is a political
and economic philosophy
encompassing a range of economic
and social systems
characterised by social ownership
of the means of production
and workers' self-management
of enterprises. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public
or of equity
. While no single definition encapsulates many types of socialism
, social ownership is the one common element.
Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms. Non-market socialism substitutes factor markets and money with integrated economic planning and engineering or technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing a different economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws and dynamics than those of capitalism. A non-market socialist system eliminates the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system in capitalism. The socialist calculation debate, originated by the economic calculation problem, concerns the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a planned socialist system. By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.
Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent and critical of them; and present in both industrialised and developing nations. Social democracy originated within the socialist movement, supporting economic and social interventions to promote social justice. While retaining socialism as a long-term goal, since the post-war period it has come to embrace a Keynesian mixed economy within a predominantly developed capitalist market economy and liberal democratic polity that expands state intervention to include income redistribution, regulation and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism, with more democratic control of companies, currencies, investments and natural resources.
The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social problems that were associated with capitalism. By the late 19th century, after the work of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production. By the 1920s, communism and social democracy had become the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement, with socialism itself becoming the most influential secular movement of the 20th century. Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world. Today, many socialists have also adopted the causes of other social movements such as environmentalism, feminism and progressivism.
While the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally socialist state led to socialism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, some economists and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism or a non-planned administrative or command economy. Academics, political commentators and other scholars tend to distinguish between authoritarian socialist and democratic socialist states, with the first representing the Soviet Bloc and the latter representing Western Bloc countries which have been democratically governed by socialist parties such as Britain, France, Sweden and Western social-democracies in general, among others.
||While in the foregoing exposition we have characterized the practical meaning of the scientific form of modern or Marxian socialism we have at the same time also described the meaning of the dialectical method which Karl Marx applied. For as certainly as the content of scientific Socialism was in existence as an unformed viewpoint (proletarian class viewpoint) before its scientific formulation, just as certainly is the scientific form in which this content lies before us in the works of Marx and Engels. Thus "scientific socialism" properly so-called is quite essentially the product of the application of that mode of thought which Marx and Engels designated as their "dialectical method." And it is not the case, as some contemporary "Marxists" might like to imagine, that by virtue of historical accident those scientific propositions which Karl Marx produced by the application of his "dialectical method" could today be separated at will from that method and simply reproduced. Nor is it the case that this method is out of date because of the progress of the sciences. Nor is its replacement by another method today not only possible but rather even necessary! Whoever speaks in these terms has not comprehended the most important aspects of the Marxist dialectic. How could one otherwise come to the thought that today-as at a time of increased class struggle in all spheres of social, thus also so-called intellectual, life -that method could be abandoned "which is intrinsically critical and revolutionary." Karl Marx and Frederick Engels simultaneously opposed the new method of proletarian science to the "metaphysical mode of thought" ("that specific weakness of thought of the last century") and to all earlier forms of "dialectic" (in particular the idealistic dialectic of Fichte-Schelling-Hegel).
Only those who completely overlook that Marx's "proletarian dialectic" differs essentially from every other (metaphysical and dialectical) mode of thought, and represents that specific mode of thought in which alone the new content of the proletarian class views formed in the proletarian class struggle can find a theoretical-scientific expression corresponding to its true being; only those could get the idea that this dialectical mode of thought, as it represents "only the form" of scientific socialism, consequently would also be "something peripheral and indifferent to the matter," so much so that the same material content of thought could be as well or even better expressed in another form. It is something quite similar when certain contemporary "Marxists" put forward the notion that the proletariat could wage its practical struggle against the bourgeois economic, social and political order in other "forms" than the barbaric uncivilized form of revolutionary class struggle. Or when the same people fool themselves and others by saying that the proletariat could achieve its positive task, the realization of Communist society, by means other than the dictatorship of the proletariat, for example, by means of the bourgeois state and bourgeois democracy. Karl Marx, who already in an early work had written the proposition, "Form has no value if it is not the form of its content," himself thought about these things quite differently. Later Marx always emphasized anew that the real understanding of historico-social development (i.e., consciously revolutionary understanding that is at the same time positive and negative) -this understanding, which constituted the specific essence of "scientific" socialism, can only be brought about by the conscious application of the dialectical method. Of course, this new, or "proletarian," dialectic on which the scientific form of Marxism is founded differs in the extreme, not only from the ordinary, narrow-minded metaphysical way of thinking. For, it is also "quite different" in its fundamental position from the bourgeois dialectic which found its most comprehensive form in the German philosopher Hegel, and in a definite sense it is even its "direct opposite." It is impracticable and superfluous at this point to enter more deeply into the manifold consequences of these differences and contrasts.
|-- Karl Korsch, The Marxist Dialectic, 1923
The celebration of the election of the Commune on 28 March 1871--the Paris Commune was a major early implementation of socialist ideas
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