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An economic system based on public ownership of the means of production. The most overt examples of public or common ownership exist in strict communist societies. Small scale communes exist within which people own all physical assets commonly. Some communes even have common ownership of some clothing. Strict communism requires income equality, and is sometimes referred to as economic democracy.

Common ownership of the means of production implies that production is directed by 'society' rather than by entrepreneurs. Socialists tend to promote democratic government as the representative of society in directing production. Large scale production cannot be planned through direct democratic vote, and requires that bureaucrats and officials decide many issues in production.

Critics of socialism claim that socialism fails to match the performance of capitalism for three reasons. First the equalization of incomes eliminates the incentive to innovate and work hard. Second, bureaucrats and high officials do not posses the informational required to direct production in a complex society. Market prices are needed to solve the informational problems of directing production, and socialism will at best have pseudo-prices. The absence of financial markets is a major problem with socialism. Third, socialism tends to degenerate into oppressive dictatorship. The incentive, informational, and political problems of socialism are inescapable.

Many want socialism for ideological reasons. Egalitarian ethics drive the socialist movement. Marxists claim that capitalism is exploitative. Socialism is indefensible in terms of economic efficiency and natural rights ethics. Socialists envision a better world, but their dreams are unrealizable.
1. the USSR (Soviet socialism based on overt central planning)

2. Nazi Germany (national socialism based on comprehensive regulation)

3. Sweden in 1991 (before the backed off from the abyss)

4. England just before Thatcher (before the backed off from the abyss)
by evolutionary subjectivist September 24, 2007
May work with a strong willed ruler and many fearful citizens.
"Will someday crush the greedy, fuckhead democrats of George W. Land" -Dominic J.
by Rick December 08, 2003
1. An early-19th century fairy-tale that describes a society where government is able to mobilize various proportions of the economy to work as efficiently motivated by the mystical concept entitled the "public good" as they work in the real world motivated by the evolutionary principle of personal gain. In later versions, various merits and reprimands attempt to bridge the gap, but turn out to cost more than they help as they do not address the gap at the government level.
2. A form of feudalism where bureaucracies and/or cartels providing certain services deemed "essential" receive economic favoritism rather than aristocrats or clergy, reinforced by the faith that they are "irreplaceable”.
3. A form of collectivism where government decides what is to be collectively produced/ distributed. Can occur in liberal democracy, in which case the ineffectiveness of motivation leads to shortages, and the takeover of too many markets can produce complete economic collapse, which is occurring in most of the Western world. Can occur in brutal totalitarianism, in which the shortages are temporarily offset by finding a scapegoat demographic stigmatized as not carrying its weight and forced into slave labor to produce but not consume. Examples are Eugenic Socialism in which scapegoats are chosen based on ethnicity (i.e. Hitler's Germany) and Class Socialism in which they are accused of Capitalist tendencies for opposition to the system (i.e. Stalin's USSR, Mao's China).
Money isn't worth anything because everyone is paid the same no matter what they do and whether or not they work at all. Nothing is produced so there is nothing to buy. Why work?
Because you have faith in Socialism.
by EngineerofSouls June 29, 2010
Obama's double-standard plan of action to take money from high class whites and give to the lower class, despite the hard work put into earning it. This tactic was also used by communist theoretician Vladimir Lenin (Leader of the Russian Revolution and founder of the Bolsheviks), and also loosely portrayed by German Economist Karl Marx. Generally a term that should be loathed, but is unfortunately visible in America's near future.
Obama's subtle allusions to socialism should raise a red flags in the mind of any smart, aware, worthy American
by right-wing conservative May 14, 2009
1 (n.) Philosophy which states that noble humantarian idealism justifies theft.

2 (n.) Philosophy which refuses to acknowledge the law of supply and demand.
I am a worthless peice of shit who knows nothing about how the economy works. Socialism sounds like a good idea to me.
by CapitolisPig July 03, 2005
I don't care what any pinko says, this is definitely not the best way to run a government. All it does is insult human beings who actually work hard and it doesn't recognize our accomplishments or abilities.
The only reason why feminists, pinkos, and idealists like this idea is because it tries to make everyone equal by giving them all equal paychecks no matter how hard they work, and it forces the rich to pay for everything.
Here is why socialism will never work.
1. It forces the rich to pay for everything which is just stupid because,no matter how much money the rich have they will never have enough to pay for everything in the country. That is why almost all socialist countries have crappy health care and poorly built houses. Because the rich can pay for all of the medicine or all of the materials needed for the housing of everyone in a country. Plus when the rich go broke they can't pay for anything else.
2. It gives everyone equal pay, no matter how long or how hard a person works. This basically means that a doctor gets paid the same as a mcdonald's frycook. And a person who works for 9 hours will get paid the same as a person who works for 3 hours. Plus people aren't robots, they aren't going to work they're hardest for nothing. So basically if everyone got paid 15 dollars a day, no matter how hard they work, there's going to be alot of people who aren't going to work their hardest and as a result nothing is produced causing the entire nation to fall into poverty.

So now you see why socialism is bad. The only exception is China, and they're only rich because they force everyone to work and because we build all of our factories over there and buy all of our stuff from over there.
by Nathan575 August 11, 2008
What evry country that tried to be communiste were. URSS and Cuba were not communist but socialist.
The next person who says that URSS was communist gets shot!
by tsssss March 04, 2005