The Ideology of Social Ownership and Equality
Once, a reporter from the New York Times asked U.S. President Barack Obama if his domestic policies in 2009 were inclined to socialism. The president chuckled at the question and said “no.”
Well, not just for President Obama, but for most of the leaders and countries, socialism is a thing of the past. However, the same does not go for all. The ideology still prevails for many.
Fast forward to the presidential election campaign in the U.S. for 2016. One candidate, Mr. Bernie Sanders, has caught attention by reemphasizing the socialist ideology. During his speech, he repeatedly mentioned “income inequality” in society. Besides, he asked several questions that actually stemmed from the core concept of socialism.
Despite all his efforts, Mr. Sanders may be fighting a lonely battle. All the ideologies have their pros and cons. Their relevance depends only on the current social context.
By now, anyone can guess what “socialism” is all about? Yes, it is an ideology that favors an economic system where the government, rather than private enterprises, controls the most productive resources and their distribution.
In addition, the core concept of socialism revolves around “equality” by providing equal opportunities for education and healthcare and reduces discrimination of wealth distribution. In this way, it takes a different stance from capitalism.
Facts About Socialism
- In 1832, Frenchman Pierre Leroux for the first time used the term “socialism” in his journal Le Globe. Earlier in the 1830s, the followers of Robert Owen used the same term in England.
- In the history of socialism, some other eminent personalities that voiced in favor of the ideology were François-Noël Babeuf, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
- The historical events that can be connected with socialism had been the French Revolution in 1789, Socialist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, election of the first Socialist Party in 1899, and many more.
- The core concept of socialism isbased on “metaphysical egalitarianism.” It is the idea of absolute equality of man, society, and the universe. All the other principles of socialism originated from this fundamental principle.
- Socialism has a direct conflict with the idea of atheism, as the societal assertion on the infinite and omnipotent existence of God is poles apart from the principle of absolute equality.
- From the very outset, the ideological differences between socialism and communism are quite blurred. The reason is that both the ideologies share the common argument of transforming the society by eliminating poverty, inequality, and hierarchical distributions of power and wealth.
- Socialism is broadly categorized into Marxist-Leninist and non-Marxist-Leninist. These ideologies are named after the German economist Karl Marx and the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.
- Socialism got its momentum in the former Soviet Union (USSR), which aimed to provide a real alternative to capitalism based on practical implementation and not just a theory. However, it got dissolved over a period of time.
- According to the experts, the Soviet or Chinese style of socialism had the characteristic monopoly of power held by the Communist party. Other kinds of socialists used to refer to themselves as “democratic socialists” or “social democrats” due to humanistic social ideals.
- Socialism has always asserted that personal development, individual satisfaction, and social fulfillment can only be achieved through intimate, noncompetitive relationships that only exist in a cooperative society. It is completely opposite to the capitalist ideology of self-serving egotism and narcissism.
- Some of the typical terms used in socialism or discussions on socialism are “Utopia,” “Bourgeoisie,” “Proletariat,” “Egalitarian Society,” and “Totalitarian.”
- According to a survey conducted in the U.S by Gallup in June of 2015, 47 percent of respondents said they would vote for a socialist if their party nominated one, while 50 percent were not in favor of socialism.