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

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first off lets get this straight, socialism is NOT facism, or communism. anyone who says that is just ignorant. Nazis were facists and pretended to be socialists in order to get more support, same with the Soviets and communism. thats the only connection they have. dont critisize something you know nothing about.

now the real definition: socialism supports economic controls but allows for some accumulation of wealth. social restrictions are signifigantly weaker, hence the name socialism.
facism is completely the opposite, with lax economic controls, and strict social rules including that all residents must be completely loyal to the ruling party, and must never speak out.
Nazis were facists, no free speech
Soviets were communist, no free speech
true socialism supports free speech

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A word many would do well to look up in an actual FUCKING dictionary.

NOT Communism.

Socialism can be seen in many Western European countries working very well.

It involves being taxed proportionally to how much you earn, a free, or semi-subsidised health service, a minimum wage, decent social security and many many other benefits to society.
Many American's instantly rubbish socialism becuase during the cold war their government and education system brainwashed them into believing that Socialism=Communism.

These same Americans now find themselves unable to pay for medical treatment and having to work 3 jobs in order to stay above the poverty line.

Remember kids, Socialsm DOES NOT EQUAL Communism.
by Mad FUCKING Wullie June 04, 2004

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The political system that centers on the needs of the society as a whole. Sometimes used as an alternative name for communism or as a derogatory term for opponents of capitalism. In fact it is a very wide term that can accomodate quite diverse ideologies.
Socialism and democracy are not mutually exclusive.
by The eternal grunt May 27, 2004

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A socio-economic system where the means of production are owned by the workers and not by the investors and a system which frequently and mistakenly gets mixed up with "social welfare state" idea, which leads people to think that Denmark, Norway and Sweden are socialist countries.
A: I support socialism because Sweden has become a wonderful country thanks to socialism.

B: Sweden is a country where the free market policies are adopted along with a social welfare state and it has nothing to do with socialism.
by Les aveux du garcon August 15, 2016

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A political ideology which has been applied at many different levels and with many different results. It has evolved over time and has influenced many other ideologies (such as National Socialism, Communism and moderate Liberal Capitalism, Anarchists also ocassionaly refer to themselves as liberal socialists).

Modern socialist ideas are normally based on re-distribution of wealth by means of a progressive taxation system. For example providing a minimum wage for workers and health benfits in times of sickness.

Although socialism has traditionally been associated with public ownership, many Socialist governments (such as the British Labour Party under Tony Blair) now favour a system of "democratic capitalism" where the government and the market co-operate to provide basic services and living standards to the citizens of a country. See also The Third Way.

Socialism is also associated with unionisation, stemming from a belief that workers should not be exploited by artificialy created market conditions. However the intensity of this belief does seem to vary widley across different groups of socialists.
Arthur Scargill's style of socialism is only one of many interpretations, and differs from Tony Blair's style of socialism.
by Flame August 29, 2003

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A type of government where everyone is given the basic living essentials for free, the way it should be. THat way you dont have to worry about health care and can focus on other things in life. with socialism, you're not fucked if you get into a car accident as far as finance goes
Socialism Does work, take a look at western europe. ENGLAND and Norway kick ass becuase you dont have to be scared of dying becuase your not rich enough/
by SCotron April 07, 2004

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The simplest definition for socialism is this: democratic workers' ownership and management of the means of production.

Notice, that this does not imply a state. The comparison between communism and socialism is an erroneous one, as communism refers to a theoretical future society - a classless, stateless society in which the economy and society is run generally of the line of "From each according to their ability, to each according their need , and socialism to an economic system
Socialism or barbarism!
by Llanganati November 23, 2014

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