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
A system that is causing mass unemployment in European "utopias," where the perfect free healthcare system is inefficient and lacking in innovation.
Look at France's GDP over the past 25 years and see what socialism can do.

Go Capitalism!!!
by Anonymous October 16, 2003
It's essentialy watered down Communism (but only a tiny bit), however Communist/Socialist advocates would have you believe otherwise.

The basic idea behind Socialism is zero respect for people. Socialists don't care for people and that's why the political system that they advocate doesn't either.

That means no liberty for you!
Q: Why are those people are always treating people like shit?
A: Because they are Socialists!

Take the 'social' out of Socialism, it's really ANTI-SOCIAL
by Bobby Baker December 10, 2007
System where all economic groups all live equally in poverty.Except for the super rich.
FUCK socialism it's retarded and evil and so are you if you don't understand what it really is,evil.
by Common Sense Man October 10, 2005
Direct ownership of all good by the elite few.
I remember when there was prosperity with Capitalism but now I get taxed at %90 and have to ask the Goverment if it's ok to wipe my ass.
by Anonymous October 24, 2002
An economic system in which the government controls everything and provides everyone with everything they need. In theory it works, but in practice... it fails. And here are 6 reasons why:

1. If The Government controls the economy then they control your life

2. When the government run's something, it becomes inefficient & corrupt

3. If one guy works hard, and the other is lazy they get payed the same

4. Why would a doctor got to medical school to get payed the same as a janitor at "Government Burger"

5. Socialism has failed before (USSR) and it won't work now

6. Since there is no incentive to succeed, this means it will take years for technology to advance
Socialism has failed numerous times in the past... why would anyone want it again?
by TheRationalCapitialist January 29, 2011
When your too lazy to take care of yourself and want the government to tax the people that have worked hard so you don't have too.
Those big greedy rich people have too much money and i think i should get some because TV and having too many kids costs so much. I love socialism. I'm voting for Barack Hussein Obama.
by dood29 August 18, 2008
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