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WATCH NOW: How To Use The Terms "Socialism" vs. "Communism"
Socialism and Communism are two words that fall under the category of: learned it a while ago, probably should know it, but actually don't because these are confusing are hard. So what do these terms mean?
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OTHER WORDS FROM socialistnon·so·cial·ist, noun, adjectivepre·so·cial·ist, nounsem·i·so·cial·ist, noun
Words nearby socialist
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does socialist mean?
A socialist is someone who practices or supports socialism, which is an ideology or system based on the collective, public ownership and control of the resources used to make and distribute goods or provide services. This involves ownership of such things not by private individuals but by the public (the community as a whole), often in the form of a centralized government.
The things needed to make goods or offer services—the raw materials, tools, factories, and labor—are known as the means of production. Under socialism, the means of production are owned collectively, rather than by private enterprises.
The word socialist can also be used as an adjective to describe things involving socialism or that operate under socialism, such as countries, economies, or programs.
Socialism is both a social and an economic theory, with many varying interpretations as to what it truly entails. In general, socialism values people working together to meet individuals’ needs. It’s based on the belief that everyone who helps create goods or services should have a share in them. To achieve that, socialism calls for the government to own the raw materials used to make goods, such as wood and metals, and everything you need to make things out of them, including machinery and factories. Some versions of the ideology are based on the belief that the government should also set all purchase prices and workers’ wages to ensure that everyone’s wealth stays equal. In this version of socialism, doctors, bakers, clerks, teachers, and accountants would all be paid the same.
Many socialists think that essential services—such as healthcare, education, and even food—should be provided to the citizens by the government. The idea is that since community members worked together to produce those goods and services, everyone should have equal access to them.
Another common misconception is that there is no private property in a socialist society. But many people who consider themselves socialists are concerned only with property that has to do with production. In a society based on socialism, you could theoretically still have iPhones, jeans, and cars. The difference would be that the government would own everything required to make them. Abolishing private property is actually a part of communism, an ideology that is often confused with socialism. In Marxist theory, socialism is sometimes considered a middle stage in the transition from capitalism to communism.
Where does socialist come from?
The first records of the word socialist come from the 1800s. It is made from the word social, meaning “relating to life, welfare, and relations of humans in a community,” and the suffix -ist, which indicates a person who practices or adheres to a theory, doctrine, or ideology (an –ism).
As a political ideology, socialism is often traced back to the Industrial Revolution. Technology innovations during this time allowed business owners to become very rich while people who worked in their factories worked long hours in dangerous conditions for little pay. Socialism emerged as an alternative to this system of capitalism.
In capitalist systems, most things are privately owned, prices and wages are determined by a free market economy, and goods and services are available only to those who can afford them. Capitalism often leads to a wealthy upper class and a poorer lower class. In contrast, an ideal socialist system aims for no economic classes.
Today, there is no completely socialist country or government. Even countries like Sweden that are often labeled as socialist have capitalist economies based on free markets and competition. China is a communist, one-party state that still has many privately owned corporations and businesses. Even strongly capitalistic countries such as the United States still have some very popular socialist programs, such as Social Security.
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What are some other forms related to socialist?
- socialism (noun)
What are some synonyms for socialist?
- socialistic (in some cases when socialist is used as an adjective)
What are some words that share a root or word element with socialist?
What are some words that often get used in discussing socialist?
How is socialist used in real life?
The word socialist is used in the context of politics, economics, and the discussion of ideologies.
The strong victory for Bolivia's socialist party in this week's election shows that it was former President Evo Morales’s increasing authoritarianism, rather than his socialist ideology, that lost him popular support last year, writes @pol_ange. https://t.co/Qrp0X5Axoy
— Council on Foreign Relations (@CFR_org) October 22, 2020
A San Francisco PAC has been given more than $3 million to oppose left candidates in the upcoming election. Socialist candidates like Dean Preston are redrawing the lines of city politics around class — and the ruling class isn't happy about it. https://t.co/esKxcxTEiq
— Jacobin (@jacobinmag) October 16, 2020
ABC News suspended David Wright for saying this to an undercover right-wing “journalist”: “I would consider myself a socialist; there should be national health insurance. I’m fine with reigning in corporations, I think they’re too many billionaires, and there’s a wealth gap…”
— Bhaskar Sunkara (@sunraysunray) February 26, 2020
How to use socialist in a sentence
Delegate Lee Carter, a Democratic socialist, told his colleagues that they had been manipulated.Inside the Utility Company Lobbying Blitz That Will Hike Electric Bills|by Patrick Wilson, Richmond Times-Dispatch|October 9, 2020|ProPublica
Harrison doesn’t have many connections to those figures, but that likely won’t stop Republicans from suggesting that he is a socialist and favors very liberal policies.How Did Lindsey Graham End Up In Such A Close Race?|Perry Bacon Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org)|October 8, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
The 35-year-old south Londoner, who is of Ghanaian origin and describes herself as a socialist and feminist, represents Streatham, the neighborhood where she grew up, for the UK’s Labour Party.
It also calls to mind the heyday of the former Soviet Union, the mother of all socialist models.Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408 Rebroadcast)|Stephen J. Dubner|September 17, 2020|Freakonomics
They hired a consultant from an Atlanta supermarket firm to come over and teach them how to build their own chain of socialist supermarkets.How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War (Ep. 386 Rebroadcast)|Stephen J. Dubner|August 6, 2020|Freakonomics
“He is ‘an independent socialist,’” said one organizer supportive of Warren.Why the Left Loves Warren, But Won’t Swoon for Sanders|David Freedlander|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Trierweiler claims that Hollande, a socialist, showed contempt for the poor, supposedly calling them “the toothless.”Hell Hath No Fury Like Valerie Trierweiler, the French President’s Ex|Lizzie Crocker|November 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But Clintonistas do not largely see the self-described Democratic Socialist as a credible threat.
Venezuela is known for both its socialist economic policies and its beauty queens.Venezuela Now Has Toilet Paper but No Breast Implants|Jason Batansky|September 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Reformers understood that constructive societal evolution was the antidote to socialist revolution.From The Square Deal to The New Deal: The Overlapping Political Identities of TR and FDR|John Avlon|September 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was a difficulty foreseen long ago in Socialist discussions, but never completely met by the thorough-paced Communist.The Salvaging Of Civilisation|H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
All must work for the state; only in a socialist commonwealth can social justice be found.
The socialist reads such criticism as the above with impatient approval.
We may apply to it with advantage the spectacles of social reform, but what the socialist offers us is total blindness.
The collectivist state advocated by the socialist of to-day has scarcely anything in common with the communism of the middle ages.