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Socialism

The meaning of «socialism»

Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems.[9] Social ownership can be public, collective, cooperative, or of equity.[10] While no single definition encapsulates the many types of socialism,[11] social ownership is the one common element.[1][12][13] The types of socialism vary based on the role of markets and planning in resource allocation, on the structure of management in organizations, and socialists disagree on whether government, particularly existing government, is the correct vehicle for change.[7][14]

Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms.[15] Non-market socialism substitutes factor markets and money with integrated economic planning and engineering or technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing a different economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws and dynamics than those of capitalism.[16][17][18][19] A non-market socialist system eliminates the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system in capitalism.[20][21][22][23] The socialist calculation debate, originated by the economic calculation problem,[24][25] concerns the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a planned socialist system.[26][27][28] By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.[29][30][31] Anarchism and libertarian socialism oppose the use of the state as a means to establish socialism, favouring decentralisation above all, whether to establish non-market socialism or market socialism.[32][33]

Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent and critical of them; and present in both industrialised and developing nations.[34] Social democracy originated within the socialist movement,[35] supporting economic and social interventions to promote social justice.[36][37] While nominally retaining socialism as a long-term goal,[38][39][40][41][42] since the post-war period it has come to embrace a Keynesian mixed economy within a predominantly developed capitalist market economy and liberal democratic polity that expands state intervention to include income redistribution, regulation and a welfare state.[43] Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism, with more democratic control of companies, currencies, investments and natural resources.[44]

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