Thursday, September 5, 2013

Communism vs Socialism

Communism vs Socialism

In a way, communism is an extreme form of socialism. Many countries have dominant socialist political parties but very few are truly communist. In fact, most countries - including staunch capitalist bastions like the U.S. and U.K. - have government programs that borrow from socialist principles. "Socialism" is sometimes used interchangeably with "communism" but the two philosophies have some stark differences. Most notably, 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.

Comparison chart

Philosophy: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-abundanceFrom each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce in addition to receiving a wage.
Definition:A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the community or stateA theory or system of social organization based on the holding of most property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the workers
Ideas:Human societies have always been divided into warring classes. TheIndustrial Revolution has enriched the wealthy and impoverished the poor. The workers must overthrow the bourgeois.All people should be given an equal opportunity to succeed. Workers should have most say in their factory's management. The free market suffers from problems like tragedy of the commons. Government regulation is necessary.
EconomicSystem:Wealth redistributed so that everyone in society is given equal shares of the benefits derived from labor. All means of production are controlled by the state.Wealth redistributed so that everyone in society is given somewhat equal shares of the benefits derived from labor, but people can earn more if they work harder. Means of production are controlled by the workers themselves.
PoliticalSystem:No leader, directed directly by the people. This has never been actually practiced, and has just used a one-party system.Multiple parties, but the ruling party usually goes by the name "Socialist".
SocialStructure:All class distinctions are eliminated.Class distinctions are diminished
Economic Coordination:Government controls all business, as well as Business decisions.Planned-Socialism relies principally on planning to determine investment and production decisions. Planning may be centralized or decentralized. Market-socialismrelies on markets for allocating capital to different socially-owned enterprises.
Free Choice:In real communism, where a leader does not exist, everything is chosen freely.In those that have been practiced though, all choices, including education, religion, employment and marriage, are controlled by the state.All choices, including education, religion, employment and marriage, are up to the individual. All health care and education is provided free to everybody
PoliticalMovements:Leninism, Trotskyism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Left-CommunismDemocratic Socialism, Communism, Libertarian Socialism, Anarchism, Syndicalism
Key elements:An enhanced form of the principle of "Production for use".Economic activity and production especially are adjusted to meet human needs and economic demands. "Production for use": useful goods and services are produced specifically for their usefulness.
Religion:Abolished.freedom of religion
Private Property:Abolishedtwo kinds of property, private property, such as land, houses, clothing, etc. owned by the individual. Public property, factories, and means of production owned by the state but with worker control
Key Proponents:Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon TrotskyRobert Owen, Pierre Leroux, Karl Marx, Fredrick Engels, John Stuart Mill, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Emma Goldman
Discrimination:In theory, all members of the state are considered equalThe people are considered equal, laws are made when necessary to protect people from discrimination
Ownership structure:The means of production are commonly-owned, meaning no entity or individual owns productive property. Importance is ascribed to "usership" over "ownership".The means of production are socially-owned with the surplus value produced accruing to either all of society (in Public-ownership models) or to all the employee-members of the enterprise (in Cooperative-ownership models).
Way of Change:Government in a Communist-state is the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by government can be swift or slow, depending on change in ideology or even whim.Workers in a Socialist-state are the agent of change rather than any market or desire on the part of consumers. Change by the workers can be swift or slow, depending on change in ideology or even whim.
Means of control:Proletariat engages in violent rebellion.Proletariat engages in taking charge of the factories and means of production.
Variations:Include Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism and Maoismlibertarian-socialism, and anarcho-socialism, anarcho-syndicalism

Economic differences between socialists and communists

In a Socialist economy, the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralizedgovernment that often plans and controls the economy. On the other hand, in a communist society, there is nocentralized 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

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 varying degrees and forms in a wide variety of politicalsystems.
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.

Video: Socialism vs. Communism

This is a very opinionated video that explains the differences between communism and socialism.

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