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SOCIALISM – PART THREE (SOCIALISM VS. COMMUNISM)

This post is part three and the last in this series about socialism. The following will compare and contrast with socialism with communism. Communism is an extreme form of socialism. Many countries have dominant socialist political parties, but very few are truly communist. Socialism is sometimes used interchangeably with communism, but the two philosophies have some stark differences. While communism is a political system, socialism is primarily an economic system that can exist in various forms under a wide range of political systems.

The following will further outline the differences:

PHILOSOPHY

Communism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Free access to the articles of consumption is made possible by advances in technology that allow for super-abundance.

Socialism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce to complement individual wages/salaries.

DEFINITION

Communism: International theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the community or state. Rejection of free markets and extreme distrust of Capitalism in any form.

Socialism: A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of most property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the workers.

IDEAS

Communism: All people are the same and therefore classes make no sense. The government should own all means of production and land and also everything else. People should work for the government and the collective output should be redistributed equally.

Socialism: All individuals should have access to basic articles of consumption and public goods to allow for self-actualization. Large scale industries are collective efforts and thus the returns from these industries must benefit society as a whole.

KEY ELEMENTS

Communism: Centralized government, planned economy, dictatorship of the proletariat, common ownership of the tools of production, no private property, equality between genders and all people, international focus, anti-democratic. One party system.

Socialism: Economic activity and production especially are adjusted by the State to meet human needs and economic demands. Production for use; useful goods and services are produced specifically for their usefulness.

 

 

ECONOMIC SYSTEM

Communism: The means of production are held in common, negating the concept of ownership in capital goods. Production is organized to provide for human needs directly without any use for money. Communism is predicated upon a condition of material abundance.

Socialism: The means or production are owned by public enterprises or cooperatives, and individuals are compensated based on the principle of individual contribution. Production may variously be coordinated through either economic planning or markets.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

Communism: Usually takes the form of totalitarianism as Marx described in the Communist Manifesto. Cronyism common.

Socialism: Can coexist with different political systems. Most socialists advocate participatory democracy, some advocate parliamentary democracy, and Marxist-Lennists advocate Democratic centralism.

PRIVATE PROPERTY

Communism: Abolished. The concept of property is negated and replaced with the concept of commons and ownership with usership.

Socialism: Two kinds of property: Personal property, such as houses, clothing, etc. owned by the individual. Public property includes factories, and means of production owned by the State, but with worker control.

RELIGION

Communism: Abolished. All religious and metaphysics is rejected.

Socialism: Freedom of religion, but usually promotes secularism.

SOCIAL STRUCTURE

Communism: All class distinctions are eliminated.

Socialism: Class distinctions are diminished. Status derived more from political distinctions than the class distinctions. Some mobility.

FREE CHOICE

Communism: Either the collective vote or the state’s rulers make economic and political decisions for everyone else.

Socialism: Religion, jobs, and marriage are up to the individual. Compulsory education. Free, equal access to healthcare and education provided through a socialized system funded by taxation. Production decisions driven more by State decision than consumer demand.

ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNISTS

In a socialist economy, the means or producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy. On the other hand, in a communist society, there is no centralized government, there is a collective ownership of property and the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.

For a Capitalist society to transition, the first step is Socialism. From a capitalist system, it is easier to achieve the Socialist ideal where production is distributed according to people’s deeds (quantity and quality of work done). For Communism (to distribute production according to needs), it is necessary to first have production so high that there is enough for everyone’s needs. In an ideal Communist society, people work not because they have to, but because they want to and out of a sense of responsibility.

POLITICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNISTS

Socialism rejects a class-based society. But socialists believe that it is possible to make the transition from capitalism to socialism without a basic change in the character of the state. They hold this view because they do not think of the capitalist state as essentially an institution for the dictatorship of the capitalist class, but rather as a perfectly good piece of machinery which can be used in the interest of whichever class gets command of it. No need, then, for the working class in power to smash the old capitalist state apparatus and set up its own, the march to socialism can be made step by step within the framework of the democratic forms of the capitalist state. Socialism is primarily an economic system so it exists in various degrees and forms in a wide variety of political systems.

On the other hand, communists believe that as soon as the working class and its allies are in a position to do so they must make a basic change in the character of the state; they must replace capitalist dictatorship over the working class with workers’ dictatorship over the capitalist class as the first step in the process by which the existence of capitalists as a class, but not as individuals, is ended and a classless society is eventually ushered in.

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With an avowed socialist running for president, I think it is important that voters have some idea about socialism. I also believe that while what Bernie Sanders says sounds great on the surface (soak the rich, substantive regulations on private businesses, womb to tomb access to healthcare and education), it doesn’t work l in the real world and leads to an overall decrease in prosperity. Millennials, who were never exposed to the horrors of Communism and were probably never taught economic history of this country, are embracing old, white, Bernie Sanders.

Except for the above paragraph, the contents of this article was taken from website: diffen.com.

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