The Basics Of Socialism

If you have a system , where you will always have a home, always have food, always have medical care, always have water – then there is no need to behave greedily in order to survive and have a life of dignity and purpose. This was Karl Marx’s dangerous idea – you wouldn’t just change the world, but all of humankind. Marxism is a world view and a method of societal analysis, as well as a collection of political and economic theories that were developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism focuses on class relations and societal conflict, and uses a materialistic interpretation of historical development, and a dialectical view of social transformation. Marxist methodology uses economic and socio-political inquiry and applies that to the critique and analysis of the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change.

The problem most socialists have with social democracies is that they firstly only provide some of these things for their citizens (social democracies don’t provide free housing, for example), and that those things are paid for mostly through taxes. High income taxes goes directly against the socialistic idea of letting workers reap what they sow. By taking hard-earned wages from the proletariat (the working- and middle-class), the social democratic state becomes no better than the capitalist class, which uses the method of primitive accumulation to leech profit from their workers. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the word communism has been applied to varying political systems over time.

They point to authoritarian socialist regimes such as that of Venezuela to raise concerns about big government. In the 20th century—particularly after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the formation of the Soviet Union—social democracy and communism emerged as the two most dominant socialist movements throughout the world. Owen, who had owned and operated textile mills in Lanark, Scotland, headed to the United States in 1825 to launch an experimental community in New Harmony, Indiana.

The minute details of life under a hypothetical communist society are, in my own opinion, uninteresting; because communism will be the organic evolution of socialism, and it does not follow some grand architect’s design. There are many detailed theories on the organisation of socialist society, ranging from anarchist communism to Bolshevism, but whichever version of socialism ends up victorious over capitalism, it will be the stepping stone toward communism. Communism will not be enacted by decree of government or laid out in a constitution or law, but will emerge on its own by the very nature of socialist society. Socialists do, however, advocate for a so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat,” which should not be confused with an actual dictatorship. In Marxist theory, all societies which have economic classes also have a dictatorship of one of those classes. In capitalist society, the bourgeois class holds political power over the proletariat, and so capitalist society can be called a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

I would point out that there is a massive propaganda effort to control this narrative and force it into our minds. But the real heart of the matter, that Marx would tell you, is that it is because the system forces those conditions upon you. In order to succeed in capitalism, it often pays off to behave greedily, and many situations arise where to not behave greedily is to fall behind and risk losing. And to lose in capitalism is to be made a debt slave, if not then to be homeless, broken, hungry, and in a word, oppressed. If you want to change this behaviour – to act greedily – then you need only change the system that the person is in.

Resources in these systems may be owned by both the state and by individuals. This struggle cannot be resolved without fundamentally changing the material relations of the two contending classes – the owners and the workers – to the means of production. In other words, it ends either in the common ruin of the contending classes, or in a reconstitution of society itself.

You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. Theoretically, this dynamic drives companies to make the best products they can for as cheaply as they can; capitalism is intended to drive business owners to find more efficient ways of producing quality goods. For consumers, this dynamic is intended to create a system wherein they have the freedom to choose the best and cheapest products. American entrepreneurs have also taken advantage of programs that could be interpreted as socialism-lite.

Such beliefs led to his execution for conspiring to overthrow the government. The publicity that followed his trial and death, however, made him a hero to many in the 19th century who reacted against the emergence of industrial capitalism. Whether the United States should become socialist has been widely debated. Some argue that it should because the American public already supports many socialist policies that work fine within free-market structures and which undo the harm done by unfettered capitalism.

In some socialist economic models, worker cooperatives own and operate the primary means of production. A worker cooperative is a firm that is owned and self-managed by its workers. Other socialist economic models allow individual ownership of enterprise and property, albeit with higher taxes and a higher degree of government controls. In order to understand why socialism is necessary, we first have to understand what exactly capitalism is.