Social democrats are primarily interested in finding ways to reform capitalism out of existence. Unlike many Marxists, they favour gradual change rather than the chaos created by revolutions and believe that the capitalist state can be used against the exclusive interests of the capitalist class and made to serve the common good. Social democrats tend to want to use social policies to create a more egalitarian society. Like social liberals and many conservatives, they often subscribe to an organic theory of society in which society is seen as an interdependent organism that evolves over time and influences the character of the citizen body. It is argued that society has a life of its own and that individuals have a responsibility to nourish the social system. Sidney Webb (1889), for example, pointed out that we all have social functions to perform and that individuals develop by contributing towards the social good rather than by acting in ignorance or indifference towards the good of society. What follows on social democracy will draw heavily upon British social democratic theorists including the Fabian Society, Ramsay MacDonald, Tony Crosland, R.H. Tawney, T.H. Marshall and Aneurin Bevan. Special attention will also be given to the policies introduced by the Labour Party in Britain and international examples will be used for comparative purposes.
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