Does communism socialism describe a form of government or just an economic system

October 20, 2018, 7:41 pm

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The debate "Does communism socialism describe a form of government or just an economic system" was started by Nemiroff on October 20, 2018, 7:41 pm. By the way, Nemiroff is disagreeing with this statement. 5 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 4 people are on the disagree side. There needs to be more votes to see what the common perception is. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

Nemiroff posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
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5 visitors agree.
Nemiroff and 3 visitors disagree.

The way it is usually understood in Poli-sci is that Communism is both a political and economic system whereas socialism is a economic system only.

Communism refers to a state which denies the right to personal property in general. So all land, all industry, etc... is owned by the state and governed by a single, authoritarian ruling party. You can use a car, however you cannot own a car or the factory that makes a car. Communists generally advocate for a classless and stateless system and reject religion; they generally justify the authoritarian rule as a means of transition from a capitalist or socialist society to a "true" communist society. Wealth is supposed to be distributed based on need, regardless of productivity. The level of "need" is dictated by the authoritative party in power.

The fact that a unelected, authoritative party must rule in communism means it is by necessity a political system.

Socialism refers to a state which allows for personal property and for democratic governments. In the strictest forms of a socialist society you can own a car, but you cannot own the factory that produces the car. In socialism, industry is managed through an elected government rather than an authoritative. In socialism, wealth is distributed based on productivity of an individual. The rate of distribution however, is decided by the people. The rate of distribution is managed in a variety of ways voted on by the people. This can include progressive tax rates (taxing income above a certain amount at a much higher rate), Max Income laws (can be a max figure or a max multiple of the lowest paid worker in that industry), Universal Basic Incomes, Max liquid wealth (no limit on actual earnings, but must reinvest earnings over a certain amount; usually no restrictions as to how and where investment is made), etc...

The fact that you can have a democratic government, a republic, etc... means it is an economic system only with variability in the systems that can govern it.

Another key difference is the view on Capitalism the two systems hold. In Communism, Capitalism is generally seen as a principal that must be destroyed to have a classless society. In Socialism, Capitalism is seen as a system that can be managed to embody the ideals of socialism and that the two can actually exist within the same state..

3 weeks, 5 days ago
lachlan2
replied to...

Yes it does, when I said, "In marxist terms the state was supposed to "wither away". I think what they wanted was eventually the world would be so perfect all the workers would just voluntarily conform to their commune and history would end." I answered the type of government socialist in the marxist camp would describe. Although there are many forms of socialism that describe dofferent forms of government.

I think every form of socialism would have to describe a form of government to describe how collective means of production would be achieved.

3 weeks, 5 days ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

this answers nothing regarding government structure and sounds like a completely decentralized liberitarian fantasy...

3 weeks, 5 days ago
lachlan2
replied to...

In marxist terms the state was supposed to "wither away". I think what they wanted was eventually the world would be so perfect all the workers would just voluntarily conform to their commune and history would end.

But in reality obviously there is no other way for collective means of production than totalitarianism. I think marxists just use the sophistry now to try to act like they don't believe in total government control.

3 weeks, 6 days ago

had trouble phrasing this but I'm quite certain it barely describes a form of government. I looked up 'dictatorship of the proliteriat' to see which form of communism promoted an actual transitional dictatorship but apparently the term never meant a single central ruler but a literal rule of all the proliteriat, with capitalism being a "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". it never meant a central ruler to begin with!

is it supposed to be a direct democracy? was it meant to be a small group of decision makers? how are laws enacted? does it explain anything regarding the details of the government, or is it truly just an idealistic economic system that can be fit into any form of government?

obviously we know the way communism has been enacted so far in reality, but is that the way it was meant to be on paper?

3 weeks, 6 days ago
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