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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
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
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
Contrary to belief socialism is not communism, but close to it. It is the step right before communism.

Socialism is the distrobution of the money made throughout the country. Scince equality is given no matter the circumstances there is no incentive to work, and in a socilialist society the amount of work done doesn't effect your pay it is the same(but don't worry you are giving people equal opportunities).
Bed-wetting liberal 1: I need money and I have no job.
Bed-wetting liberal 2: I know, to bad we live in capatlist society rather than having things given to us like in socialism.
by sfgsas February 17, 2008
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
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
A political and economic system that has been completely and utterly discredited (most notably by the emininent Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises.)

Sadly, many people, being generally ignorant of the laws of economics, are unable to come to terms with the fact that socialism, unlike free-market capitalism, is economically incapable of generating wealth and thus can only ever impoverish any existing society when implemented.

Many people are also of the opinion that socialism, while a good idea on paper, can never work in reality purely because of human selfishness, and not because of the afore-stated economic reason. These people are quite possibly the biggest culprits when it comes to holding back human social development, as they persist in blinding countless people to socialism's true shortcomings. (American colleges, for example, are hotbeds of left-wing propaganda.)

Ardent supporters of socialism are usually bitter, twisted individuals who hate life and everything it stands for. They often have an insatiable God-complex and, remaining deliberately blind to the existence of genuine altruism and compassion, wish to destroy humanity as it exists and remodel it in their own image.
Tell your kids to say "No" to socialism.
by UltraBeans February 07, 2007
exploting the masses in the name of the masses in order to gain wealth and power.
Newly 'reformed' People's Republic of China.
by jeff rasmussen November 16, 2003