Socialism – a definition


What is socialism? This seems to be a convoluted term, similar to Communism. Communism is the final step in Marx’s  plan, where Socialism appears to be the first step – the downfall of capitalism. 

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with an egalitarian method of compensation.[1][2] Modern socialism originated in the late 19th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticized the effects of industrialization and private ownership on society. Karl Marx posited that socialism (the disappearance of class and therefore state) would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution after a transitional stage from capitalism called the Dictatorship of the proletariat.[3][4]

The utopian socialists, including Robert Owen, tried to found socialist factories and other structures within a capitalist society. Henri de Saint Simon, the first individual to coin the term socialism, was the originator of technocracy and industrial planning. The first socialists predicted a world improved by harnessing technology and combining it with better social organization, and many contemporary socialists share this belief.[5][6] Early socialist thinkers tended to favor more authentic meritocracy, while many modern socialists have a more egalitarian approach.

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, creates an unequal society, and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society. Therefore socialists advocate the creation of a society in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly based on the amount of work expended in production, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how and to what extent this could be achieved.

Socialism is not a concrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and program; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalization, sometimes opposing each other. Another dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split between reformists and the revolutionaries on how a socialist economy should be established. Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Socialists inspired by the Soviet model of economic development have advocated the creation of centrally planned economies directed by a state that owns all the means of production. Others, including Yugoslavian, Hungarian, Polish and Chinese Communists in the 1970s and 1980s, instituted various forms of market socialism, combining co-operative and state ownership models with the free market exchange and free price system (but not prices for the means of production).[7] Social democrats propose selective nationalization of key national industries in mixed economies, with private ownership of property and of profit-making small business. Social Democrats also promote tax-funded welfare programs and the regulation of markets. Libertarian socialism (including social anarchism and libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers’ councils and workplace democracy.

via Socialism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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