The course on social democracy on the AP politics and public administration, Part I exam was taught by a professor who was a socialist political thinker. He subscribed to the economic theories of Marx, wrote a magazine that claimed to be an official publication of the socialist group, and had lectures on socialism, e.g., in the streets of Chicago. His association with Marxism did not influence his approach to the AP politics and public administration, Part I exam as much as his attitude to students.
As was the case in most courses, the study of political philosophy and sociology was the focus of the module. One course involved discussions on concepts like democracy, socialism, and nationalism. In another course, the relationship between society and the state was the focus. Still other classes included the socio-economic history of a country, the history of the economic development of a nation, and the constitutional systems of a country.
To me, social democracy seemed the least interesting class to study. Social democracy had been replaced by the traditional right-wing, and it felt more like sociology than politics. It would have been better to spend the same time studying the themes of ancient Greek politics.
For students who wish to pursue careers in government-related careers, there may be nothing wrong with taking the social democracy course on the AP politics and public administration, Part I exam. They may be required to take a test that covers other classes, so the course may not be mandatory. This module, though, is a good overview of the subject.
However, it is disappointing that students will spend time studying the history of a political theory, when academic research should be their first priority. Students are better off spending that time studying other topics of interest. As a teacher, I would like to see some progress in the AP test, and that is the part that I feel needs more attention.
For example, Peter Bernstein points out that the AP test only covers questions from the 1990s. Does that mean that students who have spent their college years in social democracy will find little information on the subject from the AP test?
The emphasis on social democracy is simply unrealistic. Social democracy cannot survive without the support of a strong industrial sector, or the masses. Economic stagnation will make people ask if the theory is still relevant.
What is needed is a theoretical presentation of social democracy, based on the practical experience of the socialist movements in Europe. This would include ideas about welfare and the distribution of wealth, and their impact on collective decisions. A future Marxist administration would then be based on social democracy and socialism.
P Benson provides an excellent introduction to the concept of socialism. He also points out the many pitfalls that can result from socialist-oriented policies. Some of those pitfalls include:
P Benson has already provided some of these points in “What is Socialism,” but he has addressed them in a way that makes them understandable by the average student. He offers valuable solutions to problems that make the concept accessible.
In summary, Social democracy may not be the only option for students who want to study the politics of social democracy. The modules are good for providing information, but they could use a more comprehensive presentation.