WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
An economic and political system based on public or collective ownership of the means of production. Socialism emphasizes equality rather than achievement, and values workers by the amount of time they put in rather than by the amount of value they produce. It also makes individuals dependent on the state for everything from food to health care.
- Socialism creates community values. Socialism reinforces the idea that "we are all in this together" instead of each man fending for himself at any cost. This tends to have positive social benefits while equally distributing the work load.
- Socialism creates an egalitarian (equal) society.
- Socialism allows workers to reap the full benefits of their own efforts and ends the institutionalized robbery of the very workers who are producing the wealth in the first place.
- Socialism, when done right, raises the standard of living for the entire nation as a whole.
- Socialism would free workers from wage slavery.
Robert Owen and his sons advocated the transformation of society into small, local collectives without such elaborate systems of social organization (utopian socialism). Owen was a mill manager from 1800 to 1825. He transformed life in the village of New Lanark with ideas and opportunities which were at least a hundred years ahead of their time. Child labor and corporal punishment were abolished, and villagers were provided with decent homes, schools and evening classes, free health care, and affordable food.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND SOCIALISM TODAY?
China, Vietnam and Cuba are examples of modern-day socialist societies. Twentieth-century socialist governments were overthrown in Czechoslovakia, East Germany and the U.S.S.R.