Politics in Minutes (2016)

Equality

Common to all varieties of socialism and communism is the notion of equality and fairness, and especially an equitable distribution of wealth. The socialist economic model is based on transferring the means of production from private hands to a collective ownership, so that no one has more than their fair share of the fruits of that production. This idea was encapsulated in the maxim adopted by Karl Marx: ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’

As with so many principles, the notion of fair distribution has been interpreted in different ways. In order to achieve the objective of a socialist state, production needs to be encouraged by rewarding the workers by sharing the wealth ‘according to deeds’ – in proportion to the amount and quality of their contribution to it – but the aim is ultimately to produce enough to distribute production according to need, even if someone is unable to contribute to the production, and so provide for the disadvantaged in society.

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