Socialism vs. Communism

The political theories socialism and communism have distinct qualities, yet they share similar foundations. The general idea for both systems is a belief in public ownership of production, which will lead to beneficial gains for all. Both theories are offered as alternatives for a completely capitalistic society, which is seen as exploiting the working class.

Objectives

Before discussing the differences between socialism and communism, it would be helpful to define their core set of principles. The general idea for both systems is that the goods produced in an economy within a country should be owned by the public and should benefit society as a whole.

Objectives

Easy to Understand Models

In order to understand the subtle differences between the two ideologies, two real-life experiences are presented. The illustrations highlight both the economic and political differences by referencing how the profits and benefits are distributed among the public. Capitalism is used as the third example in order to provide a more comprehensive model.

Easy to Understand Models

The USSR & The PRC

Two famous examples of socialist and communist states in modern history are the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The Soviet Union began with a proletariat uprising and devolved into a totalitarian state before its collapse. On the contrary, The People's Republic of China began with a peasant uprising, devolved into a totalitarian state and was later reformed into a free market economy, which allows it to prosper to this day.

USSR & The People's Republic of China

Socialism vs. Communism

The concepts of socialism and communism are difficult to distinguish because throughout history many governments have claimed to be one or the other in name, but not necessarily in practice. Through improper use, their distinct characteristics have become diluted and confused.

Socialism vs Communism

History

As political theories, socialism and communism share a common history. The precursors of both systems can be attributed to political and economic philosophies dating as far back as centuries ago. In modern times, they are most likely to be associated with the philosopher Karl Marx who introduced the systems to a newly industrialized world.

History

The Fall of Communism

In the early 20th century, the world saw a complete reversal in the Cold War with democracy and capitalism emerging as the dominant forms of political ideology. Meanwhile, communism was revealed as an oppressive and ineffective political machine leading to its downfall. At the same time, the less rigid theory of socialism is seeing a transition to a form more compatible with democratic capitalist countries.

Fall of Communism & The Future of Socialism