We libertarians think it’s fun to call Bernie Sanders a socialist, but he really isn’t one. He’s not even a democratic socialist. He is a social democrat. There are important distinctions in these definitions (italics by me for emphasis):

Democratic socialism: a political ideology advocating a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system, involving a combination of political democracy (usually multi-party democracy) with social ownership of the means of production.

Social democracy: a political ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving welfare state provisions, collective bargaining arrangements, regulation of the economy in the general interest, redistribution of income and wealth, and a commitment to representative democracy.

Notice that Sanders does not endorse the idea of social ownership of the means of production, which is the traditional definition of socialism. He does want to grow the welfare state significantly. This leads us to the nordic model, of which Sanders frequently espouses his admiration. According to this year’s Economic Freedom Index, Denmark is actually on par with the United States in its economic freedom despite their their deeply redistributive systems. But as it turns out, they have freer trade and a better business environment than the United States. This is why I believe that Denmark, while far from perfect, can serve as a model nation for the United States in some areas.

Here is a video of Denmark’s Prime Minister explaining how Denmark is a market economy:


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