Published on November 28, 2008
Socialism : Socialism General term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods. Because of the collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes capitalism. Where capitalism stresses competition and profit, socialism calls for cooperation and social service. Socialism : Socialism In a broader sense, the term socialism is often used loosely to describe economic theories ranging from those that hold that only certain public utilities and natural resources should be owned by the state to those holding that the state should assume responsibility for all economic planning and direction. In the past 150 years, there have been innumerable differing socialist programs. For this reason socialism as a doctrine is ill defined, although its main purpose, the establishment of cooperation in place of competition remains fixed. Historical Background : Historical Background Industrial Revolution Threw thousands of handcraft workers into the labor market. Around factories, crowded slums were established. Crime, disease, hunger, and misery were a way of life. Industrial accidents brought no compensation for families. Rights for wage earners did not exist. Unions were illegal. These problems would lead to economic reforms. Types of Socialism : Types of Socialism Utopian Socialism State Socialism Christian Socialism Anarchism Marxian Socialism Communism Revisionism Fabian Socialism Syndicalism Guild Socialism Utopian Socialism : Utopian Socialism Dates around 1800 Key figures Henri de Saint-Simon Charles Fourier Robert Owens The competitive market economy is unjust and irrational. Universal togetherness rather than class struggle. Cooperative communities tried it, but were unsuccessful. State Socialism : State Socialism Key Figures Louis Blanc Otto von Bismark Government ownership and operation of all or specific sectors of the economy. Social insurance against unemployment, sickness and old age. Purpose was to achieve overall social objectives, not just profit. State Socialism : State Socialism Soviet Union – major sectors were state owned and operated. United States – Social Security System and Postal Service. The state is an impartial power that could be influenced to favor the working class. Aimed at increasing the loyalty of workers to the state. Christian Socialism : Christian Socialism Dates around 1848 in England and Germany. Key Figure Charles Kingsley – English Arose after the defeat of radical movements in both countries. Workers turned to religion to ease their pain and for hope. Christian Socialism : Christian Socialism The Bible – manual of the government leader, the employer, and the worker. Property was to be held in trust for the benefit of everybody. Advocated sanitary reform, education, factory legislation, and cooperatives. Anarchism : Anarchism Key Figure Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Human nature is essentially good if not corrupted. Mutual understanding, cooperation, and complete liberty. All forms of government should be abolished. Society’s order should arise out of self-governing groups through voluntary or associate effort. Anarchism : Anarchism Private property should be collectively owned by cooperating groups. Communities trade with other communities. Two Associations: Associations of producers would control agriculture, industrial, intellectual, and artistic production. Association of consumers would be coordinating housing, lighting, health, food, and sanitation. Individual initiative would be encouraged. Marxian Socialism : Marxian Socialism Key Figures Karl Marx Friedrich Engels Wrote the Communist Manifesto - 1848 “Scientific Socialism” Based on the a labor theory of value and theory of exploitation of workers by the capitalist. The working class will establish its own dictatorship of the proletariat. Private property in consumer goods is permitted. Marxian Socialism : Marxian Socialism Capital and land publicly owned by the central government. Production and rate of investment is planned. The major guiding forces – profit and free market – are to be eliminated. Communism : Communism The stage of society that eventually supersedes socialism. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Presupposes an abundance of goods relative to wants. Eliminates money payments based on work preformed. A devotion to society as selfless as a person’s loyalty to his or her family. Communism : Communism The major difference between Communism and Socialism is primarily TACTICS. Workers should establish a proletarian dictatorship, break up the capitalist state, and organize into a soviet government. Promote greater freedoms of expression along with an increasing democracy. Revisionism : Revisionism Key Figure Eduard Bernstien – Germany Sometimes referred to as “gas and water socialism.” Opposition to Marxian point of view. Objects to the narrowness of Marx interpretation of economic history. Relied on methods of Democracy, and not proletarian dictatorship, for the attainment of socialism. Revisionism : Revisionism Pinned its hopes on education, electioneering, and gaining control of government through the ballot. Government regulates monopolies, controls the working conditions in factories, takes over some public utilities, and gradually extends its ownership of capital. Fabian Socialism : Fabian Socialism Key Figures Sydney and Beatrice Webb Wrote much on industrial Britain, alternative economic arrangements, and pamphlets for political reform. The British counterpart to Revisionism in Germany. The middle-class Fabians were directly involved in cooperative movements, trade unions, and the entire British political apparatus. Fabian Socialism : Fabian Socialism Core of their system was the higher labor incomes and the Ricardian Theory of Rent. State’s responsibility to acquire rent. Supported Monopolies No competition would leave more room to treat their workers better. Syndicalism : Syndicalism Key Figure George Sorel Antiparliamentarian and antimilitarist Believed that socialism will deteriorate into “bourgeois” beliefs when engaged in politics. Abolition of private property and extinction of political government. Need for ONE BIG UNION Strikes used to stir up revolutionary consciousness. The use of sabotage as a weapon. Syndicalism : Syndicalism One big strike will overthrow capitalism Lead to each industry into a unit managed by workers. These units will then become part of a federation that will become an administrative center. Government will eventually disappear. Guild Socialism : Guild Socialism Key Figure G.D.H. Cole State was a necessary institution for the general interests of the citizens. Management of industries was to be entrusted to the employees (producers.) Organization of Industrial Guilds. Government was to determine economic policy for the whole community, not the workers. Guild Socialism : Guild Socialism Every worker would be a partner in the enterprise. “industrial democracy” The nation would be divided into producers and consumers. Guild Association: producers Government: consumers Common Socialism Ideas : Common Socialism Ideas Repudiated the classical notion of the harmony of interest. Opposed the concept of laissez-faire. Rejection of Say’s Law of Markets. Believed in the perfectibility of people. Collective action and public ownership of enterprise to ameliorate conditions of the masses. Benefits of Socialism : Benefits of Socialism Utopian, Christian, and Guild Socialists Claimed to benefit everybody’s interest. Needs and interest of workers. Inspiring reforms. Employers and landowners. Diverted from organized unions and political parties. Benefits of Socialism : Benefits of Socialism Marxist, Anarchists, and Syndicalists. Class “warfare” against the rich. Sole aim – interests of the working class. Trade unions, political pressure, threats of revolts. Validity of Socialism : Validity of Socialism The early 1800s Society faced poverty and recurring business depressions. The typical laborer saw little hope . Socialism encouraged reforms. Lasting Contributions : Lasting Contributions Socialism for the most part has failed. Implementation proved extremely difficult. The remaining Marxian regimes is eset with problems. What about the market economy? Were there any lasting contributions made by early socialists? Lasting Contributions : Lasting Contributions Early Socialist thinkers developed foundation of contemporary socialist economic thought. Several policy recommendations made by the socialists are now institutionalized with capitalist nations. Socialists emphasized the analysis of the growth of monopoly power, the problem of income distribution, and the reality of business cycles.