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The Concept of Socialism and the Socialist Theories

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Introduction

I hope my information will interest you because I am going to discuss a problem that can attract your attention and improve your understanding of the socialist theories. The concept of socialism that was applied in the former Soviet Union is still appealing to researchers and scholars as a socioeconomic system. Many studies suggest that socialism is based on the political theory that offers cooperative management of the economy and social ownership of the production of commodities (Shaw, 1937).

In fact, socialism rejects private property and advocates common ownership, citizen ownership, or state ownership. The socialist economy is supposed to develop by means of planning and does not rely on the market change. The state takes the leading role in planning and development of the socialist economy. Socialism is a polar system to capitalism because it suggests a planned economy and public ownership of property.

Arguments

In socialism, centralized planning determines the development of economy and does not take into consideration individuals’ demands, experience, and expectations. The government that provides centralized planning determines prices for goods and services, identifies allocation of resources, incomes, and so on. For example, government organizations plan how many automobiles to produce during the year, determine their prices, models, etc. Shaw (1937) argues that the workforce in socialism takes part only in production and workers do not have rights to make decisions about production and distribution of goods and services. Moreover, every-day individual life is controlled and regulated by the police. People should obey the rules that were established by the socialist system.

Tucker (1926) assumes that the moral factors of socialism oppose possessive individualism, and appeal to the morality based on cooperation and the principles of social justice. Socialism was inspired by the Marxist theory of economic efficiency, historical materialism, and rationalism. The moral orientation of individuals cannot be formed apart from a group, e.g. all group members should develop group orientation collectively and implement it into life. Many economists and sociologists consider that individual liberty, different freedoms such as freedom of speech, sexual orientation, and others are not supported by the socialist political system and the government (Tucker, 1926). Compared to capitalism, people are not free to make their own decisions, to express their personal ideas and thoughts. Every member of society is dependent on the socialist system that dictates its own visions towards life.

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I can honestly say that nowadays most people who used to live in socialist political systems (e.g. the former Soviet Union and its block) admit that socialism killed their potential and did not give opportunities to develop new ideas. Everybody should follow their leaders who provided an authoritarian style. The capital was taken away from the citizens and was given to the government. This distribution did not allow the majority of people to make profit and increase their wealth. In socialism, all citizens must be equal, and nobody was allowed to own more wealth than others, except for the government which kept capital away from individuals.

Thus, the government possessed unlimited power over individuals. Shaw (1937) believes that socialism required keeping natural resources and wealth in the hands of all people, and not in the hands of a number of monopolists. In my opinion, this idea is really good when people can equally use all resources such as lakes, parks, forests, and so on. Capitalism does not provide a free use for all resources. However, many evidences proved that in reality things differed from theory because the government and the socialist ruling class owned all the resources.

Conclusion

In my opinion, any political system or society is created to rule people. Socialism and capitalism are just two bipolar systems that differ from each other in the distribution of labor, economic rules and approaches, leadership styles, and other dimensions. From the first site, socialism may seem to be a rather progressive type of management but the history has shown that most forms of socialist management failed. For example, the USSR and its block countries, such as Eastern Germany, have demonstrated their inability for further development. It was a utopia that did not fulfil most of its plans and expectations. According to the research, the socialist political system should lead the states that pursued this way to equal distribution of products but it could not manage this (Pejovich, 2000).

Interestingly, the idea of socialism has captured the minds of the great majority of people in the USSR due to the socialist ideology that was rather widely-distributed among citizens. However, this socio-political system appeared to be incompetent in the global environment and failed. Nowadays, the countries of the former Soviet Union such as Russia and Ukraine experience many economic difficulties because of socialist stereotypes according to which they used to live for more than seventy years. Corruption that was one of the main features of socialist development does not allow them to move forward in their attempts in building the capitalist life-style based on the people’s freedoms and democracy.

Cohen (2009) reports that socialism denied the existence of God. The only authority could be an ideological leader such as Lenin who made the Socialist revolution in 1917. Generally speaking, socialism kills individualism; every person should feel and think as a whole group regardless of their personal opinions. This moral aspect can destruct any society and give unlimited power to the ruling class. These social feelings determine the identity of people in a socialist state that absolutely differs from the capitalist society where every individual realizes his or her importance.

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