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
Slang: Anything that a right winger doesn't like.

Actual: An economic system in between capitalism and communism, advocating collective ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods.
The national highway system is an example of socialism.

That atheist socialist Hussein wants to impose Sharia Law and gay marriage on America!
by JeffGannon February 02, 2012
A economic system where People control enterprises. Every worker owns one share of his company, therefore nobody has more than one share, and the power is so desentralized that nobody could ever go corrupt. Like now but without that power-mongering owner.

Given a bad name, because it was used a long time ago under the control of dictator. But what dumbshits fail to realize is that world was coming out of Monarchy. People were used to being oppresesd, and there was mass starvation and chaos that the people were so tired of it they were willing to beleave in any Man who claimed he could bring stabiliy. Some men like this were Hitler, Lennin Stalin. At that time culture was designed for Monarchy, or dictatorship.
And also Karl Marx said that back then it woulden't have worked any way, It move from Democracy, to Socialism to Communism. So now people have a mentality to handle this system. A system without central power controlling. Then we can move to communism
Socialism fucking works

Comment submitted with request to delete; "Writer is rambling on about a Utopian wish, does not make a logical case based upon human experience, and does not seem to be particularly literate, which makes one wonder just how much they have read or studied the subject."
by D March 07, 2003
1. Socialism is an economic system based on common ownership of the means of production. Socialism aims at equalizing income. Socialism abolishes private titles in capital, especially publicly traded stock. Citizens of a socialist state each receive a ‘social dividend’ as equal owners of socialized capital. Social dividend payments can be either ‘in kind’ through distribution of consumer goods or through cash payments.

2. Socialism is an economic system that abolishes markets for financial and real capital. Socialism prohibits private speculation for profit. Socialism substitutes central planning of capital investment for entrepreneurial planning. Socialism necessarily leads to centralized economic control by political authorities and is therefore antidemocratic. The political nature of socialism leads to mismanagement of capital investment and declining living standards.

3. Socialism is an economic system that transfers income from wealthy to poor. Socialism operates on the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Socialism entails incentive problems known as The Tragedy of the Commons. Socialism impairs incentives for labor productivity and the care of natural and capital resources. Western welfare-redistributive states constitute limited forms of socialism.

4. Socialism is an economic system where each is responsible for everyone but themselves.
state socialism
1. The USSR and its satellites
2. NAZI Germany
3. Red China

Semi-Socialist Welfare States
1. New Deal/Great Society America
2. The Swedish Welfare State 1950-1992
3. Pre Thatcher-Post 1960 England of the Labor Party
4. Post 1960 West Germany/Germany
by economicsprofessor January 01, 2008
a good idea but always poorly implimented.

see communism
by yomoma April 19, 2003
Exactly what the u.s. needs. But unfortunately various greedy, conservative politicians brainwash society into thinking that socialism is wrong, when really it would benefit the majority of Americans. And no socialism is not by any means fascism. Keep in mind that socialism is an economic system, not a form of government. In fact, socialism is the exact opposite of fascism. you can think of it as taking democracy to the next level. Because if your form of government is already a democracy-(which most socialist countries are) and you have a socialist economic system, not only do you allow freedom of speech and the right to elect representatives into office but you allow your people to decide over certain aspects of the economy. because the government controls all business and the government is controlled by the people, the people have a say in the price of certain goods and services, as well as the salaries of certain occupations. Plus socialism taxes people based on how much they earn and uses the revenue to provide everyone with really nice benefits.
I live in a socialism country. If I am handicaped, it won't be a huge pain in the ass to accquire social security benefits. I have decent pension funds from my job and I will be able to retire at a reasonable age. My health care is payed for mostly by the government and my entire country excels in public education. I enjoy free public transportation and a nice house. The rich have no more political power than I do and they aren't able to monopolize all of the wealth and fuck up the economy for everyone else.
by 8===D----(l) April 21, 2011
Why is everyone on this site bitching about liberals? This is urbandictionary, not super rich Beverly Hills dictionary....
Conservatives, whats funny is that the right wing in europe are actually remnents from the fascists.... here they are just people who want to set up a rascist theocracy. Much like how many hick towns in Georgia are run.
by Nigger McCoon October 13, 2003

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