What is Socialism?

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What is Socialism?

Socialism is a form of society wherein the citizens are the owners of the means of production, as well as the decision makers in how wealth will be distributed. Under socialism, citizens will have equal standing in society, equal income, land, and opportunities. One of the key terms that are closely associated with socialism is ‘shared wealth’. Socialism in theory is directly opposed to capitalism, wherein the means for production are privately owned.
In 1848, philosophers Karl Marx and Frederick Engels published the book, The Communist Manifesto. Today, they are recognized as the fathers of communist theory. It was during this period that socialism as an idea began to take off, as the idea of a stateless and classless system appealed to the masses. The two philosophers saw socialism as the first step towards becoming a full-fledged communist society.
Idealistically speaking, in a socialist state, there is still a governing body, but all citizens will have the right to participate in decision making in the society.
Today, there are many socialist forms of government, commonly referred to as ‘communist states’. However, it is important to note that there is not any actual communist country existing today, only socialist republics. Examples of socialist republics are China, Cuba and Vietnam.
Around the world, there are many proponents of socialism, existing as small communist parties. However, based on history, socialism (given the track record of human rights violations and social disparity as in China) seems to be better as a theory than in actual practice.

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One Response

  1. Chris

    May 29, 2012 12:26 pm

    I don’t see China as a Socialist state at all, rather, as it is run by a few elites. Perhaps we could view it as an Oligarchy


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