authority are the declared principles. Though capitalism openly promises to protect liberty and rights in practice all these are meant for elites or who are the owners of property.
Naturally, the only alternative that remains is democratic socialism. Even Marxian socialism is treated by many as a variant of collectivism. Joad thinks it in that light. All liberals and democratic-minded people love both freedom and absense of exploitation. After the Second World War, particularly from the mid-fifties of the last century, it was being pondered over that an alternative to collectivism and capitalism must be found out.
In Britain political scientists, statesmen and politicians heavily leaned to the democratic form of socialism. It has been estimated (at least by Crick) that so far as freedom is concerned it is superior to capitalism and collectivism.
2. Democratic socialism is a contradiction in terms. Edward Burns draws our attention to another shortcoming of democratic socialism. In his estimate the concept is almost a contradiction in terms. Democracy and socialism are opposite terms and they can be achieved separately not combinedly.
If there is socialism the basic democratic values and principles are to be sacrificed and vice-versa. Peaceful coexistence between the two is just like a daydream. Socialism entails a drastic economic and political transformation of society and in that situation democratic lives, principles and values are completely disrupted.
Some socialists argue that this disruption is temporary and may be later on restored. But opponents of socialism do not agree with this. The disruption is, however, a fait accompli and restoration is quite uncertain. If so how can we say that both are attainable simultaneously?
3. In democratic socialism there is how much socialism and how much democracy is a matter of great doubt and the concept is followed by a big question mark. Even strenuous efforts cannot remove this question mark. People may seriously try to get both but it is not possible in practice. In former Soviet Union, it is claimed by her supporters, there was socialism.
Even if it is admitted that (for the sake of argument) there was perfect socialism, we must say that (and our assessment is based on facts) there was hardly any democracy. People’s participation in the governmental process was quite negligible, top party leaders, in reality, decided everything and the decisions were imposed upon the mass. This was the real picture.
4. Bureaucracy is all powerful. The authority of a democratic socialist state becomes increasingly dependent on bureaucracy. This is not a concocted charge, but a reflection of the real situation. Party leaders have no experience in administration.
For smooth administration/management of state technical hands and persons having special knowledge are required and only bureaucracy can provide this. This results in an increasing dependence of party and different agencies upon the bureaucracy.
The bureaucratic administration of capitalist system finds its repetition in socialist states and, it is observed, democratic socialism is not an exception.
5. A socialist state based on democratic values, principles and structure is not free from the evils of class-divided society such as USA. (All the capitalist states are divided by classes). In other words, it becomes the victim of the evils of class society. In one form or other different classes are formed such as bureaucratic class, technicians’ class, white collar workers’ class.
These classes may not be in full conformity with the classes defined by Marx and subsequently explained and elaborated by Lenin (The Beginning). The simple fact is that even the so-called democratic socialist or simply socialist states are swallowed by classes and class divisions.
Once the classes appear and tend to dominate all the evils of class society surface. Several critics of former Soviet system have drawn our attention to this drawback. Though there are multiple reasons of the collapse of the Soviet system class conflict is regarded as one reason.
6. A very grave charge leveled against democratic socialism is since it is the product of capitalism; it is not possible for it to get rid of all evils, of capitalism. We have noted earlier that democratic socialism makes compromises with many of the values and principles (such as existence of state, institute of private property etc.) of capitalism. This type of compromise will notoriously affect democratic socialism.
It has been observed by Ralph Miliband that though the people of democratic socialist state get comparatively more liberty and rights these are less than the adequate quantity. This is due to the predominance (in some fields) of capitalist principle. Observers are of opinion that this is unavoidable.
A socialist society in order to be perfect must be built upon the ashes of capitalism which means that capitalism is to be destroyed at first and then socialism will be set up. In a democratic socialist state capitalist forces will be quite active and they will go on influencing the functioning of the state system in a clandestine way.
Miliband and many others support this view. So we can say that the very scheme to build up socialism in the capitalist structure is building a castle in the air. In such a system people will never have full control over the means of production and methods of distribution. Either the reactionary or capitalist forces will do the job. To sum up, democratic socialism cannot be the real prophylactic device to the ills of capitalism.
Market Liberalism, Freedom and Democratic Socialism:
A point which has been emphasised many a time is that there is no conflict between socialism and democracy; rather it is a fact that one is incomplete without the other. But there are several stalwarts of political science who bring home the point that socialist measures initiated by government on behalf of the entire society are sufficient to erode political freedom and also spontaneity of individuals—a potential factor of social progress.
Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom was published in 1962 and this work is treated by many as a classic work in defence of free market liberalism which ensures maximum freedom to individuals both in political and economic spheres.
Friedman, in this book, has argued that for the maximisation of freedom the government should be allowed to handle only those matters which cannot be handled through the market at all or can be handled at so great a cost that the use of political channels may be preferable.
We know that there are several facets of democracy and one such facet is to give maximum freedom to all its individuals. Milton Friedman in his Capitalism and Freedom says that democracy and state interference are both antagonistic terms. Democratic socialism, in its simplest form, indicates that for larger benefit of citizens and to combat pernicious effects of industrial absolutism the government must check the free competition among the private entrepreneurs and fortify its own control over the economy.
Friedman has challenged this notion by saying that free market liberalism or competitive capitalism is the most powerful component of political freedom and also of economic freedom. Regulatory measures are to be reduced to the minimum.
Friedman has observed that political freedom in the Western World clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. History suggests this is a necessary condition for political freedom.
Friedman has argued that whenever the government has proceeded to interfere with the economic activities of individuals that has appeared as a serious hindrance to the exercise and development of freedom.
On the contrary, the setting up of capitalist institutions has acted for further freedom. Hence it is an unnecessary and harmful attempt in the guise of bringing about welfare to restrict liberty. Friedman has concluded that so-called socialist measures must be stopped.
C. B. Macpherson in his Democratic Theory:
Essays in Retrieval have strongly refuted the argument of Milton Friedman. “The liberal state which had, by the mid ninetieth century in England, established the political freedom needed to facilitate capitalism, was not democratic: that is it had not extended political freedom to the bulk of the people. When later, it did so; it began to abridge market freedom. The more extensive the political freedom, the less extensive the economic freedom became”. The historical development of political freedom, therefore, suggests that the free market liberalism is not closely connected with political freedom.
Friedman has discovered a link between economic organisation and political freedom. He observes “the kind of economic organisation that provides economic freedom directly, namely, competitive capitalism, also promotes political freedom because it separates economic power from political power and in this way enables the one to offset the other”.
The concentration of economic power, Friedman thinks, is the negation of political freedom. Whereas socialism strongly advocates for accumulation of economic power or the transfer of management of sources of production to the authority of state.
Again if the state authority enjoys exclusive power over production and distribution affairs that will invariably invite coercion and indiscriminate use of physical force. Friedman says that the strong arm of physical coercion extends to both economic and political fields and drastically curtails both freedoms. Hence, in his judgment, state should never be allowed to control economic affairs.
But C. B. Macpherson is of opinion that Friedman is quite wrong. In competitive capitalism, the economic power fully controls the political power. Not only this, who will be the elements of political power that will be decided by the holders of economic power. The picture of a capitalist welfare state was so much active in the mind of Milton Friedman that he failed to consider the general character and functioning of capitalism or capitalist states.
It has been emphasised that in democratic socialism there is less of democracy or no trace of democracy. The whole system is tilted to socialism and in Friedman’s view socialism does not create any congenial atmosphere for the thrive of political freedom.
The socialist model of state politics and economics is found in societies which are underdeveloped. The developed and industrialised societies have vehemently opposed the introduction of socialism, because they always give utmost importance to political and economic freedom. This indicates that socialism or any of its variations cannot be encouraged to spread roots in liberal democratic societies.
It has been noticed that socialism generally comes out of revolution and revolution means the destruction or disruption of normal democratic procedures and values and incapacitation of democratic institutions. Sometimes socialism is preceded by civil war and this again endangers political freedom.
The fundamental premise of the liberal democrat is quite wrong. The concentration of economic powers in the hands of few does not mean the expansion of political freedom. Political freedom without an emancipation from economic bondage is meaningless and today many liberals admit that emancipation can be achieved only through socialisation process.
Socialist process, again, cannot be allowed to erode the democratic values and cripple democratic institutions and for the attainment of this lofty ideal democracy is to be made a companion of socialism. There is no conflict or animosity between the two.