Socialism is an economic and political system based on collective, common or public ownership of the instruments of production. Instruments of manufacture are the machines, tools, and factories for the manufacture of human needs goods and are the instruments of manufacture. The characteristic of capitalism is that business owners control the means of manufacture and pay salaries to workers for the use of these means. And socialism offers common ownership and is controlled by the working class.
Product manufacturing and distribution in a socialist system is managed by the collective under the central planner or government authority leadership. One type of socialized production includes workers' cooperatives. In socialist systems, the government determines the production volume and product price level. People rely entirely on the government, because social security and social safety systems are highly developed.
The distribution of goods and services in a socialist system is more equal because of common ownership of resources.
Technocratic, totalitarian, oligarchic, democratic, or even voluntary rule can create common property in socialism. One of the most notable examples of socialism in history was the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The Soviet Union was ruled by communists.
Modern proponents believe that the socialist system can only work if it is correctly realized. Otherwise it grows into practical problems and becomes a utopia.
This system provides security by equating people. The value of the manufactured product does not determine the value of the employee. It is determined by the number of working hours. Capitalism, on the other hand, is about the satisfaction of the rich interests by workers.
The old socialist slogan is "From each according to ability, to each according to need". The socialist ideals are about a fair sharing of material resources and wealth by all people; about production for use, not profit; about available goods and services; about not competing in the marketplace.
History of Socialism
The first civilizations had a cooperative society. They had common resources and collective production, and they worked for the collective good to produce enough food for the entire population. Collective farming has persisted for centuries in various forms.
Plato was the first to describe collective labor in his work "Republic". A few centuries later Thomas More wrote about it in "Utopia". During the Industrial Revolution the industrialists were getting rich and the workers were getting poor and living in poverty. The idea of socialism reappeared, but it was only a way to oppose capitalism in order to improve the working class.
In modern society, socialism plays the role of opposition to capitalism, acting against the excesses and abuses of liberal individualism. The early capitalist economy of the 18th and 19th centuries allowed some individuals and families to become very rich and some people to become very poor. As a result, social problems occurred because of income inequality.
Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin are considered the brightest representatives of the socialism ideas. The early ideas of socialism developed thanks to Lenin. Social planning reached the state level after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 in Russia.
Unfortunately, central planning in the former Soviet Union and Maoist China failed. In the 20th century, a system with a high level of regulation and redistribution became more appropriate. Such an economy is called market or democratic socialism.
Socialism, capitalism and communism
The main difference between capitalism and socialism is in the form of government control in the state. Under capitalism and other exploitative societies, the state power is controlled by a minority of the people, while under socialism it is controlled by the majority of the people.
Marxists insist that the main difference is the form of ownership of the means of production, but this is only a consequence of the form of power, not the cause. If less than 2/3 of all voters are politically active under socialism, such socialism eventually degenerates into capitalism, as we saw in the USSR. And vice versa. If more than 2/3 of all voters are politically active under capitalism (they must be organized into parties or political organizations; it does not matter what political views they hold), such capitalism degenerates into socialism. If the most important political decisions under socialism are not approved by 2/3 of the electorate, there will be no socialism.
Communism is a theoretical state system in which complete equality and social justice would be achieved, class stratification and exploitation of man by man would cease (there would be no rich and poor, privileged and oppressed, everyone would be equal), the role of money and government would disappear, everything necessary would be created by automated production, there would be no need for exhausting daily labor, people would be free and equal.
In practice this system has never existed, but some states have striven for it and proclaimed it as their goal to build such a society.