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What is the Difference Between Socialism and Communism?

By Rebecca Partington
Updated May 23, 2024
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Socialism and communism are ideological doctrines that have many similarities as well as many differences. One point that is frequently raised to distinguish socialism from communism is that socialism generally refers to an economic system, and communism generally refers to both an economic system and a political system. The means of production are publicly owned in both systems, but the ways that money and resources are distributed are different. In socialism, each person is allotted resources according to his or her input, or amount of work, and in communism, each person is allotted resources according to his or her needs. Many people consider communism to be a "higher" or more extreme form of socialism.

As an economic system, socialism seeks to manage the economy through deliberate and collective social control. Communism, however, seeks to manage both the economy and the society by ensuring that property is owned collectively and that control over the distribution of resources is centralized to achieve both classlessness and statelessness. Under communism, all people are considered equal and are provided for equally, regardless of their contributions to the economy or to society. This is different from socialism, but both socialism and communism are similar in that they seek to prevent many of the ill effects that are sometimes associated with capitalism, such as economic inequality.

Socialism and communism are based on the principle that the means of producing goods and providing services — such as all factories and companies — should be owned publicly and controlled and planned by a centralized organization rather than being controlled by members of a small class of wealthy people. Socialists assert that wealthy people who own the means of production are able to exploit workers in order to make more money and become even richer, thereby increasing their power over the workers. By eliminating private ownership of factories and companies, socialists believe, the workers can be paid more.

Another difference between socialism and communism is that communists assert that both capitalism and private ownership of the means of production must be done away with as soon as possible in order to make sure a classless society — the communist ideal — is formed. Socialists, however, typically see capitalism as a steppingstone toward the ideal state and believe that socialism can develop out of a capitalistic society. In fact, one of the ideas of socialism is that everyone within the society will benefit from capitalism as much as possible as long as the capitalism is controlled somehow by a centralized planning system.

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Discussion Comments
By anon84997 — On May 18, 2010

What people fail to understand is, if you give the money to the government to redistribute, some will magically disappear in an unknown or useless "tax".

Fair market systems are required. It doesn't mean that the government shouldn't step in to ensure a fair playing field, but they shouldn't run wall street.

By anon84771 — On May 17, 2010

America is based on the system of you have the opportunity to succeed, not the right. You work and you gain reward; you shouldn't have it handed to you on a silver platter. socialists are lazy and they want all the money to come through to them so they won't have to work.

By anon84767 — On May 17, 2010

This site rocks! This site helped me with a mid term paper!

By anon83153 — On May 09, 2010

Power corrupts and especially in any ideology, absolute power corrupts absolutely. No matter, communist, socialist, capitalist, democratic -- this is *not* a black and white issue.

None of these ideologies or any ideology has all the answers for all the problems. Governments who scream about equality for all men can become corrupt with absolute power to disperse the wealth. The 1 percent wealthy of a capitalist society can succumb to greed and horde mountains of money regardless of whether they earned the money and privilege or not.

Take something from each ideology and think for yourselves. Question everything and try to piece together what might be as fair and just as life can be made for everyone.

Stop dwelling on the faults in all ideologies. Instead, be aware of them and harness their strengths. Extremes of belief, philosophy, thought or ideology have ever and always did little to serve the needs of mankind other than to create chaos.

Why this is so difficult for people to understand is beyond me. An ideology or political view that remains stagnant for its people is just as poisonous as having no rules at all.

By anon82119 — On May 04, 2010

Hitler was a downright awful person. He killed incomprehensible numbers of people, and the holocaust was perhaps the single most terrible act of humanity ever. But aside from this, one of the worst things (in my opinion) he did is completely destroy and rational/logical evaluation of socialism. The Nazis were bad obviously, but that doesn't necessarily make socialism bad.

By anon80529 — On Apr 27, 2010

All this talk of ideology is meaningless. Hitler and Stalin were more alike than blood brothers. Did they hate each other? Of course. Do the White Sox hate the Yankees? Who cares? The importance is never one of ideology but rather one of just who owns the right to rape the citizenry; i.e. a turf battle, not an ideological war.

Politicians of all stripes are never ideologues; they are, rather, power hungry criminals who never learned anything about contributing to the larger society by producing something of value since they are usually devoid of any demonstrable


Because they lack real talent, they become masters of the con game. They play with words and attempt to prey upon human weakness. The weaker we are as individuals, the more they succeed in raping us.

The proper terms to classify anyone is statistics in state-ist vs. libertarian.

Which individuals need to use force in order to accomplish some meaningless self-aggrandizing scheme that inevitably leaves them at the top of the heap regardless of their lack of any real talent? This leaves Stalin and Hitler as major league statistics (as in state-ist). It leaves both Bush and Obama only as bush league wannabes.

OK, Obama is a bit more ambitious and ego-centric but still bush league.

Libertarians eschew the grand schemes of these criminal hack statistics (as in state-lists) and rather use persuasion by the strength of their talents and their ideas to win us over. If you don't like them, pass them by.

The statist (as in state-ist) will not allow you to do this; instead he will "persuade" you with a government gun in his hand; "it's my way or jail (or worse), pal!"

Now who wants to control your life more: Hitler or Stalin? See what I mean? A meaningless question.

By anon79876 — On Apr 25, 2010

wow. some people are really stupid. they obviously haven't even understood (or read) the article at the top explaining that socialism and communism are not the same.

Look at the netherlands, finland, sweden, denmark, the UK, australia, canada, france -- all heavily capitalist countries with good democracies who all have strong socialist programs in their countries (in particular health, education, public transport and welfare systems).

Nether socialism or communism have anything to do with the nazis whatsoever.

By anon78517 — On Apr 19, 2010

Post 120,

Get real. Sure, it was named the "National Socialist German Worker's Party" but the implementation and actions were far from socialist ideology. Much like the German Democratic Republic was neither democratic nor a republic.

While Nazism has both left and right political elements, in context it is hard to argue against the fact that it leans far to the right. Fascist, Ethnocentric, and highly militaristic, the Hitler was most definitely right of center.

While some will say that Hitler sided with Marx, they may even quote some passages where he speaks favorably about socialism. But Hitler had a definition of his own when it came to socialism.

"Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not."

-Carsten, Francis Ludwig (1982).The Rise of Fascism, 2nd ed. University of California Press, p.137. Quoting: Hitler, A., Sunday Express, September 28, 1930.

Lastly, Hitler was strongly against communism and common leftist ideals. The apposing political party to the Nazi party was the Communist Party of Germany (KDP). Upon receiving power, Hitler banned the party and sent those associated with it to prison camps. They were classified as political prisoners and wore an inverted red triangle.

It's called Godwin's Law; "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

But perhaps more importantly, an equal probability exists that the more someone tries draw a comparison to Nazis or Hitler to prove a political point, the less they actually know about the Nazis or Hitler.

By anon78514 — On Apr 19, 2010

Post 120: Get real. Sure, it was named the "National Socialist German Worker's Party" but the implementation and actions were far from socialist ideology. Much like the German Democratic Republic was neither democratic nor a republic.

While Nazism has both left and right political elements, in context it is hard to argue against the fact that it leans far to the right. Fascist, ethnocentric, and highly militaristic, the Hitler was most definitely right of center.

While some will say that Hitler sided with Marx, they may even quote some passages where he speaks favorably about socialism. But Hitler had a definition of his own when it came to socialism.

Lastly, Hitler was strongly against communism and common leftist ideals. The opposing political party to the Nazi party was the Communist Party of Germany (KDP). Upon coming to power, Hitler banned the party and sent those associated with it to prison camps. They were classified as political prisoners and wore an inverted red triangle.

It's called Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

But perhaps more importantly, an equal probability exists that the more someone tries draw a comparison to Nazis or Hitler to prove a political point, the less they actually know about the Nazis or Hitler.

By anon78229 — On Apr 17, 2010

Oh and for the people who say communism/socialism is caring for the poor like Christ would: the bible is clear about people having children outside of marriage and committing adultery/fornication and what it does to a society. This is an adulterous society. Also it speaks of a man who does not provide for his family is worse than a reprobate.

By anon78073 — On Apr 16, 2010

Socialism is not Communism! Socialism does not always lead to communism. If it does, show me one true example of a nation that was socialist to communist. Please, do it. Put up or shut up! Because that is a damn lie spoon fed to all who want to believe by our mainstream media. Since the 50's our media and government has beat it into our brains that communism is horrible.

Now that people want socialism, they just say it's all the same. It is not! Also, like poster 120, arguing against socialism using communist examples. How does that work? Once again with the Nazis and turning socialism into fascism.

While the Nazis claimed to be socialist, and you call them left wing, they operated using a very right wing perspective (at least an American right perspective): white people of the correct descent ruling all and eliminating all who did not agree. Hating Jews as well. That seems very right wing to me. Posters 22 and 117, you are wrong. Poster 118, You are wrong as well. Socialism promotes private ownership of property and business, just like capitalism. Wow! Right?

Communism promotes public ownership. In that respect socialism is more aligned with capitalism than communism. Why don't any of you stop just comparing the word socialism to examples of communism and fascism?

Why don't you actually compare socialism to a socialist country? Why don't you look into successful socialism, like Switzerland? Look into that, great economy, direct democracy, in a socialist country.

By anon76897 — On Apr 12, 2010

It's funny how people are instantly scared and panicky at the word "socialism" or "communism", and how people paint that term "communism" on Obama just for slander.

A few years ago, it was "Bush" and "fascism" and "capitalism".

By anon76598 — On Apr 11, 2010

Small question for author of #123: Who has what percentage of the wealth in Cuba and North Korea?

By the way, wealth must be "created" before it can be retained.

Taking property by force or deception from those who make the property is called "theft" no matter what individual, group or regime snatches it.

By anon76527 — On Apr 10, 2010

I have read through the comments and many are extreme in their arguing to justify capitalism and socialism/communism.

Some like it black or white so their thinking stops when they have grabbed and answer for them. That closed mindedness is a national problem. All the time we are dealing with blockheads who are rigid and fervent.

China is Communist. It has increasing free market but is still communist. Some rich classes flourish but it is still Communist.

America has most of its wealth tied up with 10 percent of its people. 50 percent of the people share a tiny 3 percent and shrinking.

If you think at all then surely you can see what outcomes lie ahead.

For America's own defense it needs to address the equity time bomb. Don't let the tiny rich controlling group sweep you away with propaganda through the media they control.

The big picture is one of a sick nation. Because you are comfortable now does not mean that is sustainable.

Be smart and question, question, question!

Categorizing and name calling is a well known bad arguing technique. Branding and socially castigating seems to only work one way, so that tells you who is doing it.

If you let the powerful frighten you then you will be scared to think. They have won. Greed followed by dramatic decline is a repeated pattern in history and all the precursors and mechanisms for that are stronger than ever before.

More of the same cannot and will not continue. It is a no-brainer.

By millwork — On Apr 09, 2010

comment 121's definition looks good on the surface, but is it sustainable? Right now 47 percent of our citizens pay no income taxes, and 70 percent-plus is paid by the top 10 percent of earners. Take the profit out, and no one produces-- Oh Oh, that's right, someone would set what a reasonable profit and a reasonable wage is.

Who decides on who is setting the profits and wages? this is where this social experiment falls down.

Light controls over business to ensure that there is no price fixing, that maximizes real competition allows capitalism to shine by having the people decide what is a fair price with their choices. These choices also decide on how the business runs -- if you don't like it, don't buy the product, goods, or services they are offering.

Government's job is to ensure that a fair and open marketplace exists, that a basic safety net is in place for the least of us, then get out of the way!

By anon75923 — On Apr 08, 2010

(Democratic) Socialism is not communism. Socialism is simply a heavily regulated capitalism that ensures that "the little guy" has rights too.

The ownership of businesses is kept in the hands of private citizens, but caps are placed on how high they can charge for products and services, and minimum wages are established for each career field based on level of knowledge and skill needed for the field, and the degree of experience a person has.

That way, a business owner can still make a profit, but s/he cannot charge as much as s/he can get away with and pay workers as little as possible.

The idea is to keep capitalism but to take measures to make it more fair for all and shorten the abyssal gap between the wealthy and the middle class. It's what we've needed for a long time, but the public is just starting to seriously consider it.

The conservatives demonize socialism and equate it to communism because they are greedy and don't want to give up the abyssal gap and lavish lifestyles. They do not care about others than themselves.

By anon75794 — On Apr 07, 2010

I did live in one of the Eastern European communist countries.

You can discuss your heads off and you will not know what it really is. There are some jokers on line who compare American conservative movement to the Communists, but they are just lunatics. Communists were killing and subjugating people to a horrendous way of life. You had no opportunities, no hope and you could be killed for no reason in the name of the communism.

Nobody kills people for political opinions in the USA.

Socialism is the first step to the communist "nirvana". Socialists allow for some capitalist activity to maintain somewhat healthy economies but control the capitalist at every step.

Both socialism and communism are deviated systems where some bureaucrat tells you how to live, what to drive, what to buy and where to work.

What is most ridiculous is that people call Nazis a right wing. Hitler's Nazi Party was a "nickname" for the: National Socialist German Workers' Party. You can see the socialist term in the name. left wing. They were based in the Marxism as competing with them communists.

Hitler allowed corporate and private enterprise but controlled it and often financed.

Stalin eliminated all private property. He eliminated the owners of that property too. And his "soul brother" Hitler did similar things too, and we speak about it a lot.

Stalin bought himself a name of Uncle Joe because he joined the allies in the fight against his bro Hitler.

All of you should be very careful embracing socialism. It will for sure lead to atrocities. Because you would give the decision of everything to the bureaucrat or a fellow traveller politician.

Do not be a useful idiot, who helps socialism to be instilled in the free society because after it is in power you will be the first to go.

If you think it can not happen here, watch out.

Socialists in western Europe are slouching to the communist dictatorship of the "masses" and there is no return.

Socialist/communists will always deny reality of their systems. And when eliminated they spew lies and hysteria about the opposition.

General Pinochet in Chile was ruthless, but only to Communists (about 3500), which was a good lesson for the world to see how you deal with the perverse cancer of socialism on any society.

Communist regimes were ruthless to innocent people and have the tally of about 200,000 (two hundred million) on their hands. So rather then discussing pros and cons. look at the reality of what socialists have in store for people in the historical context.

This is the only thing that the socialists were good at: Killing innocent people in the name of socialism/communism/Marxism.

I know. I experienced their wrath.

By millwork — On Apr 06, 2010

Capitalism allows one with a solution to a problem, who can gather together the time, materials, people and/or money to execute that solution, to offer said solution for a price- the free market determines if that price is of value to the purchaser.

If you do not like the product, how the solution is achieved, or how the company operates, then do not buy it!

To have a central government of group decide what is the"best" based on their opinions, steals the power from the individual, and concentrates it in the hands of those who are deciding what is best for us. Call it "progressive", or liberal", Or communism, or "socialism", I call it wrong.

Yes there are excesses in every system, but, at least in ours we have the ability to change the providers as long as we are willing to "vote" with our wallets-- and keep those who are willing to reach into mine to give to someone else because they think it's right.

What gives them the right to decide how I spend the products of my labor and intellectual effort?

By anon75394 — On Apr 06, 2010

In terms of economics, both capitalism and socialism are highly debated economic theories. They have well established definitions, much like any scientific theory does.

Generally they are defined as follows. These are my own words, but I think you will find these are consistent with any major dictionary.

Capitalism: Ownership derived from the concept of private property.

Socialism: Ownership derived from the concept of public property.

By anon75329 — On Apr 06, 2010

Which do you think humanely leads to lower cost and higher quality: a) voting for candidates who will force people to produce more at lower cost and higher quality or b) competition between somewhat selfish, greedy people?

Which do you think offers more personal freedom and happiness? a) being forced to do something "that benefits society" or b) voluntary volunteerism?

Liberty from government and corporate tyranny is what people should want. Capitalism is good because it offers competition and more personal freedom from government, however that does not mean that it should not be without checks and balances from a government.

"Government-heavy" systems such as socialism and communism are not good because they limit individual freedom and liberty. Governments should govern, not be your provider, nanny, and god.

By anon75149 — On Apr 05, 2010

Post 115 has it right. National Socialists are said to be "right wing" (a meaningless term) statistics while international socialists are said to be "left wing" statistics. In both cases government tyranny ensues.

I think Obama is an international statistic ("left wing") while George Bush was a national statist ("right wing"). In both cases government tyranny is visited upon the citizens, that, if unchecked will eventually lead to firing squads for speaking against such forms of government tyranny.

The noose is always applied slowly until the unwary victim finds he/she is being strangled. That is how it worked in statistic Russia and in statistic Nazi Germany. It always starts with government "helping us".

For us, the first stage of enslavement is almost complete and once the final step has been taken there is no turning back.

By anon74626 — On Apr 03, 2010

Would it be fair to make the generalization that, in the real world it could be said that communism was generally totalitarian while socialism is not looked on from at a national level.

By four321zero — On Mar 31, 2010

I apologize if i sound too confused in my post below (post 113) and it if it doesn't make much sense. But i really am confused since almost everyone has a different answer.

Can someone simply give distinctive definitions of real world communist societies and real world socialist societies, maybe with some examples? Also how do they differ from the capitalist countries?

By four321zero — On Mar 31, 2010

100 odd posts and i still don't get the difference between socialism and communism in the real world.

After post 110 I am kind of confused if there is any difference between capitalism and communism too, since some parts of what he described (quoted below) as communism as sounded like any other capitalist democracies.


"It's not about disempowerment or sharing your hard-earned cash with your lazy neighbor. You won't have cash. Need a car? We'll build you a car. Need two? Sure! If you need two, you can have two. After all, it didn't cost anything except the time and expertise of our engineers, technicians and labourers and these guys get the same benefits as you, so it's all good."

By anon73876 — On Mar 29, 2010

Capitalism is not perfect and companies are not perfect. But I have never understood why socialist leaning people believe that government is more fair and will have the people's best interests at heart.

By anon73813 — On Mar 29, 2010

We survived thousands of years without rights, freedoms or cars. Sure primitive tribes manage to live in a real effective communist society and if you want to hunt for your food and live in animal skins it might just work for you.

Of course nothing is preventing you from joining a commune if you want to live in a communist society within the united states either. Some of them even have electricity.

By anon73336 — On Mar 26, 2010

It's very frustrating how people assume a communist society is about oppression and forced equality. If you want that, look at overtly politically correct capitalist countries like America.

Communism empowers each individual. If you have a talent for engineering, you become an engineer. If you have creative desires, you become an artist. If you are a great thinker, you become a philosopher. Why not? It's not all about industry, hard work and production!

You get paid according to your needs and you work according to your talents and abilities. Everyone gets the same opportunities yet everyone also gets a choice!

If you don't work, you hamper the community and the community lets you know it's not appreciated, putting it mildly. Because a true communist system doesn't deal with monetary value, your incentives aren't financial and its members are truly invested in the community.

Exactly how things were with tribes - even today.

It's not about disempowerment or sharing your hard-earned cash with your lazy neighbor. You won't have cash. Need a car? We'll build you a car. Need two? Sure! If you need two, you can have two. After all, it didn't cost anything except the time and expertise of our engineers, technicians and labourers and these guys get the same benefits as you, so it's all good.

We've survived thousands of years without a capitalist system, so what makes people think that it'll be the ruin of us and the loss of our freedoms and future development if we suddenly become a bunch of selfless, caring humanitarians who look after our neighbor instead of trying competing with them?

Do yourself a favor. Pick up a book and read about these things (in fact, read about everything) rather than listening to right-wing capitalists that say communism is evil!

By anon71707 — On Mar 19, 2010

RE 107: China used to be a communist nation. Now we are much closer to it than they are. China is prospering as they shed the shackles of communism which is based upon the lie that people are simply members of a common hear - like cattle.

We, on the other hand, are on our our way to oblivion as the criminals in Washington tell you that all work and effort is equal - everyone gets an A but the A means nothing.

Reject what your teachers are telling you - they do not work for their grades as you do. Instead, they get paid, not for what they do, but by how many years they have taken your parents' money no matter how bad they are - most teachers adore communism.

By anon71330 — On Mar 18, 2010

107, Because China stopped being communist and is now free market capitalist.

By four321zero — On Mar 14, 2010

Thanks anon @ 104.

How does a communist and socialist country really work? Like if i were born there what would i see different from the democracies? How does china have so many millionaires if its communist and doesn't let anyone grow wealthy?

By anon70299 — On Mar 13, 2010

Anon from comment 100: I pity you honestly. I think it's completely the other way around. It's sad how they offered you candy when you were little and as gullible as you or anyone of us could've been, they brainwashed you.

I firmly believe that the founding fathers stood up for something knowing that the capitalism would get out of control. Just like you say, corporations were legalized but did you ever think it was to protect themselves?

They broke loose from the bonds payable and absorbed power because if you take for instance an oil company in the 30's, they had so much money, they could commit crimes and steal property only to cover it up with goods and wealth.

Comment 99 is completely in line and i approve. As for comment 100, i respect your opinion but i agree to disagree with you.

By anon70169 — On Mar 12, 2010

In response to #103, certainly communism and democracy are compatible; they are both tyrannical to the core.

We do not live under a democracy, or haven't until recently. In a democracy, you can vote to own or use the property of another; communism simply claims property is equally owned, which is a lie.

Under communism, the enforcers tell you how much access to the common property you may use. You may share ownership of the learjet but it's only the enforcers who can use it.

Everyone shares in the basic stuff like food too - beans for you and filet mignon with champagne for the enforcers.

Let's try communism in your classroom setting: You work very hard for your grades, burning hour after hour of midnight oil mastering your subjects. Great! You get an A's - but wait!

There are many students who have no zeal or ability to work for their grades and they would rather drink, smoke pot and look at porn. They get F's on every test, but because equality is the goal of communism you must surrender two grade points on your A's which makes them C's in order to make the loser's F's shared into equal C's.

You now all get C's. Soon, no one works because there is no reward for it, so you all get F's, but your teachers give you A's anyway that have no value at all. Just like communist money - totally worthless.

That's how communism and democracy both work.

By anon69895 — On Mar 10, 2010

I agree socialist leaders don't always take money, but anon67419 is right. people high up like CEOs and CFOs make money because they are more education and work crazy hours to fill in work.

Small workers who make little money are easier to replace so presidents of companies have no need to give them lots of money to convince them to stay.

The idea about capitalism is that anyone can get rich. By getting money from banks you can start a company or write a book or become a actor. The Capitalism dream is anyone even a labor worker can get rich. You don't even need a job to get rich! Some people sit at home and invest in companies.

By four321zero — On Mar 08, 2010

I still have a lot of questions about communism.

Does the government control all means of production and are there no privately owned businesses? If so, do the farmers work on land owned by the government?

If all production is government owned, is the revenue from such production distributed evenly amongst the people to sustain equality?

Is it practically possible to have a classless society with no inequality of income especially if demographics differ from household to household and also the level of skill and experience would differ for each job?

Although most communist parties have taken control through a revolution, is it possible in theory for a communist party to have traits of a democracy such as voting for a bill or electing a new government?

Also how would any capitalist society possibly undergo a transition to socialism?

By anon69236 — On Mar 07, 2010

I resent the assumptions of close minded people who assume that the welders, electricians, teachers, public servants and so on are stealing their money because they happen to be in a lower tax bracket.

Without the "common" people of the middle and lower classes, there would be a lot less wealth in this country. Due to the recession, we are currently below the poverty level. We are having to use "social" programs such as the county health department and food stamps.

Even when I worked full time as a teachers aide and fill in teacher, we still qualified for the health department. I worked with very handicapped children and made less money than a friend working at McDonald's. I didn't regret my choice though, as I was very good at what I did and made a big difference in the lives of many people.

A tidbit of info, Neil Bush, the son who was involved in the S&L scandal of the 80's is owner of the company who produces the FCAT, based on the NCLB act based on the fraudulent program enacted based on the Texas model under his brother, then governor, George HW Bush.

Just FYI: I could've very easily continued in my initial legal profession, but after a few years of that, I hold prostitutes in higher regard than attorneys.

My husband is a master electrician and for the first time in 28 years is jobless. There is just nothing out there. He is also qualified in many other trades along with the documentation to support his competance in areas that very few could do, if their lives depended on it.

We learned long ago to live within our means, so we are fortunate that we are not facing the struggles of many other well educated but gullible people who bought into the theory that material success equaled success.

Do you remember 911, "Do not let the terrorists win, go shopping"? Life is all about choices. Mine is to help people, unlike the CEOs at AIG who would rather steal from them.

By anon68782 — On Mar 04, 2010

Number 99 is pure socialist balderdash.

Corporations are simply a manifestation of contract law, and the right to contract is the very essence of our personal liberty.

Only slaves had no right to contract and have their contracts (consensual obligations between parties) made enforceable through common (civil) law. Without corporate charters we are all socialist slaves.

The idea of corporations as legal entities came about to protect innocent third parties from suits at law. Without this idea, no one could become a passive investor (stock ownership) in a large enterprise.

The idea behind this is that only the value of one's investments are put at risk when one invests in a large corporation: Ford Motors for instance.

Without this provision the trial lawyers would not have only the corporate assets of Ford to go after when someone gets drunk and runs their Ford truck into a tree; instead they could go after the homes and life savings of all of the millions of Ford's investors all over the US.

The average American has been fed these socialist lies by statist education bureaucracies whose very purpose is to brainwash our youth into accepting the chains of servitude; chains that are almost always accepted voluntarily by gullible youth.

By anon68729 — On Mar 04, 2010

Sorry but what made this country the greatest was its first 100 years of existence. It was a capitalistic society for the worker not corporations.

Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Monroe believed that the monied interests (banks, corporations) were worse than governments. Taking from the labor class to line their own pockets. They were firm believers in the socialist model.

Jefferson fought against the central bank, and they also wanted an amendment against monopolies. They also spoke regularly how banks and corporations would eventually ruin liberty. Each of them spoke regularly on how the consolidation of wealth would ruin the country.

Their views are what created the wealthiest per capita country in the world. Then the foreign owned bank was able to infiltrate our government and the supreme court allowed the corporations to break free of the bonds put in place by the founding fathers and grow uncontrollably and with it, gain power.

The founding fathers were about money being a tool to purchase things people need, not a master of people. Capitalism has created the money master and that has been in the last 80 years of this country.

They have actually sapped and consolidated the per capita wealth of this country.

By anon67966 — On Feb 28, 2010

someone(anon67419) up there is saying in socialism group leaders takes all the money. nowadays, people have this tendency to comment about anything without knowing a single basic thing about it as they are some big thinkers.

the leaders who bring socialism to their society in a real way (not talking about some fake social groups works as fascists) have to make great sacrifices and fight. everywhere in a socialist country there are people's boards where even the great leader comes to all people and talks and shares things.

all the property has been distributed according the trust and the plans they made for. and the nation's people can check clarity by themselves. nothing has been produced there for any interest or extra charge or profit. only people produce things for all. The amount is needed or extra things goes to help other socialist countries. it's nothing is hiding like capitalism. total amounts of capital are saved into the bank accounts of all big capitalist leaders.

so please stop wrong propaganda about all these lies.

By anon67419 — On Feb 24, 2010

Capitalist government is the best period. Under socialist and communist rule everyone makes the same money except the government leaders who end up making lots of money. The thing is, people high up like CEOs and CFOs make money because they are more education and work crazy hours to fill in work.

Small workers who make little money are easier to replace so presidents of companies have no need to give them lots of money to convince them to stay.

By anon67417 — On Feb 24, 2010

Capitalist governments are the best! Socialist and communist governments are bad. Both even out salaries and make people unable to rise to higher levels.

In capitalist governments (like US, UK, Italy, etc.), if you invent something you can sell the idea and patent it. In communist and socialist societies, the idea then belongs to the government and they use it.

By anon67325 — On Feb 24, 2010

socialism is the best form, period.

By anon67046 — On Feb 22, 2010

43 - I agree with the majority of your comments. Your list of socialistic countries did not include most of Europe. Was this intentional?

Another poster mentioned he was a welder and made 50k and compared himself to a ceo at goldman sachs - this kind of thinking is dangerous. Why don't you become a ceo at GS so you can make that salary. Why? Because you are not qualified and not worth that salary, that is why.

We already have a progressive tax structure that forces me to give almost half my income to the government. At 50k what do you give? 10% after your deductions. It is pretty easy too take other people's money and spend it, isn't it? It is a sad reality where our country is going. A reality that discourages productivity and encourages the opposite.

If you want more money don't steal it from others, just work more. Work 60, 70 or 80 hours if you have to. I did. Only to have the government take my money and pay for your kid's tuition.

You want to see this country come to a screeching halt just keep thinking like socialists.

By anon66714 — On Feb 21, 2010

The problem is that we have several levels of varying economical and political systems within our America. The middle class form the capitalistic portion, in that we have the opportunity to work hard and gain rewards for that. In the mix of the middle class we have Socialism, to some extent, with schools, police and other public functions.

The problems lie with the polarized wealth distribution. The small percentage of people who earn the majority of wealth off of the labor of the middle class are, to me, the same as a communistic society where everyone (in our case, most everyone) gets enough to keep them happy and satisfied but the people in control still are living high on the hog.

What do we all want? We want food, shelter, freedom of religion and thought, safety and the ability to expand our family and community in a positive manner. Can we achieve this with the current system? No. The rich will continue to dominate our political system and control us as needed to maintain their wealth.

Do we change to communism or socialism? No. These systems, apart from the semi-socialistic ideologies we share now, don't seem to work. But we can't be afraid to try something new. Who cares what it is called? We are getting too venomous over our terminology.

The conservatives spew out words like "radical" and "communism" to scare their sheep. The liberals can't find their bung-holes right now and can't verbalize anything.

My feeling is that we need to get rid of the current two-party, polarized, non-budging, non-cooperating system that is run by corporations and their lobbyists and start fresh with the basics.

We don't control our government. They control us and they are controlled by a few wealthy people. We shouldn't have people starving and without health care on our streets. We are better than that. We shouldn't have CEOs making

$50 million dollar bonuses while the workers in their factories can't afford health care. We cannot count on people to do the right thing on their own because we encourage wealth and success above everything else.

All of our ads on TV, our sports heroes, or lotto winners are all directed and making us think everything is all right and our gravy-train is just around the corner.

All these people touting their religious views should ask the age-old question: "What would Jesus do?", and then do it. Step up and stop making excuses. Jesus doesn't want you to have too much while others do not. He doesn't command it, but he asks it, and if you can deny this, you are truly more insane than most and need to read, maybe for the first time, the book you hold so dear.

And for all those non-believers, this is the only world we have. We are a recent addition to the evolutionary chain and certainly have a lot of false-confidence if we think we are here forever despite how we act.

We are just a blink in the history of the world, and though we may be the smartest creatures on the planet we can't assume that intelligence will be an evolutionary jackpot. It may be a hindrance and will cause our eventual destruction if we don't use it the right way. We are one species, one big family and if we continue to see it differently, we might be one more notch on the tree of extinction.

By anon66677 — On Feb 21, 2010

@anon64016: your slippery slope arguments are shallow.

Socialism doesn't simply equate to taxing the people and putting them into the pockets' of the lazy.

In today's capitalist environment, what we really need is actually a tinge of socialism. It's about splitting the pie among the people. A very good example is the bailout of the wall street by the american govt. Where does the money go to? the high ranking executives, while the lower tiered workers who got retrenched, who were not even responsible for the financial meltdown? They got nothing.

What we really need is to help these people to ensure justice. And this is what socialism is all about. Sharing and splitting the pie with those who have worked hard and deserves to be rewarded accordingly. But well, i guess in reality, this will never occur due to the intrinsic human nature of selfishness and self-interests.

By anon66374 — On Feb 19, 2010

God this means so much to me. It's bothering me more and more -- not just the ways I'm being wronged by our corrupt government and the lobbyists that they serve but also they're apparent closed mindedness.

Conservatives must know to be in positions like that you have to be able to see things as clearly as me, and certainly much clearer. why are there not more people fighting for health care and all the things we desperately need? I don't get it. I wish someone could explain it to me.

By anon66079 — On Feb 17, 2010

The U.S. has already almost been turned into a socialist state. Instead of the government handling the vast quantities of resources we have, it's the major corporations (which in turn is the government, given the amount of money they stuff into our representatives pockets). We really have no chance of going back to a true free market economy unless the corporations are broken down.

But, odds are, if corporations were to be broken down somehow the government would assume a majority of tasks that they handle on a nationwide basis, turning us into a more socialist/communist state. So either way, looks like we don't have much of a choice.

So congratulations to those 10 percent who own 90 percent of the nation's wealth. I'm sure you won't have any problems finding "affordable" health care.

By anon65299 — On Feb 12, 2010

I think overview glosses over some important points. Socialism is a closed economic system. If you have a market where anyone can play, it is not socialism. If there is competition, it is not socialism.

For instance, the US education system, which provides a full 12-year education practically free. If that were the only option, it would be a socialism element in an otherwise capitalist system. But, thousands of people spend a large sum of money to send their kids to private schools. For that reason, our education system is not socialism.

Our fire departments are "socialistic," in that you have no market where, should your house catch fire, you would look in phone book and decide which service you wanted to respond. There are very few examples of socialism in America.

Like all progressive democracies, we have found that through collectivism (the word conservatives should be using), our society is more efficient and fair if we have the government handle certain tasks.

Is this system marred by greed, arrogance and myopic short-sightedness? Absolutely. But this is a sad reality of Democracy. If we eliminated taxes and all regulations, it would not be better, but worse. It's the dirty bathwater our baby will always swim in.

The sad thing is so many people buy into the lies of the right-wing that anything we do collectively is somehow "socialism." Their inability--or refusal--to see the much more complicated nature of our country is a tragedy.

By anon64574 — On Feb 08, 2010

i used your article for research purposes. i benefited very much. thanks a lot.

By anon64095 — On Feb 05, 2010

I believe that this discussion comes down to the corruptibility of men. In the wake of the Enron's and Bernie Madoff's it is simple to see that without justice, imposed and ensured by regulation capitalism to will fail under the weight of the corruptibility of man. Like sheep to Wolves.

In the wake of Big Bank bailouts to me it is clear that regulation to has failed under the corruptibility of men.

Where are those begging for de-regulation and espousing more capitalism not less is needed now only 18 months ago.

Equally Where are those saying yes, what we need now is more regulation?

Capitalism will fail or depending on your seat in society has already began to fail. Either that failure will come with the environmental failure of the planet and/or with the greed of the wolves.

Socialism, Communism, and other forms of Capitalism have failed historically under these same wolves.

With that said, it seems fruitless to defend either. First, in my humble opinion one should ask themselves what am I willing to lose for the gains of compromise.

I am willing to leave those who choose failure for themselves or their children to their destiny, if those who seek success are willing to be checked and in some ways restrained to ensure that their right to become filthy rich doesn't impede on my ability to fail by my own devices not through their poor investments in the future.

When I survey the scene here I see all that is necessary to ensure success amidst the wolves. All that is missing is compromise.

So with that said what am I? Surely someone here can label me?

By anon64016 — On Feb 04, 2010

Thanks for the article. To all of who support socialism, communism or various mixtures and takeoffs of them (for the sake of clarity I will refer to them as Marxism) I have a few things to say.

Look at the facts. How many times has Marxism been successful? How many times has failed? Also, ask yourself which is the most successful nation in the world? Your answer to that question is the United States of America, whether you like it or not.

I, for one, thank God for this nation and am saddened by the effect Marxists are having on this great nation. Socialist promulgate government or collective ownership of the means of production, which doesn't translate from the socialist brain into real life very well at all.

If you are redistributing wealth that destroys the principle of being rewarded for your work.

Why work when you're just going to get taxed out of your money; just be lazy and reap the benefits of others' hard work. As you should be able to see in the Marxist society there is no point in working.

Oh, but wait, that also creates a problem because then there are no funds to redistribute. What then? Well I guess we could always hold hands and sing, until malnutrition takes that ability from us. The whole redistribution of wealth thing is lot poppycock.

The communistic idea of a classless society with no government also has many problems. For one thing I guarantee you someone is going to decide to take control. In fact several someone's will and that creates chaos and bloodshed.

When that struggle is over whoever won will make the nation his slave in brutal dictatorship. Oh, but, there are no classes and our society is peaceful in communism.

What all of you brilliant Marxists seem to have missed is that there are actually two classes as it turns out: the dictator and his coterie and the slave class. I guess you were pretty close in saying there are only two classes and if you think being a slave is peaceful and harmonious and grand, I have plenty things you could do for me.

To you anti-war people: since the Iraqi war is so awful, I guess you would happy as clam if Al-Qaeda was freely roaming American streets oppressing American citizens and offing those who don't comply with their demands. That clam analogy would be better stated. You have all the great intellectual power of a clam. Anyway, that's enough ranting.

By anon63812 — On Feb 03, 2010

@80: You make a few good points. I'd like to know what you think of our (the US) current system though. If I'm a guy working in a machine shop, I might make $50,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Goldman Sachs gets over a million, then gets a bonus of over $60 million. People should be rewarded for what the contribute. There's no way that guy works over 1200 times harder than I do.

And that is what's wrong with 'free-market' capitalism. We don't need communism, but we certainly need a healthy dose of socialism.

By anon63410 — On Feb 01, 2010

Why should one not be rewarded for their work? All work is not equal. As in the example of the body, my heart is not equal to my appendix.

By anon62582 — On Jan 27, 2010

In response to number 79, you pay taxes to support war in order to have a country. Wars are what make our borders and all national borders have been defined by war. Borders need to be defended or they will be invaded. Certainly there is room for disagreement as to whether some particular war is really necessary and that is why we have elections.

In reality, no war is necessary, if one is willing to accept the consequences of not fighting. We all saw examples of this in high school. There were wimpy fruitcakes who allowed the bullies to step all over them. The only thing that kept the bullies in line were the kids who would not stand for it and fought back.

You appear to be a utopian who believes that violence solves nothing. I would suggest you go live in a community where police are not allowed. Good luck with that.

We institute government to have the only monopoly on the legal use of force;no one else can force anything on anyone except the government and that is why we limit the role of government to only those things that reasonable people cannot negotiate and contract for voluntarily between themselves, which in practice excludes most everything but legal justice and national defense.

To use government to re-distribute what others have worked for is simply legalized theft and that is exactly what is wrong with communism and socialism.

Generally people who want more than what free people would pay for their often meager skills or work energy are diminished and immoral human beings who believe that a government who steals on their behalf somehow makes the theft morally acceptable, i.e., they have criminal instincts but they are too cowardly to pick up the gun and do the robbery for themselves and see communism and socialism as a way around their dilemma.

By anon62265 — On Jan 25, 2010

Any system to its extreme is probably not the best, hence capitalism and communism. We have a bit of both. My thing is, if we pay taxes, why does it go to a war that I never wanted? Why should I work 35-40 hours a week to pay for genocide? I'd rather have my money going for health care, a tangible good, something.

It's funny no one wants to mention when profits go to the top, how that isn't fascism. What's sad is how terms and vocabulary is so interchangeable to press the buttons of the masses.

If someone said, "Let's turn our fire department into socialism" everyone gets scared.

By anon61794 — On Jan 22, 2010

@64: The problem with "Socialist Leadership" is that there are limits to what a centralized group can do. The charitable person you mentioned is exactly what we need. Rather than waiting upon the inefficiency of distribution of resources to millions of people 'far and wide', instead, we can treat people's immediate needs if we had more morale and righteous people.

If the government controlled everything, situations that require immediate care would be neglected because there are so many needs, constantly.

By anon61625 — On Jan 21, 2010

RE: "This might seem like splitting hairs, but it's actually an important point to make since conservatives and liberals are won't to characterize socialism as a centralizing and therefore totalitarian doctrine whereas in fact most socialists would like to see the decentralize of economic power."

Decentralization is a nice concept when it comes to the butcher shoppe and the candle maker.

How would "decentralization" apply to securing the capital and know how to sink an oil well 35,000 feet under the caribbean sea?

How do we "decentralize" the aggregation of the 10 billion bucks and the thousands like it that such projects require?

By anon61624 — On Jan 21, 2010

RE: "Hence in the communist state all work was equal. Without the farmers the office workers wouldn't have ate and without the factory workers the farmers had no equipment to maintain the land."

Really? Wasn't some work "more equal" than others?

Let's say I'm an "equal" farm worker who doesn't like to get up on cold mornings and go out into the fields and do back breaking work.

Maybe I'd like to stay inside next to the stove with some hot tea and "supervise" the discipline of those who would likewise rather stay inside and keep warm and sit on a chair like me.

Now which of all these "equal people" decides who sits on the easy chair next to the stove and which must do the hard work that no one really wants to do?

I cannot believe the naivete of those who cling to this mind-numbing, outrageous simplification of human behavior. I would surmise that most of this cock-eyed nonsense comes from the denizens of academia where no one has ever been connected with reality.

Please tell me if I am wrong in this assessment. In which part of this "equal" world do you do your skulking?

By anon61289 — On Jan 19, 2010

Re 71: What you wrote in the first paragraph is nonsense! Observe the way your body works for a moment then think! Your heart is sometimes beating fast and you brain is hardly doing any work and vice versa. Yet you would not exist as a whole and healthy being without neither. So could you decide which of the two was more important or valuable to you?

Hence in the communist state all work was equal. Without the farmers the office workers wouldn't have ate and without the factory workers the farmers had no equipment to maintain the land.

We are just as important as each other, and if we stopped observing the world through a microscope and looked at the whole thing for once, we could simply stop fighting each other, be equal and work for a better future for the entire humanity together.

In this universe everything is connected and governed by a set of physical rules. Maybe if we took that example and projected it to politics we could establish a happy and united planet Earth where we are all equal and recognize how our individuals complemented each other.

After all we have got to share the planet with each other either way.

By anon61223 — On Jan 19, 2010

Thoughtful summary. I would want to make some slight revisions, however.

Socialists do not necessarily desire that the economy be "controlled and planned by a centralized organization." It's true that Marxian socialists desire as much, but not other socialists.

Anarchists, for instance, wish for the abolition of the state and for industry to come under democratic worker control. Other democratic socialists, while not wishing to abolish the state, would like to see industry come under direct worker control.

Thus both anarchists and democratic socialists would prefer cooperatives to state-owned enterprise as there is little reason to assume state-owned enterprise would be anymore democratic than private enterprise.

This might seem like splitting hairs, but it's actually an important point to make since conservatives and liberals are won't to characterize socialism as a centralizing and therefore totalitarian doctrine whereas in fact most socialists would like to see the decentralize of economic power.

By anon59985 — On Jan 11, 2010

Number 72 has it correct. The founders were, in large part, not anti-religious as much as they were distrustful of the state and state religion.

It would be a simplification to say they were all of one mind as much as it would be to cast today's sorry lot of politicians as all of the same mind.

However, we must remember that these were bold men who built a free country and nothing like the criminal elements that drive our current political apparatus.

By anon59609 — On Jan 09, 2010

Granted Benjamin Franklin was not a regular church goer, especially compared to many of the other founding fathers, but he did believe in the importance of Christianity in the government of our nation. Here are just a few more quotes from Benjamin Franklin:

“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” [Constitutional Convention of 1787. original manuscript of this speech]

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."

In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as "a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone."

By anon59520 — On Jan 08, 2010

After having read all of the comments posted on the subject, I can't help but notice that those in favor of socialism seem to forget that we are discussing people, not mere units of measure. If five people are told that they will receive the very same reward for their work then simple human nature will dictate that the quality of the work produced will equal the lowest common denominator as no sane person will go that "extra mile" for nothing.

This simple realization is why no socialist state has ever produced any truly great innovators but must, out of necessity, pirate the developments of other free states to achieve their ends.

Even less praise can be made for communism as it not only stifles the drive it also stifles the ability to drive, which is a double whammy on any society.

As Margaret Thatcher is oft quoted: "Socialism is the best form of government until you run out of other people's money". As trite as this may sound, it rings true when you realize that in a socialist state where the engine of economy is nearly flat all of these government mandates must be paid for somehow and it should be obvious to anyone that these "lowest common denominator" workers haven't got the money to cover the costs.

So, in a nutshell, both socialism and communism are unsustainable in the long run (and even in the short run most of the time) simply because their level of production is, by its very nature, always below the needs of the society.

By anon58424 — On Jan 01, 2010

Anyone who has bothered to research the founding fathers knows that most of them were Deist and some of them disliked Christianity very much.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches"- Benjamin Franklin

By anon57950 — On Dec 28, 2009

By definition a Christian takes from what he earns and gives to those in need and gives thanks to God.

By definition a socialist/communist takes from someone else and gives to those in need and gives thanks to himself.

Unfortunately all Christians don't follow the rule and fortunately all secular humanists don't follow the rule.

I say secular humanist because socialism and communism is the consistent world view of a secular humanist.

Americans have always valued freedom. Freedom is a good thing, a very good thing, as long as we have morality to go with it. Every one of the signers of the Constitution of the United States knew that. Every one of them also believed that that morality needed to be based in Christianity if this experiment, this republic was to survive. Very few people seem to know anymore that public education was begun in this country so that people could read the Bible.

We all recognize that greed is a motivating factor in free enterprise. That greed needs to be tempered to reduce harm. We need rules to play by so that we have an equal playing field, but I would say more than that, we need the values of Christianity.

I would also say that if there was just one thing that the government needs to do in regard to the economy of its nation, it is to protect the people from monopoly, be it private or governmental. Whereas free enterprise leads to greed, monopoly leads to power and control which can be far more harmful. By definition socialism and communism are monopolies.

Today the American people seem to have bought into the idea that monopolies are OK. How much has the propaganda of globalization had to do with that?

Under this Christian system of government all peoples have had freedom of religion. The idea of political prisons to incarcerate those who disagree with those in power has been an anathema to Americans. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are the two ideals we have held the highest.

I do not see much regard for either of those ideals in any communist/socialist state. If our government continues on this socialist course, I predict that within 10 years we will see political prisons.

By anon56309 — On Dec 14, 2009

@62: Most people don't agree. Like all government programs it slid in under smoke and mirrors of a pipe dream and is just redistribution that I pay for which limits my own retirement savings.

The government throws the money around and gives it to those who just take all they can from society. They are not entitled to it. They can work for it like I do.

All people can be productive -- they just choose not to be. You cannot end poverty if those in it are comfortable. You can give all you want but don't steal it from me.

To all those that think socialist countries are better: go. Ever stop to think about why more people in the world emigrate to the US than any other country? Why do so many risk death to get here? Sit and actually listen to them for a while.

Go to Germany, England and Canada and actually talk to them about health care. Think about why the wealthiest of those countries come over here for medical treatment. There are many ideas that make people feel good but don't work in reality. Truly learn about economics and you will see how this happened.

You can't truly look and Barney Frank and his involvement with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae then say it had nothing to do with the housing bubble and banking crisis. We all have to pay for it now.

By anon55991 — On Dec 11, 2009

no 58 is funny.

By anon55181 — On Dec 05, 2009

Thanks for the info. Easy-peasy for my civics homework.

By anon54705 — On Dec 01, 2009

RE: "i might rather keep that money for myself to spend on a holiday or something nice. but when i compare my suffering to the suffering of a person starving to death or freezing on the streets, i can see clearly what i should do."

Well that's just ducky and I am truly impressed that you are so exquisitely moral. But what you think is the moral thing to do with the fruit of your labor and industry is not at issue here.

More to the point, it's what I and my ilk think we should do with your money since we cannot trust you to do the moral thing in all cases.

For our part, we would travel far and wide to seek out those more needy of your money than you are.

Of course this is difficult and wearisome work so we would naturally avail ourselves of first class accommodations in our search for the needy. We would hold banquets to discuss the plight of the needy with other leaders similarly burdened. Naturally we would use portions of your money as needed to pay our small overhead. Not more than a dime for every dollar we take from you to find people more deserving of your cash than you. Not to be overly consumed by human suffering, we would need to seek out animals around the world as well in need of your charity.

You, of course, will have neither the time (you're going to need a second job to pay our taxes) nor the expertise to give your money away as well as we can, for we are your socialist "leaders" and, yes, we are quite a bit more equal than you in this task.

By anon54052 — On Nov 26, 2009

some here say that social security is unethical because its 'theft' and therefore always wrong.

i can't accept this. ethical absolutes always arrive at absurdities and their impracticalities can easily be demonstrated by real world examples. stealing, lying, and killing sound unethical in essence but both can be used for the moral good, and sometimes we can do wrong by not stealing, lying or killing.

ethical decisions should aim for ethical consequences. i may suffer slightly if some of my income went to those who cannot afford to live.

i might rather keep that money for myself to spend on a holiday or something nice. but when i compare my suffering to the suffering of a person starving to death or freezing on the streets, i can see clearly what i should do.

most people agree, and that's why we have this system.

By anon53768 — On Nov 24, 2009

Socialism is weak and is just the part of capitalism that bends to embrace new members to its greedy society. Capitalism is unique that way, it bends and transforms almost to the point where you can't tell it's actually capitalism. Only communism can free us from society of greedy individuals. You say that it would work but human nature doesn't allow it.

Well, human nature is just what you've been taught to do. Human nature can change. If you were raised without classes and you didn't know greed, there would be none!

By anon52293 — On Nov 12, 2009

socialism works, because it exists in these times. look at the nordic countries which are the best places in the world to live. they have public services and a lot of services which are managed by government in a socialist way. socialism does work, but the extremes, which are communism and radical capitalism, don't work. if capitalism could work as everyone says it does, then the crisis won't happen because in capitalism rich countries produce until their people don't buy and poor countries don't have money to buy it. communism could work if the ideals of humans were modified and they could do their best for their work and get benefit from that, but the human mind is so competitive, arrogant and hypocritical that we cannot try to help others without getting a benefit.

So as a conclusion a socialist country is the best system, communism can't happen and capitalism is just destroying resources, making poorer the poor countries.

By anon51934 — On Nov 10, 2009

Communism and more specifically socialism can successfully exist and thrive only when we have fully understood and harness quantum physics. Where energy will become abundant and true technology can serve humanity to its fullest. But we have to be wise first or else humanity with either implode or explode as a result.

By anon51839 — On Nov 09, 2009

Socialism and communism have never worked and never will. Name a single country in history that it has helped. if we all sit at home and live off money we never earned then how will goods and services be produced? this new idea for america will bring an end to this once great nation. the end will be coming soon.

By anon48820 — On Oct 15, 2009

The members of a collective society should undoubtedly be able to achieve the best of their ability relatively unhindered. It allows for a more efficient and well developed society. However, these capitalists should not be so quick to pull up the ladder after their success. A true capitalist would believe in ultimate meritocracy which can only be brought about if the state funds (and funds well) certain aspects of the economy such as education and health. This is why we should allow a relatively free market to develop alongside a system of high taxes. Furthermore, although I agree with the free market ideal, certain industries should be owned by the people. There is no justice in a nation's oil/diamonds/gold going to the highest bidding American company. A country's resources should be state owned so that the nation's wealth isn't siphoned off into the back pockets of rich oil company bosses.

By anon48457 — On Oct 12, 2009

I'm about Obama's website. The only argument they have is: Obama said, promised. He is not a God to me. I don't trust his empty words. If somebody trusts, you are delusional.

By amypollick — On Oct 10, 2009

Anon is short for "anonymous," which means an unregistered user has posted. So there are many, many different people who post on any given topic. wiseGEEK has articles about Socialism and Communism as individual topics. You might also consider researching Karl Marx as an individual.

By anon48224 — On Oct 10, 2009

Who is anon? and how does he have all this time to post responses? So who is this Marx fellow? Is Socialism like your ability to talk to others and communism the ability to have community? Im in eighth grade and writing an essay. any help is appreciated.

By anon47782 — On Oct 07, 2009

"That is the problem with our world... instead of seeking a job based on interest and passion, we seek jobs based on the wealth that can be earned." I see your point but it is flawed. There are jobs that are not fun at all, but still have to be done. In a capitalist country, the incentive for doing those hard job is higher wages, but in a socialist country, there is no incentive for those jobs. Also, if everyone wanted to work, your theory might work, but the mentality of most is to do just enough to get by, but in a socialist country, doing just enough to get by can be doing very little, yet making the same as someone doing very much which is not right if you ask me. Also, in a capitalist society, you can make your passions work out for you in the end, it just takes hard work. Which is why the majority of people in America are not very wealthy. They are lazy. And to introduce an ideology of giving people more money for working less, then America would crumble with the lazy society we have now. Yes, there are certain jobs such as manual labor which don't pay as much as more of a mental job and may be more labor, but it's only because brains are better than brawn. It all boils down to the simple fact that in a capitalist society, if you work hard with anything (even if it's something you love), you can make quite a bit of money off of it. In a socialist or communist society, all it does is breed laziness because those who do not work as hard get paid as much as those who do. I challenge one person. Just one to give me one thing you love that can't or hasn't made a lot of money in America!

By anon47430 — On Oct 05, 2009

One problem, the people in those government seats are just as corrupt as those big corporations. Why should we take from the big corporations (directly cutting jobs) and give to the government so they can try and create jobs? There are certain services that will always require tax (police, firefighters, public works, military, etc.). Anything else taken from the people to fund the parasites in office is a complete waste. Why let the government try and run health care when they have already bankrupted social security, medicare, and medicaid? Great track record! Sounds like a real winner! Also, there are numerous government subsidy programs for people from less privileged backgrounds making it possible for any one with a work ethic from any background to succeed nowadays. Let's not regress back to the civil war days of slavery in our arguments. Issues like these are the real reason are country is going down the crapper.

By anon46300 — On Sep 24, 2009

"That is the problem with our world... instead of seeking a job based on interest and passion, we seek jobs based on the wealth that can be earned." Amen, And if you think that Socialism is evil, you're basically implying that the ethics and values of Christianity are evil too. Communism is theft. Socialism is not theft. Socialism revolves around putting the society ahead of the individual and maintaining national prosperity. If you feel over worked and underpaid, then get a new job you enjoy. I, a college student, would never want to work in a place just for the money; it's all about the interest and personal self-fulfillment I get.

By anon44820 — On Sep 10, 2009

In spite of the fact that the article was about distinctions between two ideologies, it seems that socialism and communism continue to be conflated in the comments. What many people appear to be missing is that socialism and communism are potentially very different indeed. In fact, I'd say socialism captures all the advantages that are often attributed to capitalism, such as motivating people to work hard to achieve more and better results, etc. While also ensuring that society as a whole does not suffer from egregious social injustices, extreme inequality and a generally poor environment for all.

I think everyone would probably agree that having governments is useful. It enables things like networks of roads, sewage systems, electricity grids, the collection, treatment and distribution of water -- many things that we often take for granted, to be built and maintained in a way that would most likely be impossible, or at least highly uneven, slow and haphazard were it left to private enterprise. So we all benefit from having an organized system that collects tax and uses it to deliver public services. It's interesting that although even the US government is in the habit of delivering a multitude of public services such as these, there is such outrage at the thought of the government trying to include the health service among those services.

The problem with a neoliberal style of government (one in which the government is ostensibly hands-off, or in other words a system in which government caters to the interests of businesses by charging them low tax, giving them grants and other assistance and perhaps even making concessions in terms of environmental and social standards in order to allow them to operate and grow fat, while shying away from "interfering" with the natural course of capitalism through investment in public services) is that is actually promotes and exacerbates inequality.

I bring up neoliberalism here to draw attention to the fact that the debate isn't really about communism or socialism versus capitalism. The first two are ideologies of government, whereas capitalism is not a system of government at all. Neoliberalism represents a system of government that favors capitalism at the expense of more socialist ideals, so it makes sense to use it here.

It's important to point out that it is not a question of communism or capitalism. The state, so long as it exists, interferes in social activity. What is under debate is, in what way should it interfere. Should it help the strong get stronger and let the weaker (even if they are that way because the stronger are holding them down) perish. Or should it provide the possibilities for the weaker to become stronger as well as the possibilities for the stronger to become stronger still? I would argue that the latter is the ideal we are striving for.

It would seem then that some form of socialism is actually the most progressive option. What it offers is a system which does not mean that if you are born into a poor family, or if you are struck by a natural catastrophe, or disease, or some other misfortune, that you will perish through the lack of access to health care.

By anon44223 — On Sep 05, 2009

Wow! If ignorance could achieve critical mass this discussion would create a mushroom shaped cloud!

By anon43215 — On Aug 26, 2009

"Every person alive is made up of roughly the same genetic code, so we are all born with the same potential to be smart, talented and hard working. The differences between these qualities in different people are due solely to environment and upbringing."

I would like to have some of whatever he/she is having. I'm sure it's for medicinal purposes.

I mean, really. How can anyone intelligent enough to throw a few words together on a page truly believe that nonsense? You, my friend, are something else.

By anon42836 — On Aug 24, 2009

RE: "Economically, a socialistic entity functions like any publicly traded company, except that stockholders are replaced by a civil electorate. In the end, a corrupt or incompetent politician is just as likely as a corrupt or incompetent executive."

The salient differences being that normally the executive is far more likely to have some perceivable talent, and more importantly, no one is forced to either invest in, or buy the products of, incompetent, corrupt organizations unless they are government organizations. The latter feature is the honey that draws all the flies. It's also why citizens always need to hold the fly swatters.

By anon42460 — On Aug 21, 2009

The term socialism deserves a Godwin's Law moratorium.

Debates including socialism are proxy discussions about morality – which is why logic is so ineffectual. Most arguments can be expressed with Ayn Rand's description of a moral man as one that knows he can not consume more than he has produced, or Arthur Schopenhauer's assertion that compassion is the basis of all morality. Irrespective of which ethic is used, who controls the means of production is irrelevant as long as they are “moral”.

Economically, a socialistic entity functions like any publicly traded company, except that stockholders are replaced by a civil electorate. In the end, a corrupt or incompetent politician is just as likely as a corrupt or incompetent executive.

By anon42052 — On Aug 18, 2009

RE: "LOL, so taking my money for social security, which i will probably never see a dime of is theft, right? This takes place in America, a so called capitalist country!"

Yes Social Secuity is theft. It is theft of two types: First it is theft from one generation for the benefit of another, but even more importantly it is theft from hard-working wage earners to those who do not work either very hard or very long. In my case, I have transferred $260,000 of my after-tax earnings over the past 50 years to people who did not work for the right to possess my earnings. I worked for it; they did not. If I am lucky, the government will "give" me a small pittance of the value of my contributions to this system of theft that forced me to pay into over the past 50 years. They will tax me heavily again on the money that I was already taxed on before they took it from me to give to others. I hope you equally see the evil of socialism in all this.

No, the USA is not a capitalist or even a free society. Even Sweden would never allow the government to buy Volvo for the benefit of Volvo employees as Obama has done with GM (Government Motors). Apart from Cuba, Venezuala, and North Korea, there are no more socialistic countries in the world than is the USA today. We have lost our freedoms and are now in full denial mode of that fact. We have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by imperious government nitwits who fashion themselves as our "leaders" instead of serving us as the lowly foot messengers of republican governance that they actually are.

By anon41994 — On Aug 18, 2009

RE: "Why is it that people like you have been brainwashed into believing the concept that when government force, underwritten with the power of the gun, goes into your neighbor's house to take his property to give to you, it is in fact somehow not not stealing from him?"

Oh you don't want his property, but the only some of the contents of his wallet? Who owns the money in a person's wallet? Who owns the produce of one's toil and sweat? Indeed who owns the body of another?

Yes, socialism is morally bankrupt and it's theft. The fact that you don't recognize this fundamental evil means that I would never trust you in a situation where I couldn't keep my eye on you. Your philosophy justifies and rationalizes theft and as such violates a fundamental tenet of morality. A similar justification can be found among the criminal class who occupy our overflowing prisons.

LOL, so taking my money for social security, which i will probably never see a dime of is theft, right? This takes place in America, a so called capitalist country!

By anon41426 — On Aug 14, 2009

The last paragraph in this article makes absolutely no sense. If a communist democracy were actually achieved, *everybody* would control the economy.

"Socialism holds that your body and mind or the fruit of your body and mind belong to someone else."

You mistake socialism for "government" in general. Being forced to live under a government from birth is what gives your body and mind away. However, in a capitalist society, everything you are/do belongs to the rich or whomever controls the wealth; while, in communism or socialism, it belongs to everyone collectively. If you truly wanted to own yourself, you'd be an anarchist. Otherwise, use legitimate, well-concluded arguments... Thanks.

By anon41159 — On Aug 13, 2009

Arm yourselves now, the revolution is coming. It only took Nazi Germany 14 years (1919-1933) to go from a democratic system of government much like ours to a totalitarian state with well-known results for its people. The catalyst for Germans was economic woe-same as for Americans in this new century. Widespread dissatisfaction coupled with a smooth-talking madman had catastrophic consequences for the country and the world.

By anon41038 — On Aug 12, 2009

RE: "Communism and socialism were about equality! If you think that this is stealing then why is it acceptable in our so called 'meritocracy' to deny people of equal opportunities?! This in fact is the real theft!"

Stealing: i.e. the use of force or threat to extract the rightfully acquired property or money from another is *never* acceptable. How is this done without criminals or immoral government acting on behalf of criminals? Socialism is all about theft. Socialism holds that your body and mind or the fruit of your body and mind belong to someone else. Communism is simply socialism with government execution squads added in.

By anon40778 — On Aug 10, 2009

To believe that communism and socialism are about stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is ridiculous notion. There has never to this day been a real example of communism in accordance to Marx's theory. Communism and socialism were about equality! If you think that this is stealing then why is it acceptable in our so called 'meritocracy' to deny people of equal opportunities?! This in fact is the real theft!

By anon38603 — On Jul 27, 2009

RE: "I believe businesses should be controlled through regulatory bodies; especially those industries that have a direct effect on the society as a whole. Some of these areas for example would be education, healthcare, transportation, and food."

Great concepts; Let's start by banning the reading of any words from our constitution. They are dangerous and subversive to the new national purpose.

We know what corportate "greed" leads to; look at the cost of gasoline - its now $2.10 a gallon (7 times what I paid for gasoline in 1962 when I went to college)

Now look what the removal of "corporate greed" has done for the efficiency in the education of our youth. When I went to college in 1962, tuition at my state university was a whopping $240 dollars a year for an 18 unit acamedic load. Tuition at the same institution today is now only $12,627 (only 52 times what I paid in 1962)

Here you have it - "corporate greed" increased the costs of a gallon of gas by 7 times since 1962 while government "altrusim" only increased the costs of a govnernment education by 52 times in the same period - that's what I call "government efficiency."

By anon38418 — On Jul 26, 2009

I am astounded that people think governmental styles have some sort of morality cure in them. Each style of government affords advantages and disadvantages toward the individual and the collective whole. Some with better intentions and some with better success than others. All have flaws and all have risks.

The question always should be which style of government sacrifices the least of its people's individual powers to protect those powers and privileges with the least oppressive way.

Giving over power of survival against one's will to a supreme body of decision makers has yet to be proved any more beneficial to growth in morality or social desires than a desire to instill personal gain and reward as the prize of good effort.

Some systems reflect the human desire to succeed better than others and the envy of some becomes their jealousy to slander reality against those better equipped to gain at that given time. Government's set up to steal value, repress achievement and imply conformity have not shown any moral superiority to influence positive social awareness.

Whether it be capitalism, socialism or communism, the power of the individual to seek his own destiny within the framework of a social conscience should be supported by the government, not dictated or coerced by that government.

All systems have a flaw in that humans will incorporate their jealousy, power and superiority upon each other and the one that allows failure and good deeds to be freely attained by personal merit of all classes reflects reality best.

Class struggle is no more the enemy of mankind than retardation of intellect is a measure of someone's heart. I only wish that those who think governmental style protects some sort of moral equation would please go back into their minds and discover where morality is based and where does it get its strength.

I am not a believer that morality is attained by forced compliance to the will of the state, nor is it preserved by a systematic oppression of the individual characteristics of those that wish to advance more than another.

The risk of dominance by coercion or dominance by effort will always be a part of any human government. The question should always be which system allows failure and success to everyone with some amount of reality and personal set value so that the powerful can risk failure as much as the peasantry. Avenues that destroy that reality by preserving failed enterprise or individuals to their lost causes should be dissuaded from government support.

Burden will never be equal, but burden and the escape from it should not be affixed upon one group by government imposed social dictation.

The differences between communism, socialism and capitalism get blurred as humans often use all the traits of each system to exert power into society and some times away from it to escape burden by giving, or taking by force power from some one else.

Truly no system is a protection from greed, power or oppression, but the one that lends power to each that wants it and allows those that fail to lose it, seems the best protection for all.

By anon38270 — On Jul 25, 2009

According to this article I would classify myself as a socialist: “…capitalism is controlled somehow by a centralized planning system.” I believe businesses should be controlled through regulatory bodies; especially those industries that have a direct effect on the society as a whole. Some of these areas for example would be education, healthcare, transportation, and food. Being affected by a profit driven system, government should be there to ensure public safety, an inclusive society, and safeguard against monetary abuses. Yet, on the other hand, government should not be in the business of running these institutions. I believe in the old saying, “Government is best which governs least.” From what I have read in the past, government seems to have a problem with wasteful spending while running these institutions.

By anon38081 — On Jul 23, 2009


But just what is greed, is it greedy to want or demand a share of what others have worked for?

Is it "greedy" to proclaim that your life, your body and your spirit are your own and don't belong to another party.

Thou shalt not covet is one of our oldest moral precepts. Is it now obsolete?

Being greedy or selfless is a personal choice, just like being religious or secular is a personal choice.

Should the state make us a selfless people?

Should the state make us a religious people?

By anon38028 — On Jul 23, 2009

Greed. I think Capitalism or Socialism would work if it weren't for greed. Capitalism puts it in the corporations’ hands. Socialism puts it in the government’s hands. Our great country will someday become as broken as the USSR was and this is why.

You don’t have to buy into what I’m saying. Just go out for a drive in your Jag and it’ll take less than a second to convince yourself that people that you have stepped on would have gladly done it to you.

Haven't stepped on anyone yet... then you have a choice.

By anon37705 — On Jul 21, 2009

RE: "Why would you need to distinguish between socialism and communism? even every country is different in its nature,people living etc?"

Ahh Diversity! Which cultures celebrate the virtue of theft?

By anon37645 — On Jul 21, 2009

Why would you need to distinguish between socialism and communism? even every country is different in its nature,people living etc?

By anon37113 — On Jul 16, 2009

RE: "I like how people spew the garbage that socialism is evil and flawed when it is just themselves who are promoting self gain."

Why is it that people like you have been brainwashed into believing the concept that when government force, underwritten with the power of the gun, goes into your neighbor's house to take his property to give to you, it is in fact somehow not not stealing from him?

Oh you don't want his poperty, but the only some of the contents of his wallet? Who owns the money in a person's wallet, who owns the produce of one's toil and sweat? Indeed who owns the body of another?

Yes, socialism is morally bankrupt and it's theft, the fact that you don't recognize this fundamental evil means that I would never trust you in a situation where I couldn't keep my eye on you. Your philosophy justifies and rationalizes theft and as such violates a fundamental tenet of morality. A similar justification can be found among the criminal class who occupy our overflowing prisons.

By anon37055 — On Jul 16, 2009

I like how people spew the garbage that socialism is evil and flawed when it is just themselves who are promoting self gain. That is the problem with our world... instead of seeking a job based on interest and passion, we seek jobs based on the wealth that can be earned. I personally hate seeing some families struggle with jobs to support themselves and work hard to get where they are while little jimmy gets his big executive job from his rich father. Pursue a career not for the wealth that can be gained but from the enrichment the job will bring to your personal (not material) happiness and interests.

By anon36689 — On Jul 14, 2009

Both socialism and communism are wrong for our nation. Socialism is the sneaking vaccine that we are slipped and before you know it, we've turned into Communists. Many people view communism as benficial because at a brief glance, it looks like it will solve all of our problems, yet in reality it would only work if people were perfect. People are lazy and flawed though, so this system simply seeks to reward the lazy and punish the diligent.

By anon36622 — On Jul 13, 2009

Communism and socialism are vile and reprehensible. Anyone who is a proponent of either system is a total loser, jealous of everyone's success and looking for a handout. Our esteemed President is pushing us into this cauldron of disfunction. After he destroys America, he will be most vilified of all American presidents.

By bananas — On Jul 08, 2009

To #23: Re talent and intelligence, and the environment and upbringing being the only factors in human development.

How do you explain siblings born and nurtured in the exactly same environment turning out so differently?

How do you explain a Mozart or an Einstein? Why do not we have more of them?

Why aren't there extraordinary achievements coming from countries where communist "equality" has been in place for more than 50 years?

By anon35757 — On Jul 07, 2009

To: anon35662

Gee thanks for setting me straight. I really love communism now. Just think, when we watch the super bowl everybody wins. Everbody in the USA is a star quarterback. One restuarant is just as good as any other so we can all eat at Maxims of Paris for the price of a happy meal.

As far as shooting people as they flee as all communist coutries eventually need to do; they are just doing the right thing. Who but a very sick person wouldn't love a communist paradise on earth where the good, the bad, and the mediocre are all "equal"

By anon35662 — On Jul 06, 2009

Every person alive is made up of roughly the same genetic code, so we are all born with the same potential to be smart, talented and hard working. The differences between these qualities in different people are due solely to environment and upbringing. Don't be so foolish as to think someone can be born naturally more or less talented/intelligent/etc. than you! After all, is an infant born knowing anything but its most basic instincts?

Also, please don't base your judgment of communism on your experience of living in a capitalist country- all of the problems of poverty/inequality in capitalist societies would not exist in a true communist state where every person is raised to know that everyone and everything is equal. If,for example, the United States were to wake up tomorrow and find that it had become a communist state overnight, the current distribution of labor, wealth and resources would certainly be unfair. However, that would, of course, not happen; such a change would be gradual, and labor/wealth/etc. would be organized very differently than it currently is.

After over 2000 years of monarchies, dictatorships, fascist states, religious states, capitalism, and the like, doesn't anyone see that a system of government/economics that doesn't begin by placing one person above another would make everyone's life better?

By anon35111 — On Jul 02, 2009

The effects of Socialism. Future T.V. Ad for the USA to air in other countries:

“ Come to the land of the not so free where none of your dreams may come true. Don’t worry about aspirations or goals anymore, come live at the not so Great U.S. of A. The streets are paved in devalued American dollars courtesy of the Democrats and RHINOs. What? You are not a citizen. Don’t worry, you are welcome here. Anybody can become a citizen. Just cross the border and sue somebody. That’s right, that’s all you need to do. Education, you don’t need a stinkin’ education in this utopia. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, NASA Engineers, Real Estate Agents all earn the same mediocre salary as a janitor or burger boy at Wendys, even if you don’t finish High School or have a GED. Not only do you not have to worry about education or money, you also get free health care. The hospitals are over flowing, the doctors left the country for more lucrative endeavors, and all the nursing schools have shut down, but hey, it’s free

Come join us in the United States, where mediocrity is our true goal."

Announcer whispers very quickly the following disclaimer.

Paid for by the politicians who ignore their constituents, logic, economic forces, and common sense. This utopia does not exist. Free healthcare paid by taxing you to death. Healthcare system does not cover Medical exams, X-Ray, MRI, CT Scans, antibiotics, or most surgeries. Doesn’t matter anyway, all the highly educated and money making professionals have left the country

By SirGareth — On Jun 22, 2009

I believe I can answer this question in a way so simple that even a little child can fully understand it.

With capitalism you can fail; it's just like taking the test at school that you didn't study for because you wanted to watch MTV instead. Studying is hard and watching MTV is easy. Under capitalism this little fact actually matters.

With communism you can't fail. Only the whole system fails; in fact, it's actually designed to fail.

You see, if you didn't study for the test, it really doesn't matter because your "F" will be promoted to a "C" and the kid who really worked hard to get his "A" - well he was forced to "share" it with you so in the end you both got "C"s.

In theory this system could actually work if you found a way to get the kid who worked hard for his "A" to keep on working hard, knowing that he gets the same shared "C" grade even if he screws off and watches MTV like all of the other losers.

But here is the salient issue: sure everyone gets an *equal* "C", but in reality they are all actually *equal* "F"s because nobody wants their work to be stolen by others so they stop working too.

In the adult world of Communism the same issue is at play, you get paid the same regardless of what you produce because you are all *equal*.

Eventually everyone learns that there is no benefit to be derived by their production and no penalty to be paid for not producing. So very soon everyone only pretends to produce for which they are paid in pretend money that buys only pretend things because the prices, while very attractive, only advertise products that you can't buy because they don't exist because no one produced them.

Communism really requires theft and this is its essential weakness. Stealing is wrong and most people, even little kids, understand this.

Communism does indeed have an answer to this problem that involves the use of barbed wire and sharpshooters. It's the job of the sharpshooters to shoot the people in the back as they try to crawl either under or over the barbed wire to escape to the world of capitalism where their production cannot be stolen by losers. In this system (capitalism), they don't need barbed wire and sharpshooters to keep the productive people from risking their lives to escape. I think this is one area where merit counts and sharpshooters who never miss are given nicer places to stay and they also get to shop in the stores where the party bosses shop. That is, they have a few shelves that aren't always empty.

That's it in a nutshell.

By anon34233 — On Jun 19, 2009

I'm so sick of hearing this same old tired argument of how we need to create and promote social and economic equality. I'm going to say this once, there is no such thing as equality! There, I said it and you all know I'm right. I find it so telling that the political left lectures all of us about how we need to celebrate our differences, while trying to homogenize all of society to create this so called "level playing field."

The fact is we are all different and that means different talents, levels of intelligence, and work ethic. Some people have talent and some people don't. Some people have a strong and industrious work ethic and some are lazy slobs. Some people are highly intelligent and some are just plain stupid. So, for you liberals out there, that means that there is no such thing as equality (I realize I had to say it a second time just so Karl Marx fans can get it through your heads)!

Because some people take their God given talents and parlay them into huge financial success, does not give the government the right to confiscate that wealth and "redistribute" it to some so called needier individual no matter how well intentioned that may seem to be. I know this may sound so horribly cruel and politically incorrect, but theft is theft no matter how well intentioned it is. If you work hard for your money and find better ways of marketing your skills, that should be rewarded, not punished!

I say more capitalism, not less. Capitalism is what gives the individual the incentive to be the best they can possibly be. Capitalism creates the fierce competition that has driven technology and inventiveness. Capitalism creates business, grows business, and creates jobs. No poor man ever gave me a job, but plenty of rich guys have. Just because somebody is poor, does not mean that we should automatically regard them as benevolent and good; and deserving of more. Likewise, just because somebody is rich does not mean they should be demonized as greedy and evil; and deserving of less.

By anon33628 — On Jun 09, 2009

To 29473. There is no reason why someone could not be an individual in a communist society...It is just recognition, fame and reward that really restricts the development of an individual. If someone really believes in something, they will make it happen.

By anon33374 — On Jun 05, 2009

I have read somewhere that socialism is an imperfect form of communism.

By anon32324 — On May 19, 2009

All very good points. I think that the U.S. is already a partially socialized society already because the government owns a fair amount of the market share. The main beef that I have with communism is that instead of giving to the poor or needy of your own free will you are forced to give by a centralized authority. It's really giving a governmental body the right to police peoples morals. You know what you get when a government starts enforcing moral beliefs... the Spanish Inquisition.

By anon31635 — On May 08, 2009

communism receives their bad name because of stalin. what had been implemented during the early 1900's in the soviet union is what they call as stalinism. the idea of communism and socialism remains as an attempt to raise all people so that they can at least afford basic needs. that is what the capitalists couldn't stand, seeing things affordable for the public instead of giving while giving the capitalists the highest attainable profit. if socialism/communism is that bad, you wouldn't see why many of those who really--i mean really, really--understand marx's teaching will strive for it to stand.

By anon30655 — On Apr 22, 2009

I think what is always lost in these discussion is the resulting social conscious that can arise from a socialist/communist government. The height of social consciousness that I have seen in members of socialist/communist countries is far greater then that I have seen in capitalist countries. This benefit can even be seen in capitalist countries with expanding socialistic programs.

Isn't that the point of socialism and communism? To have the members of society to help each other be more productive and more successful as a whole.

There is a blend that will be achieved by a country that will prove more successful then any independent ideology. Many capitalist countries have benefited from having socialist programs implemented, and socialistic countries have benefited from mixing capitalism on a limited scale into their economic plans.

By anon29473 — On Apr 02, 2009

to 29138; you say communism promotes liberty by establishing social equality, then please explain how in a communist system(where there is no room for individualism, thus the term commune) one can truly be free!

By bananas — On Mar 27, 2009

anon 29138: You probably should not presume to know the source of a person's comment.

Mine comes from many years of living under the communist system of Eastern Europe. I was lucky and got out, but I witnessed the struggles of my family and others, that resulted from the limitations of a communist system.

My opinion on the matter comes not from "indoctrination" but real life experience of both systems, and the unbelievably great opportunity that the capitalistic system affords to all who focus more on work, and less on complaints.

By anon29138 — On Mar 27, 2009

@ bananas

Haha and capitalism does wonders for the "development of the human potential." Especially for those who can't even have their basic needs met.. your utilitarian outlook is clearly an indoctrination of bourgeoise thought. Furthermore communism seeks to create liberty for the people through social equity, what you're describing is authoritarianism. This link between Communism/Socialism and Authoritarianism you have created is another byproduct of capitalist indoctrination.

Keep being scared of left wing politics, they like it that way.

By anon29109 — On Mar 27, 2009

If you know anything about these systems it's that one follows another. Where socialism starts communism will soon follow. I fear that this is what will happen to us in the united states now that Obama is in power.

By anon28578 — On Mar 18, 2009

If you want to read about socialism, try Upton Sinclair's "the Jungle." It gives actual insight on what socialism can be.

By anon28491 — On Mar 17, 2009

With all this talk about "Obama's Socialism," I was very curious what the differences were?

By bananas — On Mar 17, 2009

Except Marx was wrong, and both systems are wrong for humanity. It sounds great in theory, in practice it does not. Both systems, communism and socialism are destructive for the human spirit.

You might have your basic needs met like food and shelter, but neither system lends itself to the great development of the human potential. They are good systems for mediocrity at best, and communism in particular can be oppressive and down right evil.

By dudla — On Mar 17, 2009

The nuanced differences between communism and socialism could fill a book, but just to add one more point -- communism is seen to be a higher form of socialism. That is, Marx thought society would evolve from capitalism to socialism to communism.

By anon27052 — On Feb 23, 2009

Thanks for a well-defined article on the differences between Socialism and Communism. Most use the terms interchangeably as if they were the same type of government so there is a lot of misinformation as to what role Marxism played in the development in socialism. I would like to see an article on what Marx had to say about crime under a communistic government.

By anon23003 — On Dec 14, 2008

thanks, i used this site for a research paper about the russian revolution. your information is easy to read and break down.

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