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Socialism /[unsupported input]ˈsʃəlɪzəm/ is an economic system characterized by social ownership and control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy,[1] and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.[2] There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism.[3] They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets versus planning, how management is to be organized within economic enterprises, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.[4]

A socialist economic system would consist of an organization of production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.[5][6] Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

  1. socialism Britannica ACADEMIC EDITION. Accessed: 19 January 2012.
  2. Lua error in ...ribunto/includes/engines/LuaCommon/lualib/mwInit.lua at line 17: bad argument #1 to 'old_pairs' (table expected, got nil).
  3. Peter Lamb, J. C. Docherty. Historical dictionary of socialism. Lanham, Maryland, UK; Oxford, England, UK: Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2006. Pp. 1.
  4. Nove, Alec. Socialism. New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition (2008):
  5. Market Socialism: The Debate Among Socialists, by Schweickart, David; Lawler, James; Ticktin, Hillel; Ollman, Bertell. 1998. From "The Difference Between Marxism and Market Socialism" (P.61-63): "More fundamentally, a socialist society must be one in which the economy is run on the principle of the direct satisfaction of human needs...Exchange-value, prices and so money are goals in themselves in a capitalist society or in any market. There is no necessary connection between the accumulation of capital or sums of money and human welfare. Under conditions of backwardness, the spur of money and the accumulation of wealth has led to a massive growth in industry and technology ... It seems an odd argument to say that a capitalist will only be efficient in producing use-value of a good quality when trying to make more money than the next capitalist. It would seem easier to rely on the planning of use-values in a rational way, which because there is no duplication, would be produced more cheaply and be of a higher quality."
  6. Bockman, Johanna (2011). Markets in the name of Socialism: The Left-Wing origins of Neoliberalism. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804775663. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |month= (help)