4.7 Economics and culture

The defining economic and cultural characteristics of a green social democracy are essential to each other, that is, together they define a qualitatively distinct form of society. As such, each becomes a reasonably full and stable characteristic of the society when the others are also achieved. A corollary is that none of the essential characteristics of a green social democracy can be fully and securely achieved in isolation within a neo-liberal capitalist society.

As described in more detail by the authors in chapter three, such a green social democratic society differs from a neoliberal capitalist one principally by the subordination of all economic enterprises to the democratically constituted people's assemblies. In the process of transition from capitalism, it also may differ from Marxian socialism ("the common ownership of the means of production") by the conditional, continuing existence of some capitalist enterprises functioning within the market economy. In any case, all economic units in a green social democracy, whether privately or publicly owned, would be responsible to the people, primarily to the achievement of the people's aims, as determined democratically. Characteristic of this new socio-economic system would be:

(1) economic and social policy established by democratically formed governing bodies, in a bottom-up form of democracy in which the highest authority would be the community in which a given economic unit is located or is licensed to operate;

(2) conflict of interest legislation that would prohibit economic units, including their owners and managers, from corporate participation in democratic decision-making, reserving that right to the individuals who comprise the community, one-person-one-voice-&-vote, with violations punishable by loss of the continuing right to own or manage capital and with financial liability for any resulting harm; and

(3) the limitation of ownership – private or public - to optimal scale through the legal right of government to require the break-up of a privately or publicly owned business or the merger of two or more businesses in order to achieve an optimum combination of maximum social benefit and minimum waste of human and natural resources.

Now let's consider each of the six elements of green social democratic culture that we have elected to single out. Visually, these might best be considered as sectors of a circle, each representing a spectrum of related ideas, with links from each sector across to each of the other sectors, forming a web. Such is their inter-relatedness and their integrity as a unified system. The order in which they are considered below is completely arbitrary, as any re-ordering of them should reveal. In each case, at least until green social democracies become established in some countries, we must discuss each in the context of the transitional struggle for a green social democracy currently underway.

The full expression of a green social democratic culture and its stability can only be achieved when all the elements of such a society are achieved, whether through a lengthy historical period of mutually supportive reforms, a revolutionary response to a catastrophic socio-environmental crisis or a process that can best be described as falling somewhere between these two extremes. In any case, the process has already begun - as readers may discern from their own experience. What follows, then, is the authors' view of how the process might unfold, whatever the speed at which it can or might occur.


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.