Socialism

Discipline: Economics

An economic system under which the means of production and distribution are owned by the state, and not the individuals.

In a socialist economy, the state owns the industrial plants, and centrally controls production.

The idea of socialism was enunciated by Karl Marx.

Socialism is different from communism, which, in fact, is the ideal and final stage of socialism where the state is no more, and the people are equal as proletarians.

Also see: capitalism, communism

Discipline: Political Science

Theory of the social nature or aspects of production and of its consequences.

Socialism is characterized by enormous variety. It generally involves the argument that economic production has an essential social element as distinct from individual element, and that this requires public investment and justifies a public share in and distribution of rewards.

Source:
David Miller et al., eds, The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)

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