Socialism vs Communism: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)

Socialism vs Communism: A Comprehensive Guide (1)

Socialism vs communism: you probably see these terms pop up in many places, from your social media timeline to the evening news. Many times, people use them interchangeably to talk about politics and economics. But these terms actually mean different things! They may seem similar, but there are actually some key differences between socialism and communism (and other similar forms of government!).

So what do these terms really mean? What are the factual differences between socialism vs communism vs Marxism? How do they compare to other political systems, like fascism and capitalism?

We know: these are tough questions! We’ve done the research to bring you credible answers to these complex questions about socialism vs communism and other political systems. In this article, we’ll give you a detailed guide to socialism vs communism, as well as the following:

  • A deep dive into socialism, and a deep dive into communism
  • A socialism vs communism chart with side-by-side comparisons
  • A brief comparison of fascism vs communism vs socialism vs Marxism vs capitalism

When you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand the differences between socialism and communism, how each system works, and how they compare to other government and political systems.

Socialism vs Communism: A Quick Overview

Socialism generally refers to any social, economic, or political system that is based on public, social ownership of property and the means of production (such as mines, mills, and factories) and democratic control of business. The overarching purpose of socialism is to create more equality by ensuring the public--not private citizens--own the means of production.

In other words, socialism takes the aspects of society that affect everyone and brings them under the control of government, such as utilities, education, and healthcare. But the government doesn’t control everything: socialism also allows for private enterprise and business ownership, too.

Socialism is a flexible philosophy that has many forms that range from democratic socialism to communism that differ based on how much control the government exerts over social and economic systems. But the big takeaway is this: all forms of socialism are based on the common idea that the government—and by extension, the citizens the government represents—should own and regulate the aspects of society that provide for basic human needs.

In contrast, communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology that ultimately aims to establish a society based on the idea that all property, resources, and goods (aka the means of production) should be owned by the public. These things become communally owned--hence the name communism--and are distributed by the government since the government represents the people. In a communist society, private property, profit-based economy, and social classes are eliminated, and each individual is provided for according to their needs.

Just like socialism, there are different communist schools of thought that vary based on how many rights citizens have in relation to the government. But one view they all share is that capitalism and its two-class system (i.e. the working class/proletariat and the ownership class/bourgeoisie) is the root cause of society’s problems and inequalities. As a result, communism calls for an overthrow of capitalism and the social class system through social revolution.

The biggest similarity between socialism vs communism is that they are based on a similar core principle: to give power and control back to the working class people that build and sustain society. But while socialism maintains some form of private enterprise and ownership, communism abolishes that system and transfers social ownership to the government. In that way, communism is a more extreme form of socialism.

We’ll dig into more of the differences between these systems a bit later in the article (we’ve even put together a handy table for you). But first, let’s take a more in-depth look at both socialism and communism.

Socialism vs Communism: A Comprehensive Guide (2)

Socialism believes that a society's means of production--like health and education systems--should be owned by the public, rather than by private individuals.

What Is Socialism?

Below, we’ll go into the specifics of socialism, give you a brief history of the term, and provide some examples of socialist governments around the world.

Socialism: Overview and Definition

Socialism is a social, economic, and political doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership and control of property and natural resources. Those publicly owned resources are then managed and distributed by the government.

Like we mentioned above, there are different types of socialism, and they differ based on how much the government controls and how much is left to private industry. Some socialist systems will only give government ownership of social institutions that are considered basic human rights. Other socialist systems may eliminate the private sector entirely.

But why does socialism advocate for public ownership of property and goods? As an economic theory for how society should be organized, socialism states that the means of producing wealth should be controlled by the workers in a society, not by the elite or ownership classes. Socialists believe that the money made belongs to workers who make the products.

History of the Term

The contemporary term “socialism” has its origins in the early 19th century, coming from the French word socialisme. The word finds its roots in the Latin sociare, which means to combine or to share. It also has ties to the term societas, which is found in Roman and medieval law and refers to a consensual contract of fellowship between free people. These roots reflect the core philosophy of socialism: that the means of production and its profits should be shared among and controlled by the public.

The term “socialism” or “socialized” is often used by modern political parties and the media to describe political platforms, government policies, politicians, or even entire countries. But at its core, socialism is a type of economic system that is designed to eliminate inequality and improve quality of life by placing power in the hands of society’s workers.

(Video) Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism Compared

Socialism has been around in some form since classical times, and its meaning has changed some over time. Below, we’ll briefly cover the two most important points in the history of socialism, namely socialism in the Industrial Revolution and in the 20th century.

Socialism in the Industrial Revolution

While socialist ideas date back much further, the earliest use of the term “socialism” used to refer to economic reform can be pinpointed in the 1820s and 1830s.

The modern term “socialism” was originally coined by French theorist Henri de Saint-Simon toward the end of the Industrial Revolution between 1820 and 1840. Saint-Simon and other prominent philosophers were the first to critique the poverty and inequality of the capitalist system that was ushered in by the Industrial Revolution. In response, socialist thinkers advocated the transformation of society into small communities without private property.

As a political movement, modern day socialism started with the revolutionary attitude of 18th century philosophers that advocated for the rights of the working class and pushed for social change.

As socialism rose in popularity throughout the end of the 19th century, movements split into two main groups: a reform movement, which advocated a social democratic form of socialism, and a revolutionary movement, which advocated uprising against existing capitalist economies in favor of communism.

Socialism in the 20th Century

During the 20th century, socialism began to spread throughout the world as socialist parties began winning elections.

For example, take Socialist Party of Argentina, which was established in the 1890s. It was the first mass socialist party in Argentina and Latin America. The British Labour Party--also socialist!--first won seats in Parliament in 1902. And in 1904, the first democratically elected socialist took office as the first Labor Party Prime Minister in Australia. These widespread elections of socialist representatives were the first of the kind on an international scale, bringing socialism into view as the most influential secular movement of the 20th century.

Socialism became more prominent following the international conflicts of World War I. In 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution occurred in Russia, led by philosopher Vladimir Lenin. Lenin and the Bolshevik faction of socialists overthrew the Russian monarchy and installed the first ever constitutionally socialists state, known as the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

Around the world, other socialist parties began to gain importance in their national politics. By the 1920s, communism and socialist democracy had become powerful political ideologies. It was also during this time that the key distinction between socialism and communism was solidified. While socialism allowed for, and even encouraged, a private sector within an economy, communism embraced its anti-capitalist foundations.

Socialism vs Communism: A Comprehensive Guide (3)

Denmark is an example of a country with a socialist government.

Examples of Socialist Governments Today

Today, socialist ideals can be implemented in almost any kind of government, because socialism is not tied to a specific form of government or political ideology. Socialism can be incorporated into democratic, republic, capitalist, and other systems of government as part of an economic system, domestic policy, or a political party’s ideology. In other words, a government doesn’t need to be set up in a special way for it to be “socialist.”

It’s important to recognize that “socialist” can be used to refer to a philosophy, form of government, political party, and economic system. This is why it isn’t necessarily accurate to refer to a country as socialist. In most cases, it’s probably more accurate to call a country’s economy socialist, or to say that a socialist political party is in power in a particular country. Some countries might have socialism heavily embedded in one aspect of their societal structure, but not necessarily in others.

Here are a few countries that incorporate socialism into their governing structure but still allow for private enterprise and ownership:

  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Peru
  • Iceland

We can look more closely at one country that combines both socialist and capitalist structures: Denmark. This will help you understand what aspects of socialism look like in practice.

Denmark follows the Nordic Model, which refers to the economic and social policies common to the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Denmark’s version of the Nordic Model fits the description of democratic socialism for two main reasons. First, it supports a comprehensive welfare state where things like healthcare and higher education are owned by the people and run by elected government officials. But Denmark also operates a capitalist, market-based economy that relies on private enterprise.

Denmark’s robust social benefits are funded by taxpayers and administered by the government. Denmark’s social benefits include free education, universal healthcare, and public pension plans for retirees. Additionally, 66 percent of Danish workers belong to a labor union, and in 2014, Denmark was the only nation to receive a perfect score for protecting workers’ rights on the International Trade Union Confederation's Global Rights Index. Because of these policies, Denmark is known for its high standards of living and low income disparity.

At the same time, Denmark has a capitalist economy. Private ownership and free trade--trademarks of capitalist economies--are heavily supported. Denmark offers strong property rights for its citizens and allows companies to do business without overwhelming government oversight.

So Denmark combines socialist policies that promote social equality with capitalist economic systems like those you would find in countries like the United States! The result is that Denmark has a low concentration of top incomes and low levels of inequality. It also ranks high globally for healthy life expectancy, generosity, and freedom from corruption. Denmark is consistently in the top 10 of countries on the World Happiness Report.

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(Video) The Difference Between Socialism, Communism, and Marxism Explained by a Marxist

Communism believes thatallaspects of society should be owned by the public so that everyone is provided for equally.

What Is Communism?

Now let’s take a closer look at communism. Like we mentioned earlier, communism falls under the umbrella of socialism because it also argues that the public should own and control a country’s means of production. Just like socialism, communism believes this philosophy lowers inequality and increases people’s quality of life.

However, communism takes this concept one step further in its belief that capitalist and class systems should be completely rejected in favor of total public ownership. In other words: the public should own everything to ensure a fair distribution of wealth, goods, and services. The government--which represents the public’s interests--manages these institutions, which include everything from schools, to hospitals, to copyrights or trademarks. Doing so eliminates inequality perpetuated by a class system where the workers’ labor builds the wealth of a very few.

To help clarify these differences, we’ll take a deeper dive into communism as an ideology, give you the history of the term, and provide some examples of communist governments today.

Overview of Communism and Definition

Communism is a social, economic, and political doctrine that aims to establish a society based on collective ownership. As an economic theory for how society should be organized, communism states that the socioeconomic order must be structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

The goal of communism is total equality between citizens, which is maintained by the government. Because the government represents the people, it is able to distribute the country’s collective resources in a way that ensures everyone has equal access to the things they need.

Communists believe that capitalism is the root cause of society’s inequalities, and that it has divided society into two diametrically opposed classes: the ruling class, or the bourgeoisie, and the working class, or the proletariat. According to communism, true equality can only happen when the working class rises up to overthrow the ruling class...and capitalism is abolished.

History of the Term

The contemporary term “communism” is derived from the French communisme which developed out of the Latin roots communis, or “for the community,” and the suffix isme, or “as a state or doctrine.” Thus, communism can be understood to mean “the state of being of or for the community.”

Because of this broad definition, communism can describe many different social systems, from the state system of entire countries to the organizing ideology of small, informal communities. For instance, some medieval Christian monastic communities shared their land and resources and were considered communist!

Today, the term “communism” or “communist” is often used by political parties and the media to describe economic and political organizations that are Marxist, totalitarian, or authoritarian. While sometimes these descriptions are apt, like in the case of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, the term “communist” can also be used as a misnomer applied to people or ideas that challenge capitalist ideologies. So for example, sometimes concepts like the Affordable Care Act are labeled “communist” not because they are actually communist, but because they advocate for a less capitalist approach to an industry or service.

Now let’s take a closer look at the history of communism. In the next sections, we’ll briefly cover the following important stages in the development of communism:

  • Early communism
  • Marxist communism
  • 20th century communism

Early Communism

The idea of a class-free, egalitarian society first emerged in ancient Greece. The Greek philosopher Plato incorporated communist ideals into The Republic, his famous dialogues on what makes a just society. The Republic describes an ideal society in which the ruling class serves the interests of the whole community.

Many of the earliest communist communities were based on the teachings of the Christian scriptures. Their model of communist living is outlined in the Christian Bible, which describes the early church in Jerusalem's communal ownership of land and possessions.

Communism also popped up in Puritan communities during the 17th century in England. This group, called “the Diggers,” supported the abolition of private ownership of land. Unlike modern forms of communism, which focus on urban and industrial life, communities like the Diggers were concerned with promoting communal ownership and use of land in agrarian and rural societies.

The French Revolution was one of the final major turning points in the development of communism before the 20th century. During this period, the French aristocracy lived lavish lives while the French working class suffered through unemployment, homelessness, and soaring food prices. The working class rose up against the monarchy, advocating for the abolishment of the aristocracy and equal redistribution of wealth among the French people.

Inspired by the revolutionary spirit and successful uprisings of the French people, communist ideas took root across Europe and East Asia in the 19th century and beyond.

Communism vs Socialism vs Marxism

In the 1830s and 1840s, the communist ideas of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels became popular with socialist thinkers and revolutionaries throughout Europe.

Marx and Engels were deeply disturbed by what they saw as the injustices of a society divided by class. They claimed that the subjugation of the proletariat/working class was inevitable under capitalism because in capitalist societies, the people who own systems of production end up controlling most of the wealth. Marx and Engels argued that under capitalism, the ruling class--made up of people like industry moguls and factory owners--would become richer while the working class struggled to make ends meet. If capitalism were replaced by communism, they maintained, these structural and systemic issues would be solved.

Marx and Engels wrote and distributed The Communist Manifesto in order to advance their vision of a revolutionary socialism that would unseat capitalism. Their purpose in writing the manifesto wasn’t to describe an ideal communist society, but to argue that the collapse of capitalism and uprising of the working classes were inevitable. To them, communism was the next step toward a more equal society.

It’s important to recognize that Karl Marx didn’t create communism. Marxism (this variety of communism) is popular, but it’s not the only type of communism out there. Leninism, Maoism, and anarchist communism are all different communist schools of thought, too.

However, Marx’s take on communism became very popular at the beginning of the 20th century, and many well-known revolutions of that period were rooted in Marx’s communist ideology. Because of this, Marx became one of the most influential proponents of communism during the 20th century, and that legacy still influences many people’s understanding of communism today.


20th Century Communism

After World War I, communism started to spread internationally. Revolutions based on communist thought occurred during this time, and the first communist governments were instituted in Europe and other parts of the world.

For example, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 to overthrow the Russian monarchy. Lenin was a major supporter of Marx’s views of socialism and communism, and this perspective shaped his revolutionary ideas and the government he installed in Russia after the revolution.

Lenin believed that communism was the ideal way to run a society. So in 1918, Lenin’s political party--which was now in power--renamed itself the All-Russian Communist Party. This was the beginning of the Soviet Union, the most well-known communist state of the 20th century.

The emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first communist state led to communism's widespread association with Marxism, Leninism, and the Soviet economic model. Other countries’ communist governments were modeled after the Soviet Union during the mid-20th century. These communist states included Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Albania, and Romania.

The Soviet Union was the premier communist superpower on the global stage for most of the 20th century. Because of the Soviet Union’s influence, communism was increasingly viewed as a threat to capitalism until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The ongoing conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War plays a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions of communism today.

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China is an example of a modern country that has a (mostly) communist government.

Examples of Communist Governments Today

There are several communist governments in the world today. These countries typically have a communist political party in power, and the government controls all aspects of the economic and political system.

One thing to keep in mind: there’s never really been a purely communist state. All of the communist governments that have existed have not accomplished the elimination of personal property, money, or class systems. This means they’ve never achieved the ultimate goal of communist ideology and, thus, can’t be considered purely communist states.

However, there are countries whose most prominent governing ideologies are communist. Today, communism exists in the following five countries:

  • China, or the People’s Republic of China
  • Cuba, or Republic of Cuba
  • Laos, or Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Vietnam, or Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  • North Korea, or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

We can look more closely at one country that has a communist government and a socialist market economy: China, or the People’s Republic of China. This will help you visualize what a communist government looks like in action.

In 1949, Mao Zedong took control over China and proclaimed the nation a communist country, calling it the People's Republic of China. China has been called "Red China" ever since due to the Communist Party's control, and the country remains communist today.

But China is not a purely communist country. It has other political parties besides the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) that aren’t expressly communist. China also holds local, open elections throughout the country. Because of the CPC’s long legacy, though, it rarely faces opposition from other political parties during elections.

Because China’s government is run by a largely unopposed communist party, a significant portion of its economy is government-controlled. However, China has opened up its economy in recent years and transitioned from a socialist economy to a socialist market economy, where private enterprise is allowed but heavily regulated by the government.

Unlike a pure communist state, China’s constitution recognizes private property as of 2004. Privately-owned firms generate a significant percentage of China’s GDP, and investors and entrepreneurs can take profits within parameters set by the state. China’s economy also supports international trade. Today, China is the second largest economy in the world.

Socialism vs Communism Chart: Key Points Comparison

Now that we’ve done a deep dive into the meaning and history of socialism vs communism, let’s condense these philosophies down to their core differences. Check out our Socialism vs Communism chart for a side-by-side comparison of these systems below.

Comparison Point



General Philosophy

To achieve equality among society’s members with the help of the state; to place more power and control in the hands of the people.

To achieve equality among all people by abolishing class and money, which will in turn create a post-capitalist, communist state.

Government Structure

Flexible—socialist principles can be incorporated into any state system, from a democracy, to a republic, to a communist state.

One-party, communist state—all aspects of society, including the economy, are owned, regulated, and run by the state.

Amount of Governmental Power

Varies—this depends on the type of state socialist principles are being incorporated into. In general, the government controls aspects of society that serve the best interest of the people.

Total—the government controls all means of production, which includes labor, entrepreneurship, capital goods, and natural resources, on behalf of the people.

Economic Market

Private enterprise helps fuel economy. There is some competition with state-owned industries.

Industries and markets are state-owned. Private enterprise either doesn’t exist or is very heavily regulated by the state.

Comparison to Capitalism

Attempts to address social inequalities by giving people collective ownership of certain aspects of society that provide for fundamental human needs (i.e. means of production). Can coexist with capitalism.

Breaks down class and social structures by abolishing ownership, which is central to capitalism. As such, communism stands against the central principles of capitalism

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Socialism and communism are just two types of governments. Here's how they stack up to some other well-known government systems.

Socialism vs Other Major Political Systems

You now understand the differences between socialism vs communism, but did you know that these philosophies are often confused with other social and political movements? We’ll briefly clarify the differences between socialism, communism, and three other prominent philosophies: Marxism, fascism, and capitalism.


Let’s start with communism vs socialism vs Marxism. Marxism refers to the communist political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism argues for the dissolution of capitalism--including private ownership, social systems, and money--to eliminate inequality and improve people’s quality of life.

Marxism is a type of communism, but it’s not the only type out there. Communist systems like Leninism, Maoism, and Marxism are slightly different from one another, usually on the basis of how much--or what type--of control government should have over distributing communal property.

(Video) Communism Vs Socialism Vs Capitalism | What's the difference between Communism Socialism Capitalism?


What about fascism vs communism vs socialism? Fascism is a political ideology that promotes authoritarianism and ultra-nationalism. Fascist states are run by dictators, which are individual people who run the entirety of the government according to their will. Dictators and fascist leaders forcibly suppress opposition and maintain tight control of society and the economy, usually through increased militarization.

Actually, neither communism nor socialism are considered fascist. That’s because fascism is all about giving power to one individual who controls everything, whereas socialism and communism want to distribute power to every citizen through collective ownership.

Having said that, many people mistakenly assume that both socialist and communist governments are always fascist. That’s due in part to two reasons. The first is that the Nazi party in Germany called itself the “National Socialist German Workers' Party.” Unfortunately, that means some people automatically assume all socialism is akin to Nazism, which isn’t true. (In fact, Nazis are in many ways opposed to socialism, which advocates that everyone should be equal regardless of race or class.)

The second reason has to do with the history of communism globally. Many--but not all!--communist governments have been authoritarian, meaning that one appointed leader wields governmental power and makes decisions for the entire nation. This isn’t an inherent characteristic of communism, but the history of authoritarian communist governments means that people sometimes believe that communism and fascism go hand in hand.


Finally, capitalism is an economic system based on private rather than state control of a country's trade and industry for profit. Countries that have a capitalist system can coexist with elements of socialism, but the free market remains mostly unhindered by socialist policies. In other words, the government controls little--if any!--of the country’s economic structures. Instead, it’s up to private enterprise to maintain the means of production.

In most cases, communism is incompatible with capitalism because the ultimate goal of communism is abolishing capitalism. But countries that embrace socialist social ideals can also have capitalist economies. France, Australia, and New Zealand are examples of countries that do this.

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What's Next?

If you’re interested in government, don’t miss our article on democracies vs republics. We’ll explain all the key differences to help you understand the ins and outs of these governing systems.

There’s a lot more to learn about how the U.S. government works, too. For instance, did you know that the U.S. government is set up based on a checks and balances system? You can learn more about this balancing mechanism here. If you’re interested in a specific example of how this works, don’t miss our explainer on how the executive branch checks the judicial branch of government.

If you’ve found this article because you’re prepping for your AP Government exam, we have lots more resources for you on our blog. Here’s a huge list of awesome study resources, and our experts can even help you figure out how to answer those pesky FRQs.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Ashley Robinson

About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Is there a real difference between socialism and communism? ›

The main difference is that under communism, most property and economic resources are owned and controlled by the state (rather than individual citizens); under socialism, all citizens share equally in economic resources as allocated by a democratically-elected government.

What is a key difference between socialism and communism? ›

Both socialism and communism place great value on creating a more equal society and removal of class privilege. The main difference is that socialism is compatible with democracy and liberty, whereas Communism involves creating an 'equal society' through an authoritarian state, which denies basic liberties.

What are the 3 types of socialism? ›

Socialist ideologies
  • Utopian socialism.
  • Scientific socialism.
  • Communism.
  • Marxism.
  • Anarchism.

Which is more extreme socialism or communism? ›

While related, socialism and communism are different, Socialism, for instance, seeks to bring equality to the means of production to the working class. Communism takes this a step further and revolutionizes both aspects of production and consumption.

What countries are currently socialist? ›

Marxist–Leninist states
People's Republic of China1 October 1949Communist Party of China
Republic of Cuba24 February 1976Communist Party of Cuba
Lao People's Democratic Republic2 December 1975Lao People's Revolutionary Party
Socialist Republic of Vietnam2 September 1945Communist Party of Vietnam

Is China a socialist country or not? ›

The CPC maintains that despite the co-existence of private capitalists and entrepreneurs with public and collective enterprise, China is not a capitalist country because the party retains control over the direction of the country, maintaining its course of socialist development.

Is Marxism communism or socialism? ›

Marxism is a way to view the world, a system of analysis. A form of Government, condition of a society, a political movement can be considered as Communism. The transformation of society into Socialism, and ultimately to Communism is the philosophy of Marxism.

Was Russia a socialist state? ›

The current Russian Federation did evolve out of a socialist republic in the early '90s. From 1917 to 1991, Russia existed as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, a Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic, and a constituent state of the larger Soviet Union.

Is Denmark a socialist or capitalist country? ›

Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

What are 3 negatives of socialism? ›

KEY Points. Disadvantages of socialism include slow economic growth, less entrepreneurial opportunity and competition, and a potential lack of motivation by individuals due to lesser rewards.

What country is an example of socialism? ›

Examples of countries directly using the term socialist in their names include the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, while a number of countries make references to socialism in their constitutions, but not in their names. These include India and Portugal.

What socialist programs exist in the United States? ›

In the United States, federal and state social programs include cash assistance, health insurance, food assistance, housing subsidies, energy and utilities subsidies, and education and childcare assistance.

What is the biggest problem with socialism? ›

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” This famous line by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reminds us that while government handouts may sound good, someone still has to foot the bill.

What is the biggest argument against socialism? ›

One criticism of socialism is that, in any society where everyone holds equal wealth, there can be no material incentive to work because one does not receive rewards for a work well done. They further argue that incentives increase productivity for all people and that the loss of those effects would lead to stagnation.

Are most countries capitalist or socialist? ›

Capitalism is the dominant economic system in Western countries. In comparison, fewer countries use socialist economic systems. As of 2020, only Laos, China, Cuba, and Vietnam claimed to follow the principles of socialism as dictated by Marxist and Leninist theories.

Has the United States ever been a socialist country? ›

Unlike in Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, a major socialist party has never materialized in the United States and the socialist movement in the United States was relatively weak in comparison.

Is North Korea a socialist? ›

According to Article 1 of the state constitution, North Korea is an "independent socialist state". It holds elections, though they have been described by independent observers as sham elections, as North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship with a comprehensive cult of personality around the Kim family.

Is Italy a socialist or democratic country? ›

Italy has been a democratic republic since June 2, 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum. The constitution was promulgated on January 1, 1948. The Italian state is highly centralized. The prefect of each of the provinces is appointed by and answerable to the central government.

Is Cuba a communist or socialist country? ›

Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist states, in which the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Cuba has an authoritarian regime where political opposition is not permitted.

What countries are communist? ›

Today, the existing communist states in the world are in China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea (DPRK). These communist states often do not claim to have achieved socialism or communism in their countries but to be building and working toward the establishment of socialism in their countries.

Is Cuba a socialist economy? ›

The economy of Cuba is a mixed command economy dominated by state-run enterprises. Most of the labor force is employed by the state. In the 1990s, the ruling Communist Party of Cuba encouraged the formation of worker co-operatives and self-employment.

Who is the father of socialism? ›

Karl Marx revolutionized and popularized the ideas of Socialism. Therefore, he is called as the father of modern socialism.

Who is the father of communism? ›

Karl Marx
Karl Marx FRSA
BornKarl Heinrich Marx5 May 1818 Trier, Kingdom of Prussia
Died14 March 1883 (aged 64) London, England
Burial placeTomb of Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery
NationalityPrussian (1818–1845) Stateless (after 1845)
21 more rows

Who invented socialism? ›

Henri de Saint-Simon

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760–1825) was the founder of French socialism as well as modern theoretical socialism in general.

When did Russia abandon socialism? ›

Soviet Union
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Союз Советских Социалистических Республик Soyuz Sovyetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (in Russian; see in other regional languages)
• Belovezh Accords8 December 1991
• Dissolution26 December 1991
• Total22,402,200 km2 (8,649,500 sq mi) (1st)
71 more rows

Is Portugal a socialist country? ›

The 21st cabinet of the Portuguese government since the establishment of the current constitution. It was established on 26 November 2015 as a Socialist Party (PS) minority government led by Prime Minister António Costa.

Is Russia capitalist or? ›

History. The Russian economy is volatile. Since 1989 its institutional environment was transformed from a socialist command economy to a capitalistic market system.

Is Australia a socialist? ›

Following the collapse of the communism in Europe from 1989 to 1991, belief in socialism collapsed, resulting in the fall of the Communist Party of Australia and the shift of Labor Left towards non-socialist ideologies.

Why is Scandinavia so rich? ›

Finland, Norway and Sweden had large forest resources, and, thus, timber and pulp and paper have been important export products. Sweden also has significant iron ore reserves, which brought wealth to the country even prior to modern industrialisation.

Which country is both capitalist and socialist? ›

Germany is a capitalist country with socialist policies. Those two aspects combined, capitalism and socialism, helped Germany reunite after the fall of the Berlin Wall and keep its economy strong.

Who benefits from socialism? ›

Pros of socialism

A welfare state which provides a minimum basic income for those who are unemployed, sick or unable to work maintains a basic living standard for the poorest in society and helps to reduce relative poverty.

Why capitalism is better than socialism? ›

Capitalism affords economic freedom, consumer choice, and economic growth. Socialism, which is an economy controlled by the state and planned by a central planning authority, provides for a greater social welfare and decreases business fluctuations.

What are 3 disadvantages of communism? ›

Disadvantages of Communism
  • The government owns all the businesses and properties (the means of production).
  • There is no freedom of speech.
  • Large or geographically-broad populations tend to be diverse, making it difficult to maintain a common goal or set of rules for shared effort andresources.

Is Spain a socialist country? ›

Spain's political system is a multi-party system, but since the 1990s two parties have been predominant in politics, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the People's Party (PP).

Does Italy have socialism? ›

Political parties

Italian socialism divided into two major parties, the Partito Socialista Italiano (PSI), led by Pietro Nenni, and Democratico Italiano, led by Giuseppe Saragat.

What is socialism in simple words? ›

Socialism is, broadly speaking, a political and economic system in which property and the means of production are owned in common, typically controlled by the state or government. Socialism is based on the idea that common or public ownership of resources and means of production leads to a more equal society.

Are the Amish socialist? ›

In short, no, the Amish community don't practice socialism. The Amish are a sect of fundamentalist Christians who uphold a rigid set of principles. They place a strong emphasis on family values, hard work, and basic life.

What is the largest socialist group in America? ›

The DSOC, which Harrington described as "the remnant of a remnant", and, later, the DSA soon became the largest democratic-socialist organization in the United States. Initially, the organization consisted of approximately 5,000 ex-DSOC members and 1,000 ex-NAM members.

Which state has the highest welfare rate? ›

State With Most Welfare Recipients

California stands out as the state with the highest number of welfare recipients, with 1,911,000 households benefiting from SNAP. Several factors contribute to California's significant number of recipients.

What is the best thing about socialism? ›

Advantages of Socialism

The government treats the citizens as equals, and the wealth generated by employees is distributed equally to everyone. The government manages the means of production, which ensures that there is fairness in resource utilization and distribution.

Does socialism cause inflation? ›

In the long run, inflation is caused by an increase in the money supply. Therefore, socialism will only cause inflation if the policies include increases in the money supply. If, however, the money supply is controlled by a central bank, then socialist policies will have no long-term impact on inflation.

Does socialism mean everyone gets paid the same? ›

Does socialism mean everyone gets paid the same? No, it means that the means of production are under the control of those who work them. People could all be paid the same, or they could be paid according to how difficult their work is, or money could be foregone altogether.

What does a social Democrat believe? ›

Social democrats advocate freedom from discrimination based on differences in ability/disability, age, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, and social class.

Is Venezuela a socialist country? ›

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Spanish: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) is a left-wing to far-left socialist political party which has been the ruling party of Venezuela since 2010.

What is socialism opposed to? ›

Socialism as an ideology was opposed to personal property and believed that the state or the government should own the means of production. And not by non-public individuals. Personal property is known to socialists since it is the root of all evil in society.

What country is 100% capitalist? ›

In practice, no country in the world has ever achieved a 100% capitalist, "laissez-faire," or free-market economy. All capitalist economies are mixed to one degree or another.

What country is completely capitalist? ›

Countries like the United States and New Zealand are very capitalistic, although they also embody features of mixed market economies. Other, less capitalistic mixed market economies include India and Russia.

Is Mexico a capitalist country? ›

Answer and Explanation: Mexico is not a socialist country, but rather employs a free market, capitalist economic system. It is considered an emerging market economy, meaning it is making strides in growth and GDP, but still falls short of being classified as a developed country.

Has communism ever been successful? ›

Although Marxist theory suggested that the places ripest for social revolution, either through peaceful transition or by force of arms, were industrial societies, communism was mostly successful in underdeveloped countries with endemic poverty such as the Russian Empire and the Republic of China.

Is North Korea a communist? ›

A portrait of Karl Marx on the wall of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Communism has been phased out in North Korean politics and replaced with Juche.

Does Marxism go against socialism? ›

Under socialism, the means of production are owned or controlled by the state for the benefit of all, an arrangement that is compatible with democracy and a peaceful transition from capitalism. Marxism justifies and predicts the emergence of a stateless and classless society without private property.

What is the opposite of Marxism? ›

On the "left" of politics is communism (or Marxism) and on the "right" is capitalism. Capitalism is a political system in which factories, companies, land, etc. are owned privately in order to create profit for the owners.

What are the 5 principles of Marxism? ›

The basic tenets of Marxism are the following: dialectical materialism, historical materialism, the theory of surplus value, class struggle, revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat and communism. Now, these principles will be discussed in detail. because it is never destroyed.

Is Vietnam a socialist country? ›

In contrast to the Chinese model (dubbed the socialist market economy), the Vietnamese system is more explicitly characterized as an economy in transition to socialism and not as a form of socialism, with the process of building socialism seen as a long-term process.


1. SOCIALISM: An In-Depth Explanation
(Ryan Chapman)
2. How to reach socialism/communism
(Viki1999 (retired))
3. HasanAbi reacts to the Difference between Socialism Communism and Marxism explained by a Marxist
(Daily Dose of HasanAbi)
4. Communism vs Socialism with Ash Sarkar & Owen Jones
(Novara Media)
5. Socialism for Absolute Beginners
(Second Thought)
6. Difference Between Socialism and Communism
(Valuetainment Short Clips)


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