7 junio, 2024

The 17 Most Outstanding Characteristics of Socialism

The characteristics of socialism They are the search for equality, the redistribution of wealth and the abolition of social classes, among others. Socialism is described as an economic and political system in which the means of production operate under public ownership, which is sometimes also called common ownership. This common property can be taken in a democratic or voluntary way, or on the contrary, in a totalitarian way.

Likewise, it can be seen as a system in which the production and distribution of goods is exercised by substantial government control, rather than by private companies.

Socialism was originally developed as an objection to liberal individualism and capitalism. Among the most famous of the early socialist thinkers were Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin.

It was mainly Lenin who expounded on the ideas of the socialists and was involved in national socialist planning after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia during 1917.

This system assumes that the basic nature of people is cooperative, that nature has not yet fully emerged because capitalism or feudalism forced people to be competitive. Therefore, a fundamental principle of socialism is that the economic system must be compatible with this basic nature.

In theory, this system means that everyone has the right to participate in decisions about how global resources are used. This means that no one is able to take personal control of the resources, beyond their own belongings.

In practice, it can mean that all power is in the hands of the state and the people must comply with what the state commands.

List of 17 characteristics of socialism

1- Planning

Economic planning is a characteristic of socialism, since instead of allowing the free play of a lucrative market, it coordinates everything under a plan.

The absence of planning in socialism cannot exist, since according to his theory, the systematic improvement of the material and cultural conditions of the masses requires a plan.

2- Redistribution of income

In socialism, inherited wealth and material income are bound to decline. The way to do it will depend on the type of government that puts it into practice.

On the other hand, social security benefits, free medical attention, as well as social welfare services provided by the collective bag, are intended to be brought to the less privileged classes.

3- Search for economic-social equality

The moral imperative of the theory of socialism is equality, since it considers that only by introducing greater equality in economic relations can the situation of the working classes be improved.

In order to cast a common standard of economic progress, the goal it describes is to provide equal opportunities for all. Hence, socialism has been called in the past as the economic philosophy of the suffering classes, since all socialist movements aspired to a more humane society.

The principles that this doctrine evokes are also fraternity, cooperation, social communion and camaraderie.

However, critics consider it a mistake to think that socialism can achieve absolute equality, because it is not capable of recognizing the differences in income based on personal merit and productivity, basic for the progress of a society.

4- Opposes capitalism

Socialism arises in response to the social inequalities marked by the capitalist system, which is why it opposes the idea of ​​the accumulation of goods and economic competition.

In pure capitalism, people are motivated to act in their own personal interest, while in the ideals of socialism people should first promote the common good before their own.

5- Abolition of social classes

In his theory, socialism aims to establish a classless society, so in authoritarian socialism, there is practically no class, that is, everyone belongs to the same category.

Since all the means of production are owned by the state, the capitalist class does not exist. However, in practice it can lead to the appearance of a dome where the rulers and their entourage live with great privileges.

In this type of socialism, even though there are private capitalists, their activity is generally controlled and regulated. They do not enjoy unrestricted freedom, but are instead under constant scrutiny and observation by the state.

6- Diversity

In theory, socialism seeks to foster intellectual diversity by establishing that everyone has the same rights. In this way, it cooperates so that each individual extracts his educational and disciplinary skills and knows his duties.

In practice, totalitarian socialism seeks for everyone to have the same ideology, opposing political and intellectual diversity.

7- Religious ideas

Some forms of socialism have often been atheistic in character, and many mainstream socialists have criticized the role of religion.

Other socialists have been Christians and have sustained considerable interaction between Christian and socialist ideas, which is why it has been claimed that early Christian communities display certain traits of socialism.

Some of these features are the celebration of common possessions, the rejection of conventional sexual mores and gender roles, the provision of community education, among others, which could be considered similar to socialism.

8- Promotes improvements in the lower strata

Its objective in principle was to raise the standard of living of those who are in the lower strata and the middle classes.

It wants to achieve these improvements by guaranteeing full employment, a high growth rate, the dignity of work and the absence of exploitation of work, the relatively equal distribution of income and wealth, and the absence of waste associated with the capitalist system of production.

Faced with these advantages, however, radical systems of socialism risk leading to loss of efficiency and incentives for hard work, as well as self-initiative.

9- State monopoly

Unlike other economies where there are multiple companies that generate the country’s income and there is competition in terms of the law of supply and demand, in pure socialism there is no competition, which means that the State is the only employer.

In authoritarian socialism, ownership of the means of mass production is social or collective, so private property is completely eliminated.

According to this socialist approach, all land, mines, mills, factories, as well as the finance and trade system, must be nationalized.

Likewise, the power to make economic decisions must be based on public authorities and not on individuals or private companies for profit. Public ownership then assumes existing private companies, municipal and regional companies, and cooperative companies.

Opponents of this type of socialism argue that state ownership of the means of production leads to inefficiency. They argue that without the motivation to make more money, management, workers, and developers are less likely to go the extra mile to push new ideas or products.

10- Basic needs covered

People living under a well-defined socialism are covered by a social safety net. Therefore, their basic needs are provided, giving priority to the lowest and most marginalized classes.

This is a great advantage and a great benefit. However, critics of socialism warn that there is a fine line between providing people with deserved and necessary basic necessities, and turning these benefits into a populist campaign.

These benefits can make the population think that the State is a kind of God and that without it they will not be able to survive, which in history has given way to the permanence of authoritarian governments in power for a long time.

11- Setting the cost of products

In some socialist systems, the pricing process does not function freely, but rather under the control and regulation of the central planning authority.

There are administered prices that are set by the central planning authority. There are also the market prices at which consumer goods are sold, as well as settling-of-account prices.

On these prices, managers decide about the production of consumer and investment goods, and also about the choice of production methods.

Critics of socialism believe that this is a wrong measure, because in many nations it has been responsible for scarcity, the hidden marketing of products, corruption, and the rationing of food and basic products for the entire population.

12- Interventionism

The State continuously intervenes in social and economic activities and in the distribution of goods.

The argument is that in this way the equity that is held as an ideal can be guaranteed. If socialism is arbitrary, the allocation of resources will be equally arbitrary.

13- Centralized objectives

The objectives may refer to aggregate demand, full employment, the satisfaction of community demand, the allocation of factors of production, the distribution of national income, the amount of capital accumulation, and economic development. These objectives are centralized and executed by the State.

14- It has various economic models

In some socialist economic models, worker cooperatives have primacy over production. Other socialist economic models allow for individual business ownership and ownership. This will depend on the degree of radicality or flexibility of the model.

15- The communities are consulted

Social policy is decided in the communities. In theory, public decisions are made based on consultations with the people themselves, seeking the direct participation of the community in the issues that affect it. This is not always achieved in practice.

16- Provides fewer incentives

Socialism can be considered a more compassionate system, but it has its limitations. One drawback is that people have to put in less effort and feel less connected to the fruits of their efforts.

With their basic needs already guaranteed, they have less incentive to innovate and increase their efficiency. As a result, the engines of economic growth are weaker.

17- It can become utopia

In theory, everyone is equal in socialism. However, in practice, hierarchies emerge and incumbent party officials, along with individuals well connected to them, are in a better position to receive favored goods.

The planners…

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