Politics in Minutes (2016)

Socialism and communism

Socialism and communism are two interconnected, and often confused, political ideas. Communism is, broadly speaking, a political ideology or philosophy, whereas socialism is primarily the socioeconomic system associated with it. Like many modern political ideologies, communism has its beginnings in the Enlightenment, and developed in opposition to the rise of capitalism in the Industrial Revolution. In the mid-19th century, Karl Marx presented a comprehensive case for communist politics and socialist economics, in which the means of production, distribution and exchange are owned or controlled collectively.

The political implications of this economic system are social justice, equality and cooperation, in contrast to the liberal emphasis on freedoms and individual rights. There have been numerous interpretations of socialism since Marx, with some arguing for a workers’ revolution to end the capitalist system, and others for more gradual democratic reform.