Socialism Definition & Meaning

It serves not as an alternative to capitalism itself, but rather a different, “friendlier” version of it. To many, the social democratic system seems like a good middle-ground between capitalism and socialism. But social democracy is a system built not only on the exploitation of the workers in the country it is established, but also on imperialistic exploitation of the global south’s “third world” countries.

Most countries are mixed economies, falling somewhere on the spectrum between pure capitalism and pure socialism. Kirsten Rohrs Schmitt is an accomplished professional editor, writer, proofreader, and fact-checker. She has expertise in finance, investing, real estate, and world history. Throughout her career, she has written and edited content for numerous consumer magazines and websites, crafted resumes and social media content for business owners, and created collateral for academia and nonprofits. Kirsten is also the founder and director of Your Best Edit; find her on LinkedIn and Facebook. There have always been different types of socialists — not to mention wildly varying ideas of what the “means of production” are, what role government should have, and where free enterprise might still fit in.

Socialism, by definition, opposes capitalism and seeks to dismantle the capitalist system. Whilst social democratic nations do well in some regards, they are only able to offer things like social security to their citizens due to the availability of cheap off-shore labour in the third world, and by high taxes on the working class. We socialists oppose outsourcing jobs to third-world nations and we oppose taxes on the general population. We believe in common ownership of enterprise, the productivity of which will be used to benefit all of society and not just CEOs. Taxes and redistributionism only attack the symptoms of inequality, not the cause. The term “socialism” has been applied to very different economic and political systems throughout history, including utopianism, anarchism, Soviet communism and social democracy.

On the other hand, socialist society is supposed to be ruled by the working class, so it is called the dictatorship of the proletariat, as in “rule of the working class.” The dictatorship of the proletariat only exists in socialist society, however. In communist society, which is classless, there is not a dictatorship of any particular class. What socialism is, actually, is a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned and regulated by the community as a whole, rather than by private individuals. Structurally, a free market system and socialism can be distinguished based on rights to property, as well as control of the production process. Under a capitalistic economy, enterprises and private individuals control the means of production, together with all the profits. Under a socialistic structure, a central authority controls the resources used in the production process.

Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members. Essentially, capitalism allows for anyone to create a business and produce anything they want, however they want, with no regard for democracy in the workplace, equal work participation , or indeed how the rest of society is doing. A capitalist (an owner of means of generating capital and a member of the bourgeois, or “upper”, class) does not have to care about whether or not what their business is producing is necessary for society. This is why socialists view capitalism as, among other things, ecologically unsustainable; because the Earth has limited resources, and each country has limited space for a limited amount of factories. Under capitalism, these factories are used for anything and everything that can generate profit, not for necessities that society actually needs.

“It’s just empty, empty shelves, all over,” says Venezuela-born Maria Fernanda Bello, a coalition director for Young Americans Against Socialism. “Socialists are always going to promise you free tuition, free health care, free everything, but they will never promise you freedom.” Of South Carolina, cast socialism as antithetical to the American Dream.

Well, each of the workers in the community has a say on how the resources are managed, and each person receives and contributes based on an individual’s potential. The wide range of interpretations and definitions of across the political spectrum, and the lack of a common understanding of what socialism is or how it looks in practice reflects its complicated evolution. Nonetheless, socialist parties and ideas continue to influence policy in nations around the world.

“Communist” countries such as China, Cuba, Laos, Nepal, and Vietnam have never claimed to have achieved communism, but are communistic in the sense that their goal is the establishment of a communist society. This website is made by socialists, and we use it to tell our side of things. The primary purpose of this website is not to convert people to, but to educate them about what it is socialists believe, and discredit lies that are told about us. Over-working and stress leads to more sick days, lower productivity, lower job satisfaction, increased alienation, as well as more cases of clinical depression and suicide. Whilst Marxism is a philosophically materialistic world-view, and thus discards religion as unscientific, there is no doubt that religious practice is a fundamental and inalienable right for all people. Houses of worship, be they churches, temples, mosques or otherwise, should be available to all those who desire them.

Social democracy is not viable without the luxury that cheap offshore labour provides. If conditions for the workers in third world countries improve (e.g. child labour is outlawed and the 12-hour workday is changed to an 8- or 6-hour workday), the standards of living in social democratic countries fall. In fact, socialists want more welfare and social security for the people. Socialists want to ensure that everyone has a place to live, enough food and water to lead a healthy life, as well as free access to good schools and hospitals, among other things (parental leave, work safety laws, paid sick leave, paid vacation, etc.).