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Socialism is a political philosophy and movement encompassing a range of economic and social systems, which are characterised by social ownership of the means of production, as opposed to private ownership. As a term, it describes the economic, political, and social theories and movements associated with the implementation of such systems. Social ownership can be public, community, collective, cooperative, or employee. While no single definition encapsulates the many types of socialism, social ownership is the one common element, and is considered left-wing. Different types of socialism vary based on the role of markets and planning in resource allocation, on the structure of management in organizations, and from below or from above approaches, with some socialists favouring a party, state, or technocratic-driven approach. Socialists disagree on whether government, particularly existing government, is the correct vehicle for change.
Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent and critical of them, and present in both industrialised and developing nations. Social democracy originated within the socialist movement, supporting economic and social interventions to promote social justice. While retaining socialism as a long-term goal, since the post-war period it came to embrace a mixed economy based on Keynesianism within a predominantly developed capitalist market economy and liberal democratic polity that expands state intervention to include income redistribution, regulation, and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism, with more democratic control of companies, currencies, investments, and natural resources.
While the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally socialist state led to socialism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, several scholars posit that in practice, the model functioned as a form of state capitalism. Several academics, political commentators, and scholars have distinguished between authoritarian socialist and democratic socialist states, with the first representing the Eastern Bloc and the latter representing Western Bloc countries which have been democratically governed by socialist parties such as Britain, France, Sweden, and Western countries in general, among others. Following the end of the Cold War, many of these countries have moved away from socialism as a neoliberal consensus replaced the social democratic consensus in the advanced capitalist world. (Full article...)
Socialism with Chinese characteristics, meaning socialism adapted to Chinese conditions, is the official ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC), claimed to be based upon scientific socialism. This ideology supports the creation of a socialist market economy dominated by the public sector since China is, as claimed by the CPC, in the primary stage of socialism. The People's Republic of China (PRC) government maintains that it has not abandoned Marxism but has developed many of the terms and concepts of Marxist theory to accommodate its new economic system. The CPC argues that socialism is compatible with these economic policies. In current Chinese Communist thinking, China is in the primary stage of socialism—a view which explains the PRC government's flexible economic policies to develop into an industrialized nation.
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Eduard Bernstein (German: [ˈeːduaʁt ˈbɛʁnʃtaɪn]; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German social democratic Marxist theorist and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Bernstein had held close association to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but he began to identify what he believed to be errors in Marxist thinking and began to criticize views held by Marxism when he investigated and challenged the Marxist materialist theory of history. He rejected significant parts of Marxist theory that were based upon Hegelian metaphysics and rejected the Hegelian perspective of an immanent economic necessity to socialism. (Full article...)
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