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20 Facts About Socialism

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Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.

Social ownership refers to the various forms of ownership for the means of production in socialist economic systems, encompassing public ownership, employee ownership, cooperative ownership, citizen ownership of equity common ownership and collective ownership.

In economics and sociology, the means of production are physical, non-human inputs used for the production of economic value, such as facilities, machinery, tools, infrastructural capital and natural capital.

In sociology, a social system is the patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions.

What Is Socialism? by NowThis World

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Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective, or cooperative ownership; to citizen ownership of equity; or to any combination of these.

A cooperative is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business.

What is Socialism? Government Review by Keith Hughes

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Although there are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms.

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Socialist economic systems can be divided into both non-market and market forms.

An economy is an area of the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents in a given geographical location.

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Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism.

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Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system.

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By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets, and, in some cases, the profit motive with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them.

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Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.

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The feasibility and exact methods of resource allocation and calculation for a socialist system are the subjects of the socialist calculation debate.

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The socialist political movement includes a diverse array of political philosophies that originated amid the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 1700s and of a general concern for the social problems that were associated with capitalism.

In the social sciences, a political movement is a social group that operates together to obtain a political goal, on a local, regional, national, or international scope.

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In addition to the debate over markets and planning, the varieties of socialism differ in their form of social ownership, how management is to be organized within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.

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Core dichotomies associated with these concerns include reformism versus revolutionary socialism, and state socialism versus libertarian socialism.

State socialism is a classification for any socialist political and economic perspective advocating state ownership of the means of production either as a temporary measure in the transition from capitalism to socialism, or as characteristic of socialism itself.

Libertarian socialism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.

The term revolutionary socialism refers to socialist tendencies that subscribe to the doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to affect structural changes to society.

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Socialist politics has been both centralist and decentralized; internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organized through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent of, and critical of, unions; and present in both industrialized and developing countries.

A trade union, labour union, or labor union is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, improving safety standards, achieving higher pay and benefits such as health care and retirement, increasing the number of employees an employer assigns to complete the work, and better working conditions.

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While all tendencies of socialism consider themselves democratic, the term "democratic socialism" is often used to highlight its advocates' high value for democratic processes in the economy and democratic political systems, usually to draw contrast to tendencies they may perceive to be undemocratic in their approach.

Democratic socialism is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, often with an emphasis on democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system.

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The term is frequently used to draw contrast to the political system of the Soviet Union, which operated in an authoritarian fashion.

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.

Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms.

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By the late 19th century, and after further articulation and advancement by Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels as the culmination of technological development outstripping the economic dynamics of capitalism, "socialism" had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production.

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist.

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By the 1920s, social democracy and communism became the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement.

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, as well as a policy regime involving a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions.

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

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Socialism proceeded to emerge as the most influential secular political-economic worldview of the twentieth century, and while the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally socialist state led to socialism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, many economists and intellectuals have argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism, or a non-planned administrative or command economy.

State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes commercial economic activity, and where the means of production are organized and managed as state-owned business enterprises, or where there is otherwise a dominance of corporatized government agencies or of publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares.

A communist state is a state that is usually administered and governed by a single party representing the proletariat, guided by Marxist–Leninist philosophy, with the aim of achieving communism.

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Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence in all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world.

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Today, some socialists have also adopted the causes of other social movements, such as environmentalism, feminism and liberalism.

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women.

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