Modern Era Economics-1: Socialism

A Brief Overview of Socialism and Socialist Economics

What is Socialism?

Socialism is an economic system wherein the means of production, including industries, natural resources, and infrastructure, are either controlled, owned, or regulated by the state or the society as a whole. Socialism aims to eliminate the class divisions and achieve an equal society. To achieve this, the capitalist and industrial bourgeois must be eliminated, and the workers should rise to overthrow the bourgeois.
Socialism can be found since the antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the Ancient Egypt, for instance, the government owned almost all aspects of the economy, and they had labored lots of peasants into building infrastructure and temple building projects. For instance, whereas private property was acknowledged in Ancient Greece, the city government requirements were given a higher priority. There were wealth distribution programs from rich aristocrats to the lower classes of society, excluding the slaves and those who were not free.
In the Islamic World, some scholars and some confidants of the Prophet Muhammad believed that the wealth should be distributed from the rich to the poor like the “zakat” in Islam.

What Are the Types of Socialism?

The early modern socialism that we know came about in the period of Enlightenment, which came from the 1800s till the 1830s. The philosophers such as Jean Meslier, and Abbé de Mably argued that the inequality problem in their society can be overcome by the distribution of the wealth. And after the Industrial Revolution, socialism gained popularity among the workers to achieve their rights in the factories.
Over time different socialist ideas have emerged by different conditions, countries, and geopolitics. In the early 1900s, the first socialist view, “Utopian Socialism” emerged. This view was the view of the early social critics during early modern socialism.
Utopian Socialism and Utopian Socialists believe in making society and communities better or making socialist ideas stronger in communities that support socialist ideas. Utopian Socialists believed that shared ownership and voluntary cooperation could help achieve social harmony. Utopian Socialism has only been fully implemented in small communities, rather than on a general level.

Another type of socialism is “Revolutionary Socialism”. Revolutionary Socialism believes in destroying capitalism and class divisions because of capitalism by revolutionary means. Revolutionary Socialism believes in fundamentally changing the capitalist & bourgeois political intuitions and systems into a socialist structure. Revolutionary Socialism argues that the transformation of a socialist structure could be with a vanguard party or a revolutionary organization. This is generally considered a “one-party socialist proletariat state” or a “one-party dictatorship.”

On the other hand, three more general socialist beliefs advocate for a much more democratic type of socialism.

Libertarian Socialism, generally known as anarcho-socialism seeks to destroy hieratical structures such as the state and the bourgeoise-created capitalist economic model. Libertarian Socialist advocate for a stateless mutually-owned collective economic model which relies on self-governance & reliance along with the decision-making capabilities of each person in a mutually-owned economic system.

Market Socialism is aiming to achieve a market economy in a socialist society. Market Socialists advocate that the economic beneficiaries such as the factories, workshops, etc. Along with a limited amount of private-owned economies, there are government-owned corporations. Typically, the government regulates the prices and encourages state-owned corporations.

Finally, “Democratic Socialism” aims to have a socialist economic model in a full democracy. Democratic Socialism advocates combining the principles of democracy and socialism for the workers’ benefit. Among other socialist economic models, democratic socialism is considered the most liberal one, since democratic socialist governments advocate and encourage both private and state-owned corporations to compete. Also, democratic socialism advocates for the infrastructure and all other key services are ruled by the government but does not intervene with the personal and economic liberties of the citizens in process.

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