An ideology establishes a group’s values and preferences and includes a program of action to carry out the defined goals. The term ideology was coined by the philosopher Destutt de Tracy in the late 18th century.
Below are listed the main types of socioeconomic ideologies and their characteristics:
Classical and Neoliberal Liberal Ideology
Since the 17th century, the ideology of liberalism has been a cornerstone of Western social, economic and political systems.
This ideology was born through the writings of the philosopher John Locke and became even more famous in the 18th century, after the philosopher and economist Adam Smith came to defend it.
The main features of classical liberal ideology are:
- Full faith in the rights, freedom and individuality of each individual;
- Advocates policies and actions aimed at protecting social values;
- Believes that the state needs to have less control over the individual;
- Considers free competition, free trade and freedom of choice as the three basic principles of a free and happy society and the key to progress;
- It is strongly opposed to the ideologies of totalitarianism, fascism, Nazism and communism, as it believes that they are destructive ideas that annihilate individual initiative and freedom;
- It rejects the idea of total state control or even excessive state control over the individual.
Like classical liberalism, this new version of the ideology believes that the state should have as little interference as possible in the labor market or even in the lives of individuals.
It is known and criticized by opponents for defending the privatization of state-owned companies and the economic principles of capitalism.
Fascism was the political ideology that dominated many places in central and eastern Europe between 1919 and 1945. In addition, it attracted many adherents in Western Europe, the United States, South Africa, Japan, Latin America and the Middle East .
Europe’s first fascist leader was Benito Mussolini. Mussolini named his party after the Latin word fasces , which refers to a bundle of sticks with an ax on their surface, used as a symbol of penal authority in ancient Rome.
The main features of fascist ideology are:
- Extreme militaristic nationalism;
- Contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural freedom;
- Belief in the natural social hierarchy and the dominance of elites;
- Desire for Volksgemeinschaft – German expression translated as “community of the people” – in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation.
From the late 1940s onwards, many fascist-oriented parties and movements were founded in Europe, as well as in Latin America and South Africa.
Although some European neo-fascist groups attracted many followers, especially in Italy and France, none were as influential as the main fascist parties of the interwar period. Ideology definition
Its origin was still in Ancient Greece, with the ideas exposed by the philosopher Plato. However, the greatest precursors of this ideology are Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, known for supporting communism through their theories and one of the most famous books: the Communist Manifesto.
The main features of the communist ideology are:
- Advocates the extinction of class struggle and private property;
- It defends a political and economic regime that provides equality and social justice among individuals;
- It believes that the State is an instrument of exploitation in the hands of the rich, that’s why it defends a classless society and the State;
- Believes that the political and economic system must be controlled by the proletariat;
- Strongly opposes capitalism along with its system of “bourgeois democracy“;
- It is against free trade and open competition;
- In the sphere of international relations, it condemns and rejects the policies and actions of capitalist states.
Democratic ideology emerged at the end of the 19th century, within the proletariat movement, as a variation of socialist ideology.
The Social Democratic Party emerged in an attempt to dose the excesses of capitalism with socialist-inspired policies. Ideology definition
This ideology was implemented especially in Europe after World War II.
The main features of Democratic Ideology are:
- It defends the guarantee of equal opportunities through social policies, without, however, ending private property;
- It believes that the State can intervene in the economy to correct inequalities produced by the free market;
- Aims for social well-being without socialist revolution and without giving up capitalism;
- Its main values are equality and freedom;
- It defends that the State guarantees a minimum standard of living, as a safety net for individuals.
Today, democratic ideology competes with liberalism as the main ideology in democratic countries.
Countries like France, Germany and the Nordic countries favor social-democracy ideology, while the United Kingdom and the United States favor liberalism.
Capitalism is an economic system in which private entities own the factors of production. The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources and labor.
Owners of capital goods, natural resources and entrepreneurship exert control through their companies.
The main features of capitalist ideology are: Ideology definition
- The State intervenes little in the labor market;
- The worker is salaried;
- Owners control the factors of production and earn their income from their own property;
- It requires a free market economy to be successful and distributes goods and services in accordance with the laws of supply and demand;
- There is a division of social classes;
- Private property predominates;
- Theory of Surplus Value: term coined by author Karl Marx, Surplus says about the great economic abyss caused by capitalism, which generates social inequality between employers and employees.
Understand more about the characteristics and history of Capitalism .
Conservatism was born in the 16th century, but it became known after the French Revolution, when the Irishman Edmund Burke, father of conservatism, argued vehemently against the ideologies and theories of the revolution.
The basic ideas of conservatism are the preservation of the principles and values of social institutions, such as the church, family and community, in addition to the honorable development of individuals.
The main features of conservative ideology are:
- The values: political and economic freedom and social and moral order;
- It is founded on Christian doctrine and has its basis in religion;
- He believes that only the political-legal system guarantees the necessary equality between people;
- Believes in meritocracy, where social inequality is a consequence of differences between individuals and their efforts;
- He believes that any change must be light and gradual. Ideology definition
Anarchist ideology emerged in the mid-19th century, after the Second Industrial Revolution. The theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakunin are considered its greatest creators.
One of the greatest curiosities of this ideology, which already makes its political and social position clear, is the origin of the word. Anarchism originated from the Greek word anarkhia , meaning “without government”.
The main features of anarchist ideology are:
- Establishment of a classless society, formed by free and equal;
- Condemns the existence of the police and armed forces;
- Believes that political parties should be dissolved;
- They defend a society based on total freedom, but responsible;
- It is against any type of domination, be it religious, economic, political or social;
- It is in favor of equality, be it race, gender, political, economic and social;
- He does not believe that the State should be abolished, but fights for it not to represent the will of the people.
The adherents of anarchist ideology seek a social revolution, which is mainly made by workers who feel dominated and oppressed by some kind of authority.
It is an ideology based on the premise that individual loyalty and devotion to the nation-state trump other interests, whether individual or group.
The main characteristics of nationalism are:
- It praises the country, its culture, history and people;
- The interests of the nation are above the interests of the individual;
- It defends the culture of belonging and identification with the motherland;
- It believes in preserving the nation and taking care of the country’s borders;
- Maintenance of the native language and cultural manifestations. Ideology definition