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What Is Socialism?

Socialism dictates that workers contribute based on their ability and receive based on their needs.
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Socialism is an economic concept that advocates public ownership of all resources. The production and distribution of resources with a society are then controlled by members of that society collectively or by the government that represents that society. Goods are produced and distributed based on need rather than on market forces such as profitability, price and consumers' purchasing power. In a socialist economy, workers contribute to society based on their ability and receive according to their needs, rather than being paid wages and using that money to purchase what they want. Private possessions are limited to personal-use items such as clothes, and there is no need or ability for individuals to accumulate wealth, so there is equality among the people.

Economic Equality

The ideology of socialism developed from the notion that capitalism creates inequality in society. Under capitalism, socialists argue, the wealthy few who own and control the resources and means of production are able to exploit the working masses. These elite capitalists can pay workers less than the value that they contribute, so the capitalists can keep larger profits for themselves to accumulate even greater wealth. The result, socialists say, is a society in which the wealthy are able to oppress the middle and lower classes.

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In a completely socialist society, there would be no money. Things such as food, shelter, education and healthcare would be provided to everyone. There would be no poverty and no division of classes based on wealth. Production and distribution of goods and services would be managed by the government rather than being based on market forces, which can fluctuate and lead to recessions in capitalist economies.

Criticisms and Defenses

Critics of socialism say that such a society is impossible to create and sustain successfully. They argue that there would be no incentives for people to work harder — or even hard enough to meet their needs — because they would receive only enough to meet their needs regardless of how much they contribute. In addition, many capable workers would refuse to work at all and still expect to have their needs met. Socialists, however, argue that workers in a socialist society would have much different attitudes from those in capitalist societies because they would not be exploited by their employers. This would create satisfied workers who are more willing to work, they claim.

Another criticism of socialism is that the government would determine the needs of the people in order to meet them. Critics say that this would cause problems because different people have different things that they would consider to be needs — as well as different things that they want, such as forms of leisure and entertainment. If a person's own ideas of his or her needs is different from what the government considers his or her needs, this could create unhappy citizens. Socialists, however, argue that the citizens collectively would be happier because each person would have equal access to everything, whether they are wants or needs, instead of the wealthy elite having greater access to many goods and services and the poor having virtually none.

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anon974416
Post 101

Neither pure capitalism or pure socialism works. We are a nation of rich and poor. Pure capitalism divides the rich from the poor and pure socialism dictates the dividing the wealth of our nation

unfairly as greedy capitalists do. Compromise is the American way.

As a country, we should work together, with unions and businesses working as partners in negotiation. A fair division of wealth should be determined by one's contributions. A divided country will fall, no matter what form of government is used. I am sure all that post are patriots of this great nation the USA and I agree on most comments of both sides. Let's work together to take back this country from idealistic idiots.

anon961714
Post 100

People as a group will only cease to work for their own interests (money in whatever form, currency, food, shelter, social status, whatever) when their mere existence is seen as a direct result of anthers survival rather than their own. This, of course, is not how humans propagate; we are not bees.

The irony of the socialist argument that 'workers' will be happy to work with a "fair share" is that the very existence of our massive and very much unproductive welfare state belies that hypothesis. People who are unemployed have no boss to mistreat them and in many cases, such as in public housing, they don't even have a landlord or meaningful rent to pay.

Are they pulling their own weight? Not even close. Nor are they likely to ever pull their weight. We got 50 years of practice in the slums to tell us exactly what happens to people who get everything they "need" from the state. The answer is what we would call continued 'poverty' even though this 'poverty' generally consists of remarkably good food, shelter and entertainment the likes of which would be the envy of most of the world.

There is only one end to the idea of socialism, and it is the end of the fools who practice it. It is a system born for corruption of the government, whose leaders become the unheard-of electable, to trade prime jobs, homes, and any other resource to anyone they need in exchange for greater and more secure positions of power.

Once again we know this because of communist countries where this has already happened to the point of genocide and self-destruction. In the western and largely still capitalist (free market) countries, this is also the effect of exactly the same sort of power among our political leaders who run government industries ranging from the post office to education and welfare.

Few people realize this, but before FDR massively expanded these industries in power and effect, members of Congress only had a 50 percent reelection rate. The reason was simple: they had little to sell to buy support for reelection – only the merits of their job.

When you put political leaders in charge of vast resources, they invariably use those resources to help secure their more permanent hold on power. That is precisely why every communist country is at its heart little more than an oligarchy. When you control everything there is nothing to challenge you on merits.

The evidence of the failure of socialist ideas is everywhere around you. You just have to look to see its results.

anon944273
Post 99

You think that the 1 percent that controls more than 60 percent of America's wealth actually works for their money? They don't. Look at the real numbers because they don't lie. People are living in fantasy land if they think people who are rich are those who work hard because that's not true. I don't see a problem with socialism. Period.

anon937766
Post 98

You people are arguing about something that can't happen. We're too spoiled, obese and lazy, complacent and greedy to ever try to have true socialism. We would have to have a world wide disaster that wiped out most of the population. Then we would all hopefully work together for the common good.

Look at Star Trek -- what do you think they're practicing in the Federation? True Socialism, not the bastardized versions of reality. Man ruins most everything he sticks his finger in.

anon933664
Post 97

Socialism, or as we call it in Europe social-democracy is different in terms from the socialism of Latin America. In Spain, the socialism of Latin America we call communism that even exists but it's a minority.

The social-democracy defends also capitalism and its basic rule is to attempt to reduce the lack of equality between the rich and poor. It defends the middle class.

When you say that Spain is a socialist country, that is a big mistake. Spanish people are more liberal than socialist or conservative. The socialists must moderate their election manifesto and speech in order to govern.

In the case of the conservatives, they are even less supported than socialists and must win the liberal voters in order to govern. If in Spain there were a Democratic Party like in the USA, neither the Socialists nor the conservatives will ever win. The Spanish democratic party disappeared in the 80s.

The first and second elections in the Spanish democracy showed the true Spanish reality: Spanish democratic party: 35 percent; Socialist/social-democratic party: 29 percent; Communist Party: 11 percent;

Conservative Party: 8 percent.

These were the only elections in which all the liberals voted for the democratic party. Nowadays, the conservatives and socialists are ones who must convince the liberal voters.

Liberal voters in polls are evenly divided: Center: 36 percent; Center-Left: 16 percent; Center-right: 10 percent.

anon927297
Post 96

Most people, especially youth don't understand what socialism is, why it can't/won't work in this diverse nation of ours and the effects of 'socialism' -- or should I say, 'non-events' of socialism.

It was Capitalism and free enterprise and our founders seeking a 'non-socialist' life that granted us the freedom to achieve our dreams and develop the personal computer, internet, the airplane, polio vaccine, radio, television and automobile.

What have communist and socialist countries produced or contributed to our advancement in medicine and technology? They haven't because there's been no drive to accomplish, no competition. The only thing they have created was created out of war or fear of war. That 'competition' has been their only advancement. Oh yeah, and the artists whose dismal lives allowed them to create art or see beauty in things and in turn express them creatively...

Hey kids, do you think socialism has kept you healthy so far? Produced that iphone you are attached to? That HDTV? those shows you love?

anon352450
Post 95

"The USA didn't get to be the world's greatest country by being socialist." Ha! Who says the U.S. is number one?

anon352207
Post 94

To the Socialists out there: What do you strive for? Do you have any ambition in life? You think anyone who wants to be better than you are greedy. You think anyone who wants to have more than you is evil.

Socialism is a sickness of the mind. You's best find psychiatric help and leave reality to itself.

anon344798
Post 93

To have a propely developed society, where everybody will be treated equal and have equal opportunities, is a socialist society.

anon337351
Post 91

Personally, I believe capitalism is the way to go.

anon334962
Post 89

I have read a lot of these posts and no one is talking about different forms of socialism other than the extreme form of communism. Most of the happiest countries on Earth have economic systems that practice various forms of socialism and most of those forms have capitalistic aspects.

Don't live by false dichotomies. Question and research everything (including the word dichotomy if you don't know what it means).

anon331999
Post 87

What is the definition of fairness? Do we all need a reason to be fair to each other? Is being nice to each other really so hard, or is it weak or wrong to be fair?

What we want and what we have are two different things, but we all seem to understand that what is right and good to be the same thing.

Now who wants the last big cream cake at a party? There are always lots of hands up shouting why they should have it, but there is only one cake.

anon329965
Post 86

If you want an argument against socialism, look at the mess that is going on in countries like Cyprus and Spain. Socialism rewards people who didn't contribute anything to get it, and punishes people who work harder. Communism is a more extreme form of socialism, and we all know how that turned out.

The USA didn't get to be the world's greatest country by being socialist. Unfortunately, what it made it a great country, namely the work ethic it once had, is no longer as prevalent as it used to be. The USA is in danger of falling behind, because it's not quite as hungry as it once was in terms of competitiveness. It's still competitive, but the percentage of hardworking intelligent Americans is probably less than it was in the past. Newsflash: the USA won the Cold War against the USSR.

China has altered its economy to incorporate more capitalism, not less. If capitalism is so evil, why are emerging countries adopting it into their economic systems? Socialism might be good in certain areas, such as public services, but not in terms of business. The government providing services to the public is fine, but they should stay out of actually owning businesses, since the private sector can do it more effectively and efficiently than the government can do.

anon322804
Post 85

My parents both came from extreme poverty and were on their own by time they were teenagers, but they worked two or three jobs at a time and did without

many luxuries in order for their three kids to have everything they did not growing up.

Now they are of retirement age and have a lake house and a fishing boat and a large family who love them and respect them. That is the American Dream, and there are who would support a form of government (socialism) that would take that all away. The world should work like the book "The Little Red Hen" where all the "Not I"'s receive nothing because they gave nothing.

anon302032
Post 82

Socialism has destroyed many countries. It creates laziness, and crime in my opinion. Look at the inner cities of the nation, and also look at the deep south, (where I live). People who can work will not try to get jobs because they have no incentive to find jobs. They are content to receive a small monthly salary and food stamps or cards.

I know this for a fact because I see it every minute of every day. Having a a car with 22's or bigger wheels and tires, beer money, dope money and sex is adequate. They have wheels and tires for a $600.00 car, but poor living conditions for the children of different sperm donors.

It is a generational curse that could be broken, but it would take hard and continuous work, which the recipients are not willing to do, because they know the socialist will "take care" of them. I call it keeping them down which is what their leaders are doing to them. This is a waste of many good people. If only they would break the curse.

Bandit3212
Post 81

I'd question the validity of that 53 percent figure as well. I'm of the opinion that either the poll is skewed greatly, or the poll was conducted in inner cities, ghettos, or in areas of this country where the people are much less educated and less industrious - perhaps in areas such as Appalachia or in cities where there is an overabundance of welfare recipients.

Such a poll should be evenly taken via going to a cross-section of this country where the population has both wealth and destitution and Industrious and less industrious people.

anon296187
Post 79

Wow. The lady from Russia spoke the truth. May there be more like her to inform our younger generation what it is like to live under such conditions!

anon294706
Post 78

@anon266018, Post 70: Greed is of the heart. Anyone can be greedy. Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.

How is making money greedy? We have to eat to live and it's about survival. It's what we do with the money that is bad, but making money is good as long we provide a service that is needed.

anon292711
Post 77

Most human beings who are not mentally ill like to do things and work. Most governments create artificial shortages as part of their way of ruling a country. No hungry person dares to question anything.

Every where there are hungry people working hard to get a roof over their heads and a sandwich to eat. There are few societies that are brave enough to give freedom to their population. For things that are plentiful, the markets are corrupted to create shortages. A shortage means higher prices, and people needing to work all year instead of for a few months a year.

In many countries, people can accumulate all manner of scrap plastic, cloth, wood and electronics, but they have to sell their souls for a lifetime.

The media is all about masking what the world is all about. In every country, the way for the common man to get by is to conform to the smallest degree. Anyone asking questions, even to improve little things, becomes the enemy.

In a "democratic" city where I lived in thirty years, ago half the population had a police file for wrong doing. The wrong doing could be as little as writing a letter to the government asking to improve a local road or to fix a broken street light. It was thought anyone who was not happy must be a communist.

When a new government was elected, the leader questioned the need for files on every citizen, but he did not last long. The files are now back, and every citizen is now a "communist".

anon292110
Post 76

I was born and spent half of my life in the USSR. Though some of you offer learned opinions about the socialism as a system, your opinions are just that - theories, based on some articles, books and no personal experience. That is a shame.

To offer you a taste of how socialism worked in USSR, let me share with you some memories of mine:

1. My grand-grand-father was executed for having two cows. Out of his eleven children, only four were alive at the end of World War II. Most of them died of hunger following the redistribution of wealth (the said cows died of hunger too).

2. Education was indeed free, but only for those who conformed to the party line. All the rest were not allowed to get any education past eighth grade.

3. Most of the education was comprised of indoctrination( party knows what is best for you), dear leader praises (Barack Obama), but science studies were good and I loved that we had hands on experience with cooking, sewing and all other practical things a girl should know. After all, we did not have fast-food, malls and all the rest and had to know how to make things ourselves.

4. The stores were practically empty. Whatever was produced in USSR, was rarely sold to us citizens. Lines for bread, milk, bluish chicken and half-rotten potatoes were a part of my life. Fruits and veggies were a luxury, at least in my area.

5. There were no bright colors. Most of the people wore black, grey, blue and brown. Only flowers and red flags stood out.

6. My summers I spent in summer camps, which was a relief in a way, because at least we could have eat some fruits and go to the sea - organized trips only of course. After I turned 12, I had to work in these camps, "helping" to harvest anything from carrots to rose petals. I was paid for my work - a third of the grown-up salary.

7. I made my way, like the most of my generation through children and youth organizations, swearing of course to serve the party, just like Pavlik Morozov did, but of course you have no idea who he was. This boy snitched on his parents to the party leaders, and they of course murdered Pavlik's parents for treason (no giving up the seeds) and in turn, the villagers executed Pavlik for what he did. A perfect example for the rest of us.

8. When I finished school and tried to apply for the university, my application was rejected and a friend of mine who did get accepted told me that's because I was a Jew (she sat on the commission).

9 Everybody I knew hated their job, except Armenians on the black market. They were happy to make some money selling us stuff that government failed to provide.

10. Hospitals and doctors, though free, were horrible. Dentists and all the rest of the specialists worked with the tools from the previous century and having a baby there was like going to prison: no contact with the outside world and your family for at least a week.

11. All the news said we were wonderful, we were better than anyone else in the world in everything, but of course we could not go abroad to see for ourselves. It was not allowed.

12 Public housing was dreadful, the quality appalling, the quantity never up to the demand. Two generations often had to live in a one room apartment, including the dog.

13. Everything was rationed and of course there was never enough of anything, including basic stuff like toilet paper, detergent and baby food, and tampons were unheard of.

14 There was no unemployment and no homeless. If you were fired from your job or kicked out of your home, the government took care of you and sent you to work camps. Political dissent was punished by psychiatric treatment. You had to love it or be drugged.

So here you have it: free education, housing, healthcare. From everyone according to ability, to everyone according to the needs and to the decision of the local party bureaucrat.

I am lucky, I was allowed to escape. Never a day goes by that I do not think how blessed I am to live now under capitalism. You have no appreciation how good you have it. You are willing to give away your freedom for government handouts.

I say to all those willing to experiment with socialism: if you want it so badly, why do you stay and try to spoil it for the rest of us?

There is still Cuba, China, North Korea and Venezuela. Go there and stay. Never come back.

anon279299
Post 75

I was having this discussion with my 25 year old son, but he didn't understand what was so bad about socialism. He's 25 years old and he knew nothing about socialism? He reads a lot but now I'm wondering what he's reading. The history of the USA is not being taught in our schools.

I believe it came as a big surprise to him when I told him about when the pilgrims landed and how they had tried living as a socialist community. And we all know how that turned out! I have a lot of work to do!

anon276416
Post 73

This is just a test and a survey to investigate how many communists are here in U.S. to find out the enemies.

anon276415
Post 72

Cuba was a socialist party that became a communist island under the regime of Castro.

anon268631
Post 71

The only thing that is obvious on this thread is that we have a lot of under 25 people commenting who have not yet grasped how the world works.

We've all been there.

And to the poster who claims that capitalism 'privatizes' wealth and 'publicizes' losses: so you don't get any benefits from the iPhone that you can't stay away from?

'Profit' is not always about money.

anon266018
Post 70

I believe that socialism is much closer to Biblical ethics than Capitalism. Extreme capitalism is the personification of greed!

anon259833
Post 69

For all those claiming that socialism doesn't work, and to just read history books to see which is better: You would do well to find out just who writes the history books. Think about it.

anon259036
Post 68

"I think everyone on here has a sort of preconceived bias about socialism and communism and quickly associate them with a dictatorship."

Probably has something to do with the fact that both are inherently totalitarian dogmas which immediately lend themselves to dictatorships, oligarchies, repression, mass murder and imperialism, hence the last 150 years of human history.

Communism and socialism are nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to reinstate feudalism under a paltry veneer of faux-egalatrian utopia.

anon254366
Post 67

Imagine no possessions, and no religion too. No wonder they shot Lennon.

starman
Post 66

Socialist "unfree" countries on average produce only 25 percent as much per capita income as capitalist "free" countries.

After adjusting for resource rich nations, socialist countries produce only about 1/7th the per capita income as free nations. Statistical surveys vary, but show no evidence that socialist "unfree" nations divide income any more equitably than capitalist "free" nations, according tot he WSJ Heritage Freedom Index -2012

Do you think we will live better on one-seventh of what we earn now with bureaucrats deciding everything?

Socialists wish things were a certain way. Capitalists accept reality, even if it is not a perfect reality. Yes it is unfair. Some people work harder, smarter, longer, are luckier, etc. By punishing success, we guarantee all equal misery.

anon241807
Post 63

This definition of Socialism is simply wrong. It goes way out on a limb to impersonate communism, enough so to make the educated reader question the editorial integrity of the author.

anon240121
Post 62

The only people for Capitalism are morons and the rich.

anon205968
Post 61

The origin of socialism was a high regard for the model of successful business: No. 1 sets the tone and goals; everyone falls in line, prosperity increases. Within the paradigm, success is rewarded by upward mobility. The problem arises when No. 1 becomes egocentric and can't accept good ideas. Then the company [government] fails. Oops. Look up business model for socialism.

anon205630
Post 60

With Socialism there is not rich or poor. Everyone is equal, taxes are high because the government runs your health care, everyone gets treated, no exceptions, so what is wrong with that?

Yes, well, if there are no rich or poor and everyone is equal what is there to strive for? That's the problem with socialism. If I can't get rich and have a good life, why should I try for A's in school? Why should I go to college? Why should I give 100 percent and be all I can be when I can give 70 percent like the rest of the country and get the same perks. If there are no incentives then nobody will try and the country will stagnate.

As it is now if I want the best health care for my family I need to work harder to get a better job to pay for it. With government health care I get the same care as the rest of the people. So there's no incentive for me to try harder. Same with welfare and unemployment and all the other government programs. They promote laziness. Why should I work 40 hours a week when my neighbor's been on unemployment making the same money as me for the last two years? I should just get fired so I can be lazy too.

anon164989
Post 59

"Why do people always bring up welfare like its such a horrible thing?"

Here's why welfare is horrible: It has wrought the destruction of the nuclear family among African Americans. Seventy percent of all Black children are born out of wedlock. That's a lot of fatherless children and explains, in part, why young Black men are over-represented in the prison population as well as in students receiving disciplinary action in public schools.

anon164988
Post 58

I keep looking for a textbook-like (sans bias) explanation of "socialism" on the Internet, but every one that I've found so far turns into a propaganda page at some point. It's frustrating.

anon157302
Post 57

With Socialism there is not rich or poor. Everyone is equal, taxes are high because the government runs your health care, everyone gets treated, no exceptions, so what is wrong with that?

You can also go privately to a doctor. There is an extra insurance only $100.00 a year, so what is wrong with that? Everyone works, the lowest paying job pays over $1500.00 a month is Europe, and there's nothing wrong with that.

People have to know the difference between socialism and communism, and we americans really don't know. Try living abroad, and you will see a big difference in how people live and breathe, no poverty, no health issues and always having money in your pockets.

anon156633
Post 56

The problem with all government systems - to include socialism - is that some person has to be in charge, has to have the power to make policy. And power corrupts. Period. So, do you really think the guy in charge of a socialist government is going to live on the same level as some guys who's job it is to sweep the streets? As great an idea of equality as that may be, it will never happen. Cause humans are humans. Capitalism at least makes it okay for us all to be what we are: greedy!

anon156561
Post 55

i am just beginning to understand the difference between socialism and communism. However, why is there such an argument as to whether or not every single human being has a right to these things: a job, a home, an education and health care? I feel that they do,and because of my feelings I am called a socialist?

Why do some people believe that only certain people should have access to these things?

anon154709
Post 53

@anon152510: My word this is: once again another illogical statement from a theist hypocrite i wish the world could be rid of.

You do realise that religion is the number one cause of war in the entire history of mankind. only in recent years has politics come to the forefront of the cause of war and thus with it, death and extermination for a difference of opinion.

i believe you will find that most atheist people are moral people. we just don't need the guise of a greater being to justify our morality. to us, it is common sense.

We do not need the temptation (a sin?) of heaven to be a good person and strive to be good to our fellow man. We do not fear hell and are there for liberated to pursue what ever interests we have. And above all we do not deny logic and evidence because we are deluded by faith.

If there is indeed a god out there, and if he has indeed spoken to us then why have our interpretations of his message/appearance/personality been as diverse as the cultures that spawned him?

I assume you are a christian of some sort but what gives you the absolute logical knowledge that your god is the 'real' god and that the message you have been given is the 'real' message when so different from that of other religions.

In ancient Greece the gods were derived from the forces of the natural world. These forces are the only gods we will ever know and can logically be explained with science.

To resort to faith as an argument against billions of years of history for which our species has only been in existence for a minor proportion we are talking merely maybe 1 percent is just plain idiocy.

anon153697
Post 52

anon152510: where is your proof that there is indeed God? Faith? maybe its all just in your head. the God of Mercy The God of Knowledge if you lack knowledge in exams. The God of Love when you want to get laid. Isn't just all of your desires that you wish too much something to happen that you imagine there is something out there listening to your thoughts as if a magic genie will "Your wish is my command".. And you will say that's not what why I believe In God blah blah blah. i hope you won't say that because you will become a hypocrite. Maybe there is something higher being than us but i am assured it is too far from the "God" we humans made. of course based on our desires.

anon152510
Post 51

To "anon137807", if there is no God, then nothing is right or wrong! You are of no more value than a rock or the squirrels that play in the trees outside my home. If there is no God, then there is nothing wrong with me denying you or anyone else what you desire or want or care for! You are nothing but matter in motion (and not very productive motion I might add).

If there is no God, the only thing "wrong" with something someone might do is that others might not like it! Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with anything!

Atheism cannot and does not sustain itself and cannot deal with this! It's illogical to not believe in God! I know, (I did not say believe) I know that God exists!

Your socialistic/atheistic philosophy has destroyed more lives in human history than there are grains of sand on the sea!

What would be wrong with anyone doing anything to you or anyone else if there is no God? God gave you brains, but you are not using them!

anon145315
Post 49

What is wrong with people? Why in the world would anyone want socialism or communism? Personally I like freedom. With all these working class people who have tried it and practically gnawed their arms to get out, you'd think it'd send a message that it's not what some think it's cracked up to be.

-Jennifer, Colorado

anon137807
Post 47

firstly may i say I'm new to the socialist idea and was just having a look at a subject that interests me.

After reading the comments left by people more learned than me, i still feel i can put some more value on an argument.

firstly, whoever said that gravity is just a theory has got to be crazy. mass creates gravity, thus things with mass attract other things with less mass, therefore adding to the superstructure of the mass and increasing its gravitational pull and attracting more mass. this is how stars and planets are formed.

Another thing is that there is no such thing as god, there is not a man who made all this and says what is right or wrong. you have to be living in the dark ages if you believe this. Religion is just the backbone for the weak minded to make them stronger. Like a previous person wrote, it's a pill to swallow for survival, and this can be a good or a bad influence. Personally, I don't want my kids to grow up thinking it's bad to rob, rape or murder someone because god said it's bad. I want them to make that decision for themselves with guidance from me. People who do it the latter way are extremists, whatever religion they are and are empowered to do bad things and say “its in the name of god.” pfft do me a favour.

And whoever said anti right is anti god is insane and narrow-minded. However i do believe in god. i believe it's energy that binds us all. I believe that energy influences atoms to make complex structures, and influences complex structures to create complex cells, and that is that, and when you die your energy is absorbed into the ambient energy game over energy recycled into whatever because it cannot just disappear. this is scientific fact.

plus you were talking about chance. there is no such thing as chance, or random. All of the possibilities are played out in the quantum field of things and it is only the individual as the viewer that creates the end result. This has been proved! search double slit experiment. it's an eye opener.

I understand that socialism is hard to enforce and opens up the door to dictatorship, but status rather than material wealth will breed inequalities will it not? people must have leaders and this gives the leaders the chance to corrupt. but we're talking about individuals here, or the feeling of identity manifested in/from a country of origin.

As the world gets small and globally we are all responsible for each other because neither country is self sufficient anymore. Maybe we need to be looking at the bigger picture and doing the best for mankind, not just the people of a state. This is a pipe dream!

maybe a big war is needed to reunite human factions and focus attitudes and energies for mankind’s goal (it seems in times of hardship the human heart has no bounds). this goal for mankind needs to be set out because at the moment the future isn't bright, and we have no real goal, just our selfish endeavours that are sold to us by the media and the elite, yet we're being led willingly by the greedy blind elite to a mass grave! And only the elite then will survive the inevitable result. We all know the result, yet we just potter on till it's too late. We're not sustainable, we're constantly told there will be no boom or bust yet the elite manifest the boom and bust because it gives them a chance to shake the masses down and give them a foothold and grip into more equities at a really cheap cost, giving them more power.

That's not the future i want. It's not the future i want for my kids. Down with narrow minded patriotism and up with earthlings. lol. viva la people. viva la humankind! Alex from england

anon129018
Post 45

I think it does not matter what type of government you/they have as long as you don't try to change my opinions and you respect them. I think the world should not be the same, but be something amazing all together.

liberty1776
Post 44

anon45665 (Response#10): When you speak of land, education, and health care as "rights" then you are declaring that you have a right to that person's product. This is false.

Education and health care are not products of nature. These are products that people put their dedication and time into to offer you a product. These institutions are not grown in nature therefore they must be produced by someone and if you believe that you have a "right" to them then at whose expense will these "rights" just be given to you?

And also, land is only a right once you purchase it or receive it through inheritance. If everyone has a "right" to property then what is to stop a person or persons from coming to your property and seizing it from you? By your morality, nothing can stop them. Also by your morality you would openly give it to them since it is their "right".

Be cautious when you speak of "rights". The three rights endowed to everyone are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Land, education, and health care are products that one must pursue. They are not simply given.

anon125613
Post 43

Anon105276(Response #37): There are several disagreements i have with your argument.

First the "things" government will provide us with are not created in nature. Cars, apartments, and health care do not grow on trees. Which leads to the question of where do they come from. They come from people, pure and simple. Someone must produce the "things" which you speak of.

Second, if the government were to produce these "things" for us the next question must be "at whose expense"?

Government itself does not have an unlimited amount of resources to just "provide" every person with these "rights" as you call them. Next, how would you expect a country to keep producing these "things" if there is no gain from producing them? How long do you expect people to produce when everyone receives the same treatment even if their ability is above the rest of the population? By duty? By sacrifice?

My last question to you is do you believe that all of these "things" that you mention are yours by right? Everyone's by right? We as a human species have the right of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Understand that the key word is pursuit. No one has the right to "happiness". Therefore no one is obligated to just make you "happy". If you want to live in country based on socialism, please be my guest and move to Europe. I will not stop you.

anon123842
Post 42

We are still a very young country and have only known one form of government. Being only 223 years old (starting from when constitution was ratified) we are still in our infancy. Perhaps the republic will stand, perhaps it will fail, we don't know. Although it is worth noting that no other democratic republic has survived. They are all consigned to the dust heap of history.

anon118329
Post 41

This whole discussion on evolution is really off-topic, but I would like to bring a cool head to the discussion and add a comment that does not descend to unfounded statements, opinions, and ad hominem attacks on the other side (both sides are guilty of this, at least in this discussion).

First, the remarks that are incorrect on their face. Anon90519 stated that racial diversity was evidence for evolution ("If evolution didn't exist, how did we get blacks, whites, hispanics, asians [sic] all from adam [sic] and eve [sic]?"). It is not. Skin color is caused by melanin, a naturally occurring substance in the body. The differences are genetic. The important thing is that the genetic structure is the same - if it was different, blacks and whites would be unable to reproduce together. Thus, two people could contain all the genetic content necessary to produce all different skin colors.

In that same comment, he ("he", despite so much politically correct writing, is the proper singular gender-neutral pronoun when used for a subject whose sex is unknown but who has a sex) claims the following: "...you'd rather read a book over 2000 years old not [sic] even literally written by anyone that's in the bible [sic]."

First of all, it has been 2010 years since Christ's birth, and He was thirty-three when He died, so the Gospels, written later, had to have been written less than 2000 years ago. Secondly, it was written by the people in the Bible. This is the generally accepted opinion. Even most atheist thinkers accept that, particularly for the New Testament. And the H1N1 comment ("If you don't believe in evolution, then when you get H1N1, you have to pray it away since it didn't evolve.") doesn't even make sense.

Further, gravity itself is not a theory. It is a scientific law. The cause of gravity is not a law, and there are numerous theories, but gravity itself is. Besides, this has no bearing on evolution. Spontaneous generation was a law for about three millennia and was proved by Pasteur and others to be patently false. The fact that gravity is valid does not say anything about the validity of evolution.

Finally, the fact that apes exist (anon110367 - "...if the darwinian [sic] theory is true, and humans have evolved from apes, one question seems appropriate. Why are there still apes? This simple question is food for thought and dispels all of Darwin's theory...") is not a meaningful argument against evolution. This, however, has already been adequately answered (in the only refutation I have read in this discussion that did not include at least one ad hominem.

Sir [again, the proper pronoun for unknown gender], I may disagree with your view on evolution, but I commend you for your restraint).

Next, the objection that evolution could occur through random chance is questionable (anon90519 - "Yes, genetic mutations in the DNA strand are chance-like but over billions and billions of years, you have a ridiculous amount of "chance" to produce something that benefits its species more than others. This is called natural selection.").

Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the probability of a simple enzyme forming by chance as 10 to the power of 20 (10 + 20 more zeroes) to 1. Even his critics say that this is "probably not overly exaggerated". The simplest cells require about 2000 simple enzymes. Thus, the probability of the enzymes required for a single cell is thus 10 to the power of 40,000 to 1.

If you ran this equation every second every second for 4.6 billion years, the probability is still 10 to the power of 39982 to 1. If you ran it every microsecond (1/1 millionth of a second), the probability would be 10 to the power of 39976 to 1. Picosecond (1/1 trillionth of a second)? 10 to the power of 39970 to 1. Still possible, right?

There are only about 10 to the power of 80 atoms in the entire universe.

Thus, the formation of the simplest cell is mathematically impossible. It would be mathematically impossible even if it only took one atom to make a simple enzyme (it takes hundreds to thousands).

Thank you for your time, and please refrain from ad hominem attacks (attacks on people to disprove their arguments) or other logical fallacies.

anon117246
Post 39

It is hilarious to read the comments of pro-socialists. It think anon81802 raises good points - of the government types, capitalist constitutional republics are the best. However, it seems flawed to look at what form of government is the best - the most pertinent question is 'why have a government at all?'

In states, where there is a centralised power (ie. a government) they are morally and intellectually bankrupt. As such, perhaps a new model is necessary. I don't believe communism - even pure stateless communism - is the best model. I believe in the libertarian anarcho-capitalist model, which believes in a free market. Stephan Molyneux explains it well in Statism is Dead online.

I'm not sure how this is relevant to socialism, but anon113067 asked why there are still apes if evolution exists. A fine question. The nature of evolution is all about biological fitness (ability to have offspring); humans have large brains and innovation, and therefore adaptability. The trade off was speed and strength, something that other apes have in spades. This trade off worked for humans, so it was kept and developed further.

Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees or gorillas. Our last common ancestor with chimps was over 6 million years ago - as in, that is when 'humans' speciate. Since then, both hominids and other apes have evolved - in other words, humans are just as 'evolved' as other apes.

Other apes are still alive because the way they have evolved suits there environment, and so they have a high enough biological fitness. Just because humans have a higher mental capacity than other primates, doesn't mean that we always had a higher biological fitness.

But don't worry anon113067, all the other apes will soon be extinct due to habitat destruction from human population being unsustainable.

anon113067
Post 38

On the whole subject of evolution I am a skeptic. I have one question for anon 90519, if the darwinian theory is true, and humans have evolved from apes, one question seems appropriate. Why are there still apes? This simple question is food for thought and dispels all of Darwin's theory, or are some apes, as well as some humans just too dumb to evolve?

anon105276
Post 37

Americans are too stupid to know what's best for the country. This is why we need socialism.

The government will supply us with everything we need like: health care, fuel and energy, housing, jobs and food. This is the dream of a perfect Utopia.

Imagine everyone being equal and everyone living in harmony. We will all get paid the same salaries no matter the job title, all live in apartments like Russia, we all will consume the same amount of energy and all drive the same cars, all have the same health care support, all eat the same food!

Socialism is our future. We are almost there, people. Just give up your guns and property, because sooner or later, the government will take it by force.

makerofcarts
Post 36

This article is better than many others on this website that concern socialism or Communism. But still, there is a big misunderstanding in the offing when you state that under socialism "all can expect a fairly even distribution of wealth from what is produced, so all live at approximately the same income level."

This is not the view of orthodox Marxism. In fact, Marx went out of his way to demonstrate the idea that a simple economic leveling would itself be a form of inequality. "From each according to ability, to each according to need." And since material human needs are diverse, so too must be income or you are simply extended the system of haves and have nots.

In a larger sense, it is a mistake to overemphasize the role of economic inequality as an animating impulse in the socialist movement. Marx wasn't a bean counter. His first objection to capitalism had to do with self-determination, control, and alienation in the work place.

anon90519
Post 35

You're seriously uneducated in biology, chemistry and above all, cosmology. Evolving from an "ape"? we are still apes. We are in the ape family and basically, the best way I can describe to you what we are is a talking ape. We can't explain gravity. Gravity is a theory; does that make it less true?

There's so much evidence supporting darwinian evolution it's unbelievable. If evolution didn't exist, how did we get blacks, whites, hispanics, asians all from adam and eve? On the "chance" comment. Yes, genetic mutations in the DNA strand are chance-like but over billions and billions of years, you have a ridiculous amount of "chance" to produce something that benefits its species more than others. This is called natural selection.

I really feel sad for anyone who has stuck to one belief (most likely their parents') their entire lives. We have entire channels and countless books on these fields of extraordinary sciences. But no, you'd rather read a book over 2000 years old not even literally written by anyone that's in the bible. As if people were smarter back then?

If you don't believe in evolution, then when you get H1N1, you have to pray it away since it didn't evolve.

anon90158
Post 34

It's funny how people who don't believe in God call themselves intellectuals and those who do are "brain-washed idiots".

You can't disprove God as fact, only as personal opinion. You also can't prove that humans evolved from apes- that sounds pretty weak minded to me, also that the earth, the universe and everything that exists all came together by chance is ridiculous.

For something to be considered fact, is has to be proven. Was anyone around to witness the beginning of the world? No, but you'd rather use math patterns to guess (because that's all you can do) that that's what went down, than believe that a God of love intricately designed each and every individual.

He did give us free will, and because of poor choices yes, there is suffering in the world, but because you can't understand God or believe He can work anything out for good you say "He doesn't exist." Well sorry, but that sounds more weak-minded than believing in a wonderful afterlife.

anon87854
Post 33

God doesn't exist, created by the weak minded to cope with fear of death. In some aspects conforms to natural instinct for an organism to always vie for survival- in a sense heaven is ultimate life and therefore ultimate survival. Down with brainwashed masses of idiots- long live the intellectuals!

anon84074
Post 31

Socialism/communism is an anti-right and therefore an anti-God system of government. It is the creator-God who has endowed us with rights and freedoms that ought to be respected and protected by government.

Carefully consider the principles of true Republicanism (American) and you'll see that it is the best form of government in a sinful world. Down with socialism and all the bloodshed caused by it!

anon83247
Post 30

why should the rich suffer?

anon82679
Post 29

I would rather live equal to everyone else. That is what we were promised in the Declaration of Independence.

If you want to see more homeless people, unable to feed their families and forced to live in run-down cars or on the streets (where they may die of cold), move to someplace you might be better accepted. We don't want or need your kind in the free country of America.

This is coming from somebody who has lost most of her family members, including her father at a young age, due to them being unable to pay for proper health care, thanks to the systems you vote for.

Those who are against a free country, those accusing socialism of being a communist idea, are the real commies here.

I hope you and your family don't have any pre-existing conditions, like allergies, skin rashes, yeast, minor heart problems, bad eyesight, or living.

anon81802
Post 28

There seems to be a debate in the comments over which form of government/economy is best. How do we decide that? Ask yourself which is more important to you, "freedom for all" as in "Give me liberty of give me death" or is it foregoing individual rights that all might be "being equally taken care of".

You can't have it both ways. You will never have both. You will never rid the world of inequality or poverty either.

If your answer is being equally taken care of (which will never happen, as mankind is corrupt-just read history), that's fine and there are many nations around the globe that would happily invite you in, I suppose.

A constitutional republic and capitalism are not for you. The desire to have the government control and distribute resources has always bred corruption. It opens the door to dictatorships (again, read history). A Constitutional republic as we have in America prevents this, unless you forget the constitution and place people in office who attempt to override it while the people sleep (Wilson, FDR, Clinton, Bush, Obama).

No system is or will ever be perfect. To determine which is the better system, read history. Which form of government has brought the most individual freedom, personal success, potential, education, medical breakthrough, scientific breakthrough and humanitarian effort in history? The answer is our nation of capitalists under a Constitutional republic and no other.

Unfortunately, we've been on a long course of eroding all of it. If we hadn't, it still wouldn't operate properly without a moral and religious people. Corruption seeps its way into every system. Choose the one that gives the least amount of power to the government.

Is any system of government perfect? No and it never will be, as humans aren't perfect. Find the one that will prevent oppressive leadership and stick with it. Democracy, socialism, communism-Marxism all leave the door open to potentially evil dictators.

Throughout history you will see that our form of government (in America) has outshone all the others. There will never be utopia as Marx envisioned. People are too corrupt by nature, making it a fool's errand. I believe this is what Obama has embarked on - a fool's errand.

anon78084
Post 27

Well safetyman, this article, like many, give the wrong impression of socialism. Once again it's pretty much equated to communism.

Socialism is more closely aligned to capitalism than communism, but a lot of people (especially powerful people) in our society do not want us to know that, because they might end up losing their power and wealth.

This article is more about Marx's theory of how socialism ultimately moves to communism, without really giving you much info on what socialism is.

Socialism does promote more evenly distributed wealth, but it also promotes private ownership of land and business. Anything that promotes public (or government) owned property and business is communism.

Also, Socialism works great with democracy, considering socialism is structured to put the power into the hands of people. Unlike our system of democracy and capitalism.

Sure, we citizens get to vote for government officials, and even pay them a good salary with taxes, but when we have corporate fat cats with deep pockets lobbying for their own special interests, the citizens lose power, considering most legislation in our country is passed by money, not the interest of the constituents.

anon76403
Post 25

Is more interesting to talk about socialism, but I am so worried on one thing: why do americans preach about human rights, while are not forward on respecting humans' dignity? socialism is about equality and respect? what is with capitalism?

anon76012
Post 24

Everybody should look to the left and to the right and at themselves for we are the problem.

We have left these politician in office so long that they have lost touch with reality.

Show me a poor politician. No matter what form of government it's all the same. There not doing what's good for US --they're doing whats good for them.

anon72242
Post 21

I don't know what most of the previous post had to do with the question, "What is socialism".

I believe I know enough about it to know it will do nothing but make us more dependent on government. "If a man does not work, he should not eat", is what made America a land where honest work and desire for a better life a place where people from the rest of the world wanted to be a part of.

#20 You talk about racism then use the term "you white people" and spew a bunch of stuff about something you apparently know little about. If you're so interested in history check out who papa Kennedy was fascinated in during the 1930s.

anon70452
Post 20

All this talk about how bad "socialism" is but what about what Bush did and how he lied to us all and instead of going after Bin Laden who was the one responsible for the 911 attacks he went after Hussein?

Sure, why would Bush want to go after Bin Laden and ruin the long standing business ties that have existed between the Bush and Bin Laden families? Ol'granddaddy Bush helped Hitler to fund the german war effort all the way up until it raised one too many eye brows and then was quietly swept under the carpet -- some "Patriot" that granddaddy Bush was, right? What about that?

The Bush family were the ones responsible for Hussein taking power in iraq and killing so many innocent iraqi people, and everything was fine up until Hussein decided not to play ball with "U.S. Empire" anymore and so he had to go.

I am a puerto rican and I was born and raised here and puerto rico happens to be a U.S. territory and has been for quite some time.

I moved from NYC where I was born and raised to here to PA and never had I ever been called a "spic" or "nagger-spic" until I moved here to PA. Just who in the hell do any of you think you are to be racist when your grandparents needed green cards, passports and/or visas to come to this country?

My grandparents never needed any green cards, passports or visas to come here to the mainland. And also think about this: all you "white people" came here from europe supposedly fleeing from persecution and once you got here what did you people do? You took advantage of the American Indians and their willingness to help you "white people" and then as if that wasn't enough you "white people" stole this land from the American Indians and tried to kill them off to extinction.

And you have the gall to call yourselves "Americans"?

Oh yeah, Bush is such a good "American" and "Patriot" that look at how he did as he damned well pleased and screwed us all. You people out there would love to tell me to go back to where I came from like these racist stupid bigots have told me right? Well guess what? I am where I came from! Maybe some people need to go back to their "europe" or wherever the hell it is that thair grandparents came from if they don't like "spics"!

anon67527
Post 18

socialism doesn't work and it never did. just read and look at europe.

anon59332
Post 17

It is my firm belief that when Marx envisioned socialism that he wanted to make a world where everyone would be happy. Tragically, however, his ideals were taken to the extrema, corrupted and turned into something I'm sure he never would have wanted.

They say that the ends justify all means, but what of the cost? How high of a price must we all pay before we all realize that by taking away someone's hard earned possessions (things they paid for with their own blood, sweat and tears in some cases) they have in fact become the very oppressive, abusive and corrupt upper class that they intended to destroy in the first place. The only way that a socialistic democracy could ever exist in other than name would be to create a system where the people would ensure their own collective freedoms and rights by forming, and unopposed by any form of government scrutiny or resistance, a secret police of their own design (this would also be a good choice for any form of government that is extremely biased against any one group of people in a unjust way).

A group of people, by the people, and for the people, to investigate, discover, and expose any form of government corruption, underhandedness, or brutality towards the community's well-being as a whole. In doing this I believe that the true "enemies of the people" would be exposed as none other than their own government officials, and such violent totalitarian forms of communism (such as Leninism) would have been avoided all together.

Sadly we cannot seem to stop arguing with each other for five minutes, let alone enough time to come to a reasonable solution that we all hold a piece of the puzzle, and the only way we can see the big picture would be to all come together as a whole and try to solve the problem together.

anon57543
Post 16

@14 if you read the British Socialist Party manifesto you would see that you are completely wrong!

anon57068
Post 15

"I think that the socialistic views undermine women's rights."

The opposite is actually true. under socialism, women too would "own the means of production." with greater economic power comes greater political power. that is why under pre-class societies, women enjoyed relative political equality because they were at the center of production. once women left that role, for providing for the needs of society, their rights began to diminish.

however, we once again begin to see women take on larger political responsibilities once they re-enter the heart of production. under socialism, as the way marx conceives it, women would enjoy greater freedoms then what they under capitalism or feudalism.

anon52676
Post 14

What I think is, socialism is based on the wealthy vs. poor. Thus, poor is brief as luck in a mass and wealthy become unlucky in the mass.

If everyone gets rid of their luxury life that means he/she wants to get into socialism/communism. And what if, he/she who is living in a poor society gets into the luxury life?

Those who used to debate on it, I think must be foola. I’m sure that all have their dreams and want it at any cost, those who have luck and courage they win and who don’t they lose.

Better make, a better world better life better personality.

anon48737
Post 13

Lately, the definition of capitalism seems to be "privatize profits, publicize losses" and it has been carried to the extreme. There has been no serious punishment to date of the people who invented the funny money called collateralized debt obligations and structured investment vehicles. If we hadn't gone through an extreme financial crisis back in 1980 when the savings and loan business collapsed, then what happened in 2008 would have been more understandable. However, we bailed them out in 1980 and it looks like too big to fail is going to be the way of the land. I'm very discouraged with capitalism right now.

anon48673
Post 12

I don't think that there is any problem with the system in America. I think that people who receive welfare are just as much citizens as the upper income. They realize their own predicament in life and have less qualms about the rich as the rich do in seeing them as not wanting to work. I have asked managers who complain about welfare recipients to hire someone on welfare but they will look for someone who has the aesthetics they envision in their imagination and not the potential and skill that a welfare recipiant can contribute. Even if it is abused a little it's a statment that we are all connected and nobody should be negleged because of their looks.

anon46484
Post 11

Why do people always bring up welfare like its such a horrible thing? It is a subsidy like many others but it always gets the ugly spotlight. The tax cuts the rich get are a subsidy and amounts to more than the money that goes into the welfare program. When I was young, I was on welfare, and it's not that easy to bypass the system if you were to really go through the motions of it. They have become so specific that you pretty much have to be homeless before they'll give it to you here in San Mateo County and the second you make a dollar more, they cut your benefits by that dollar. My point is that people are abusing the welfare, they just can't get off it because the minute they make more money, their benefits are cut by that amount and they are right back where they started - in poverty.

anon45665
Post 10

I think everyone on here has a sort of preconceived bias about socialism and communism and quickly associate them with a dictatorship. Socialism and eventually communism achieved by the cooperation and power of the lower and middle working class (295 million americans)to overthrow the tyranny and oppression of the federal government whose interest is controlled by the few elite. The middle class must rise to power through revolution and give the land back to the americans. Land is a right and not a business. The same with health care and education. Since the government began to subsidize education they drastically lowered our educational standards.(Why would the most powerful and wealthiest nation have the lowest education standards?) Someone once stated, "People who cannot read or write,are people easy to deceive." Read history and realize that America is a capitalistic, imperialist conquering the world while you watch TV! Wake up America -- you have been deceived for too long. The real terrorist is the CIA which is an unregulated agency which answers to no one. They work hard around the world to destabilize and undermine any change that threatens the power and interest of the elite. It is a lie that the federal government can control the CIA!

anon44281
Post 9

look at what just came out from Obama yesterday. one of the third things described above of socialism. Planned retirement! you don't think he wants socialism?

anon43837
Post 8

Personally i believe anarchism is the way to go.

anon36042
Post 7

While true that there are those who abuse welfare and other socialist programs, to damn the entire corpus on these grounds is tantamount to killing the patient to cure the disease. Provide any political/economic philosophy and the reality of human behavior will expose the cracks in that system. The truth of the matter is that a little socialism is a good thing and a lot of socialism a bad thing.

And, anon30717, how does a socialistic view undermine women's rights?

anon35575
Post 6

It really is scary seeing the comparisons of socialism/communism in the article those that are being discussed in the US. Universal health care, the beating down of organized religon just to name a couple.

Socialism leads to communism and must be stopped.

anon32828
Post 5

53% of Americans probably want socialism because our country has become lazy. Too many people just want to sit around and collect welfare checks and not actually get out there and work. Don't get me wrong, sometimes welfare is necessary(medical reasons, injury, psycho-emotional issues, etc...) There are many people though who have no issues to contend with and just don't want to work. The other thing too is we have become a greedy nation, if money is taken from person A and given to person B(and person B let's say doesn't work)person B doesn't give a you know what that the government took that money from person A who is busting his behind working long hours day after day. Too many Americans feel entitled like America owes them something, this is another problem.

anon31133
Post 4

"53% of people want socialism."

Where do you get your poll results?

anon30717
Post 3

I think that the socialistic views undermine women's rights.

safetyman
Post 2

Having read this article and others about socialism, why would anyone want to live like this? Latest polls say that 53% of people in the U.S. want socialism.

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