Such a phase was outlined by Karl Marx , and it came to include the creation of a dictatorship of the proletariat.
While all five countries have authoritarian governments, their commitment to abolishing capitalism is debatable. Exactly how communism differs from socialism has long been a matter of debate. Karl Marx used the terms interchangeably. For many, however, the difference can be seen in the two phases of communism as outlined by Marx.
The first is a transitional system in which the working class controls the government and economy yet still pays people according to how long, hard, or well they work. Capitalism and private property exist, though to a limited degree. This phase is widely regarded as socialism. Although the term communism did not come into use until the s, societies that may be considered communist were described as long ago as the 4th century BCE, when Plato wrote the Republic.
That work described an ideal society in which the governing class devotes itself to serving the interests of the whole community. The first Christians practiced a simple form of communism, and in Utopia the English humanist Thomas More described an imaginary society in which money is abolished and people share meals, houses, and other goods in common.
However, communism is most widely identified with Karl Marx , who outlined the system with Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto Like most writers of the 19th century, Marx tended to use the terms communism and socialism interchangeably. These regimes were characterized by the rule of a single party that tolerated no opposition and little dissent.
In place of a capitalist economy, in which individuals compete for profits, moreover, party leaders established a command economy in which the state controlled property and its bureaucrats determined wages, prices, and production goals. The inefficiency of these economies played a large part in the collapse of the Soviet Union in , and the remaining communist countries excepting North Korea are now allowing greater economic competition while holding fast to one-party rule.
Whether they will succeed in this endeavour remains to be seen. Communism vs. By: Jeffrey Glen. In reality these are two different philosophies that while having some similarities also have some very stark differences.
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Understanding the similarities and the differences can be useful in terms of appreciation the nuances of Communism vs. Socialism in discussions or publications. Jeffrey Glen. Conservative and Liberal are two words that work their way into just about every politically focused discussion or article one comes across. These two views basically represent the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
The Differences Between Communism and Socialism
This article will highlight Read more. Private School vs. Public School. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.
The Differences Between Communism and Socialism
The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product. Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.
The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population.
Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information press, radio, education. It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights. The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production capital are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free.
Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. Production is carried on for profit, not for use. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all.
The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before. This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil.
An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.
The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism.
A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual.
Differences in socialism and democracy
The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured? Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition.
Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service. Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review.
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