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Characteristic of socialism

What is Socialism?

Socialism is a system of social organization and economic considers appropriate the abolition of private property, to accommodate the collective and state administration of the means of production because it believes that only through this way it is possible to achieve a society more fair and supportive.

The so-called scientific socialism arises towards the nineteenth century with the studies of Marx and Engels, who for the first time raise the idea of class struggle and revolutionary action as the only way to access power. Long before, the so-called utopian socialism marked the social inequality brought by the growing capitalism and the difficulties of the working class and sought without concrete success the way to achieve a more just society.

Socialism nowadays: At present, the so-called social-democracies, in general, accept the free market as a basic economic system, but at the same time they deploy considerable State intervention to correct social inequalities.


1. State intervention

The State intervenes permanently and efficiently in the performance of economic and social activities and controls the prices and wages of workers.

State intervention is important to ensure equal opportunities and means of production for all citizens.

2. Balanced distribution of income

Income distribution means that everything that is produced by society must be equally distributed among all people. The profit of production is controlled by the state and divided among the workers.

The main objective of the distribution of income controlled by the State is to eliminate the inequalities that exist because of the great difference of economic power between social classes.

3. Socialization of the means of production

The whole productive structure of lands, companies and machines is collective property, cooperatives or public enterprises. This structure is administered by the State, as well as the entire process of producing goods and services.

All the wealth and values that result from socialized production must be equally divided among citizens or invested for the benefit of society. So in socialism there is no private property.

4. Inexistence of class system

As a consequence of the means of production belonging to all, in socialism there must exist only the social class of the proletarians (workers).

There are no rich or poor, no bosses and employees and the resources of the economy belong to everyone. There are no social classes with opposing interests or representing social inequality.

5. Planned economy

It means that the country’s economy and production are controlled by the state to function as egalitarian as possible. The State is responsible for controlling all areas of the economy, such as controlling what is produced, prices and sales.

It is also the responsibility of the state to control the value and payment of wages. Planned economy is also called nationalization of the economy.

Read: The difference between capitalism and socialism 

6. Opposition to capitalism

Since its emergence in the Industrial Revolution the socialist ideal has been born as a reaction to the social inequalities generated by capitalism.

There are many differences between the two systems. In socialism, there is state intervention in the economy, in production and in wages. In capitalism, there is little intervention and prices and wages are defined by the movement of the economic market.

Another difference concerns social classes. Socialism seeks a society without division of classes, already in capitalism there are different social classes that demonstrate the existence of social inequalities.


7. Subordination of individual interest to the general interest

It is part of the functioning of the socialist ideal that the collective or societal interest is more important than individual wills.

This means that the interests of each individual should be kept in the background against the interests that are common to all.

8. Administrative bureaucracies

The centralized planning and management of such a wide range of productive units often creates heavy administrative bureaucratic structures, prone to inefficiency or even corruption.

9. State monopoly

Since the means of production are of the State, the services happen to be in the hands of a single provider, reason why the system assumes a monopolistic model. Who does not feel satisfied by the service obtained has no other option.

READ: Examples of socialist countries


15 Examples of Socialist countries

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