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Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. Capitalism. An economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned

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Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism

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Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism


Capitalism

  • An economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned

  • Investment of capital and the production, distribution, and prices of commodities (goods and services) are determined mainly in a free market rather than by the state

  • Means of production are (generally) operated for profit.


Socialism

  • State ownership of common property, or state ownership of the means of production.

  • In a purely socialist state, the state owns and operates the means of production.

  • Nearly ALL modern capitalist countries combine socialism and capitalism. Rutgers is a socialist institution: owned and operated by New Jersey. Highways, state parks, harbors, etc. are all socialist – owned and operated by the state – though they facilitate capitalism.


Socialism

  • As capitalism emerged in opposition to feudalism, socialism developed in reaction to capitalism

  • Combination of passionate concern for social justice and proposals for economic reform (though the type is not agreed upon by all socialists)

  • Key themes

    • Dignity of work

    • Value of workers’ cooperation

  • First half of the 19th century

    • Some ambivalent toward industrialism

    • Others seek to harness industrialism to welfare of impoverished masses

    • Disagree central planning


Diversity in Socialism

  • Saint-Simon (1790-1825) : technocratically planned and controlled industrial society

  • Robert Owen (1771-1858): self-governing workers’ co-operatives

  • Francois Marie Charles Fourier (1772-1837): local communities (phalansteres) based on diverse and freely chosen forms of work

  • English Fabian Society (founded 1883)


Marx and Engel’s Effect on Socialism

  • Critique of capitalism by Marx and Engels provided resources to socialism

  • Marxism provided emerging socialist parties of Western Europe with a general philosophy and a final goal in the shape of the common ownership of all means of production and distribution

  • The goal could incorporate various socialist beliefs in workers’ co-operation and self-management without specifying clearly how a socialist society would actually operate.


Socialism in Action

  • The First Internationale or International Workingman’s Association (1864-76)

    • Destroyed by conflicts between Marxists and Anarchists (especially prevalent in repressive quasi-feudal societies such as Russia and Spain)

  • The Second Internationale (1889-1914)

  • Both tried to incorporate Western labor movements into an international organization based upon Marxist philosophy and the common interests of workers around the world.

    • Success in France and Germany

    • Up until 1914, emerging ideas of democratic socialism could be reconciled with and partly based on Marxist ideology


World War I and Russian Revolution

  • Transformed socialism

  • Split the communist and democratic forms of socialism

  • Bolshevik Revolution  product of a disciplined elite not a mass proletarian movement occurring in an economically backward/quasi feudal country

    • Doubtful relation to Marx’s theories or speculations

    • Russian revolution showed that Marx had some flaws

      • Marx viewed government as coercion by a dominant economic class and not as a separate or independent source or power

      • Stalin showed how overwhelmingly tyrannical a complete union of political and economic power could be


Communism

  • A community ownership of property with the end being COMPLEGE social equality via economic equality.

  • Communism is an idealized utopian economic and social state that the country as a whole is working towards.

  • The People’s Republic of China aspired to this form of communism in the time of Mao.

  • Mao justified authoritarianism and repression if they facilitated the establishment of communism.


Marx and the Labor Theory of Value

  • Marx believes that each individual owns his or her own labor (the labor theory of value)

  • No man can – or should – own another man’s body or his labor

  • Profit belongs to the laborer not the capitalist who controls the means of production (e.g. factory owner)

  • Profit that is not shared with the laborer is inherently exploitive.

  • Communism claims to transfer the ownership of the means of production to the state so that the profits of labor can be shared with the laborer


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