What Socialism Is and Is Not

Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms.[1] Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system.[2][3] By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive,[4][5] with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce[6][7] or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.[8]The socialist calculation debate concerns the feasibility and methods for resource allocation for a socialist system.[9][10][11]

Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production.

Socialism is an economic and social system in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the people. It is often contrasted with capitalism, where the means of production are owned and controlled by private individuals or corporations.

Socialism can be used to refer to economic systems such as those found in China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam; however it can also refer to political parties such as the Socialist Party (France) or the Socialist Party USA. In this context, socialism refers to a state-controlled economy where most goods and services are produced for public use rather than for profit. In contrast with capitalism which allows individuals or companies to own land, factories and other assets that produce goods or services for sale at a price set by supply/demand; in a socialist society no individual owns anything but rather everything is owned collectively by everyone else within society through their government representatives who act on behalf of all citizens who live under that particular nation-state’s jurisdiction

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Democratic socialism “seeks to achieve a milder form of socialism through reforms to capitalism rather than through revolution.”

Democratic socialism is the idea that democracy and socialism are compatible. It’s the most commonly used definition by those who wish to distinguish their positions from authoritarian forms of socialism, and it’s also the most common definition in use today. The broader term “socialism” has been used to refer to multiple things since its inception (for example, both market-oriented social democratic policies and revolutionary state-led communism).

Social democracy has often been used as a synonym for democratic socialism, but there are key differences between these two concepts that are worth noting. For one thing, social democrats generally believe in using social welfare programs like universal health care as a means of improving society—but they reject statist forms of government control over industry or private property rights like those employed by communist regimes. In other words: Social democrats support government regulation of business activity (such as laws against fraud), but they don’t advocate an outright seizure of private property through taxation or nationalization schemes like those seen under authoritarian socialist systems such as Soviet Russia or China under Mao Zedong.

Market socialism describes various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy.

Market socialism, also called market socialism with Chinese characteristics, is an economic system where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. It is neither “state communism” nor “state capitalism,” but represents an alternative third way between the two.

In China, under Deng Xiaoping reforms (1978–1992), the state still owns all land and natural resources because they are considered to be of strategic importance, but entrepreneurs can rent them on long-term contracts to build their businesses. There are also various forms of cooperative enterprises that operate successfully alongside private companies.

Market socialism differs significantly from non-market socialism in that the profit motive and market forces would replace central planning as the allocator of economic resources.

Market socialism differs significantly from non-market socialism in that the profit motive and market forces would replace central planning as the allocator of economic resources. In a market socialist system, enterprises are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned by their employees and managed through democratic elections between competing candidates.

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The criteria for determining whether a society is socialist has to do with how much control over the economy is vested in public ownership. If an enterprise operates on its own without state direction, it can be considered “private” even if it is owned by a state entity such as a municipal government or non-profit organization (such as The United States Postal Service).

Market socialism is neither “state communism” nor “state capitalism,” but represents an alternative third way between the two.

Market socialism is neither “state communism” nor “state capitalism,” but represents an alternative third way between the two. It was advocated by economists such as Léon Walras, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx (who identified it as indicative of his own version of socialism), although never implemented.

Socialism has been used to describe many different ideologies and political movements throughout history. The term often refers to a range of economic systems that share the idea that property should be owned collectively or by a centralized state rather than individually.

The core principles of market socialism can be broken down into three broad categories: central planning, social ownership, and democratic control.

Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labor movement.

Syndicalism is a form of anarchism and was a major force in the labor movement around the turn of the twentieth century. It’s a revolutionary form of socialism that aims to replace capitalism with worker control over society. The basic idea is that workers should control their own workplaces through direct democracy, rather than having bosses do it for them (which is what happens under capitalism).

The goal of syndicalism is not simply to overthrow capitalism but also to abolish class distinctions entirely by de-structuring society and redistributing wealth on an individual basis. Syndicalists want everyone—not just workers—to share in profits from common ownership and production; they believe this can happen without any need for state intervention or assistance whatsoever.

In contrast with anarcho-communism, syndicalism holds that trades unions are ultimately to become industrial unions who control the economy within an anarchist society.

Syndicalism is a form of socialism based on the labor movement, which advocates direct worker control of industry through the formation of trade unions. Syndicalists seek to abolish capitalism and the state with a libertarian socialist economy.

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Libertarian socialism, or socialist libertarianism, is a term coined by James Lane in 1854 as an alternative name for anarchism and was used by Joseph Dejacque in 1860 to describe himself and his associates; he said that “[w]e are Socialists because we do not believe in authoritarian government”. The terms anarcho-socialist or anarchist-socialist have been used to describe socialists who wanted to replace capitalism with any type of decentralized federal economic system without hierarchies like corporations but still retaining private property rights. The term social anarchist has also been used to describe these types of socialism.[12]

In contrast with anarcho-communism, syndicalism holds that trades unions are ultimately to become industrial unions who control the economy within an anarchist society.[13][14]

Democratic socialism has derived its support from multiple political parties, including social democratic parties, such as the Australian Labor Party, Social Democratic Party of Austria, New Zealand Labor Party, Australian Democrats, Brancepeth Castle Socialist League, Finnish People’s Democratic League (formerly SKDL), Italian Socialist Party, Russian Social Democratic Labor Party alongside other smaller non-Sanctioned socialist groups like Socialist Alternative.

The practice of democratic socialism has derived its support from multiple political parties, including social democratic parties such as the Australian Labor Party, Social Democratic Party of Austria, New Zealand Labor Party, Australian Democrats, Brancepeth Castle Socialist League, Finnish People’s Democratic League (formerly SKDL), Italian Socialist Party, Russian Social Democratic Labor Party alongside other smaller non-Sanctioned socialist groups like Socialist Alternative.

Socialist legislators have been elected to office in various European and Latin American countries; for instance former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was a member of the Workers’ Cause party until he joined the Workers’ Party in 1980.

Conclusion

In conclusion, socialism does not describe a single system but rather an approach to society and economy. The socialist aims for equality in outcome, as opposed to equality of opportunity, which is usually the end goal of liberal societies. Socialism holds that human nature is perfectible through socialization and education, with individuals being able to reshape themselves into collective entities. In this view, societies should either eliminate or minimize economic inequality wherever possible so as not to allow individual choice between alternative courses of action based on one’s relative affluence. Thus the public good becomes paramount over private goods—or even private rights—and collectivized ownership is preferred over individual property rights.

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