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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
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
Economic philosophy of the German Nazi Party.
You believe in socialism? What are you? A fucking NAZI!?!?!
by Nickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk August 26, 2006
I liberal's utopian world
socialism will never work
by tim July 22, 2003
System where all economic groups all live equally in poverty.
No really, it works, give us a few centuries.
by Jeffery Kark July 07, 2003
A system toted by liberals who believe that collectivization and the equalization of all income and the destruction of capitalism and subsequently the United States and much of the Western World (European Union) will result in the end of racism, greed, suffering, poverty, and any other issue we have today.
You can shut the hell up. I'm gonna protect the country you, Socialist Twit.
Socialism does not and will never work.
by BoredatCal April 26, 2003
A socialist, in democratic, capitalistic, western countries, is a person who was, more often than not, raised in a white, middle class family and adopts a socialistic political world view to vent the guilt felt by such an upbringing. This cathartic measure is a form of psychological flagellation and an attempt to identify with poorer people and countries. The socialist realizes that the hand they were dealt was not contingent on there being "special" but lucky.

The socialist then projects their insecurity's on the great father figure - the USA. In doing so they concentrate there hatred of America by villainizing and inventing "facts" and "events" while ignoring real problems outside of there scope of focus, revealing there motives to be far from objective.

The socialist will spend endless time, money and effort protesting tedious trivialities about the USA, such as trade laws or political meetings, and conveniently ignore tragedies occurring as they protest, such as massacres in Africa promoted by Muslims and Despots, or vicious sectarian rivalries across the Middle East. The socialist ignores these nasty facts about the world because they were not, in some way, connected to the USA.

The lack of any real connection to their “pet issues” and the USA does not always stop their wonderfully specious logic from drawing a connection. This also extends their putting a spin on historical events, or a complete revision of history itself. A good example of the above is the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, now, it appears, that this was an act of terrorism and imperialism, rather than an ugly act of a very ugly war.
An example of the act of being born to a middle class family and than dedicating ones life to socialism - Zack de la Rocha and Che Guevara
by TedShatner June 03, 2006
A political philosophy which asserts that the needs of society outweigh the rights of the individual.

The individual in such a society is at the mercy of the ruling elite since it is they who determine the needs of the society. Regardless of how the ruling elite come to power the end result is always the same - a Nanny State or a Police State. In the Nanny State the individual is treated like a child who is incapable of making decisions for himself. In a Police State the individual is treated like a criminal for thinking for himself. So whether the state is protecting you from yourself or protecting itself from you really doesn't matter. The end result is that there is no one protecting you from the state.
Some states which practiced socialism:
United Kingdom - Nanny State
Nazi Germany - Police State (Yes Nazis were socialists)
Soviet Union - Police State (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
Huge Chavez, Venezuala - Police State (only Hugo knows what's good for you)
by Todd Douglas Parsons October 29, 2008