Top 17 Characteristics of Socialism

The Characteristics of socialism Are the search for equality, the redistribution of wealth and the abolition of social classes, among others.

Socialism is described as an economic and political system in which the means of production operate under public property, which is sometimes also called common property. This common property can be taken in a democratic or voluntary way, or on the contrary, in a totalitarian way.

The Fist that represents the symbol of socialism and its characteristics.

It can also be seen as a system in which the production and distribution of goods is exercised by substantial control of the government, rather than by private companies.

Socialism was initially developed as an objection to liberal individualism and capitalism. Among the most famous of the early socialist thinkers are Robert Owen , Henri de Saint-Simon , Karl Marx Y Vladimir Lenin .

It was mainly Lenin who expounded on the ideas of the Socialists and participated in socialist planning at the national level after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia during 1917.

This system assumes that the basic nature of the people is cooperative, that nature has not yet emerged in its entirety because the capitalism or the feudalism Forced people to be competitive. Therefore, a fundamental principle of socialism is that the economic system must be compatible with this basic nature.

In theory, this system means that everyone has the right to participate in decisions about how global resources are used. This means that no one is able to take personal control of the resources, beyond their own belongings.

In practice, it may mean that all power is in the hands of the state and the people must comply with what it orders.

List of 17 characteristics of socialism

1- Planning

Economic planning is a feature of socialism, since instead of allowing the free play of a lucrative market, it coordinates everything under a planning.

The absence of planning in socialism can not exist, since according to his theory, the systematic improvement of the material and cultural conditions of the masses requires a plan.

2- Redistribution of income

In socialism, inherited wealth and material income are bound to be reduced. How you do it will depend on the type of government that implements it.

On the other hand, social security benefits, free medical care, as well as social welfare services provided by the collective bag, are sought to lead the less privileged classes.

3- Search for economic-social equality

The moral imperative of the theory of socialism is equality, since it considers that only by introducing greater equality in economic relations can the situation of working classes be improved.

To achieve a common level of economic progress, the objective it describes is to provide equal opportunities for all. Hence socialism has been called in the past as the economic philosophy of the suffering classes, since all socialist movements aspired to a more humane society.

The principles evoked by this doctrine are fraternity, cooperation, social communion and camaraderie.

However, critics consider it a mistake to think that socialism can achieve absolute equality, because it is not able to recognize the income differences based on self-worth and productivity, basic to the progress of a society.

4. Opposes capitalism

Socialism arises in response to the social inequalities marked by capitalist system , So it is opposed to the idea of ​​the accumulation of goods and economic competition.

In pure capitalism, people are motivated to act in their own personal interest, whereas in the ideals of socialism people must first promote the common good before their own.

5- Abolition of social classes

In his theory, socialism aims to establish a society without classes, so in authoritarian socialism, there is practically no class, that is, they all belong to the same category.

As all means of production are state property, the capitalist class does not exist. However, in practice it can lead to the emergence of a dome where rulers and their environment live with great privileges.

In this type of socialism, although there are private capitalists, their activity is usually controlled and regulated. They do not enjoy freedom without restrictions, but are under constant scrutiny and observation of the state.

6- Diversity

In theory, socialism seeks to foster intellectual diversity by establishing that everyone has the same rights. In this way, we cooperate so that each individual extracts their educational, disciplinary skills and knows their duties.

In practice, totalitarian socialism seeks that all have the same ideology opposing political and intellectual diversity.

7- Religious Ideas

Some forms of socialism have often been atheistic in character, and many leading socialists have criticized the role of religion.

Other socialists have been Christians and have sustained a considerable interaction between Christian and socialist ideas, which is why it has been claimed that the first Christian communities show certain features of socialism.

Some of these traits are the celebration of common possessions, the rejection of conventional sexual customs and gender roles, the provision of community education, among others, that could be considered similar to socialism.

8- Promotes improvements in the lower strata

Its aim in principle was to raise the standard of living of those in the lower strata and the middle classes.

These improvements are achieved by guaranteeing full employment, a high rate of growth, the dignity of labor and the absence of labor exploitation, the relatively equitable distribution of income and wealth and the absence of wastefulness associated with the capitalist system of production.

However, faced with these advantages, radical systems of socialism run the risk of leading to the loss of efficiency and incentives for hard work, as well as self-initiative.

9- Monopoly of the State

Unlike other economies where there are multiple companies that generate the income of the country and there is competitiveness in terms of the law of supply and demand, in pure socialism there is no competition, which means that the State is the only entrepreneur.

In authoritarian socialism, the ownership of the means of mass production is social or collective, thus completely eliminating private property.

According to this socialist approach, all lands, mines, mills, factories, as well as the system of finance and trade, must be nationalized.

Likewise, the power to make economic decisions must be based on public authorities and not on private individuals or for-profit enterprises. Public ownership then assumes existing private enterprises, municipal and regional enterprises, and cooperative enterprises.

Opponents of this type of socialism argue that state ownership of the means of production leads to inefficiency. They argue that without the motivation to make more money, management, workers and developers are less likely to make the extra effort to push new ideas or products.

10- Basic needs covered

People living under well-defined socialism are covered by a social safety net. Therefore, their basic needs are proportionate, giving priority to the lower and marginalized classes.

This is a great advantage and a great benefit. However, critics of socialism warn that there is a thin line between providing people with the basic needs they deserve and needed, and turning those benefits into a populist campaign.

These benefits can make people think that the State is a species of God and that without it can not survive, which in history has given way to the permanence of authoritarian governments in power for a long time.

11- Fixing the cost of products

In some socialist systems, the pricing process does not function freely, but under the control and regulation of the central planning authority.

There are managed prices that are set by the central planning authority. There are also the market prices at which consumer goods are sold, as well as the prices of account settlements.

On these prices, managers decide on the production of consumer goods and investment, and also on the choice of production methods.

Critics of socialism believe that this is a wrong move, because in many nations it has been responsible for scarcity, hidden product marketing, corruption, and rationing of food and commodities for the entire population.


The State is continuously involved in social, economic and distribution activities.

The argument is that this way you can guarantee the fairness you have as an ideal. If socialism is arbitrary, the allocation of resources will be equally arbitrary.

13- Centralized Objectives

The objectives may relate to aggregate demand, full employment, satisfaction of Community demand, allocation of factors of production, distribution of national income, amount of capital accumulation, and economic development. These objectives are centralized and implemented by the State.

14- Has several economic models

In some socialist economic models, labor cooperatives have primacy over production. Other socialist economic models allow individual ownership of the enterprise and property. This will depend on the degree of radicality or flexibility of the model.

15- Communities are consulted

Social policy is decided in the communities. In theory, public decisions are made based on consultations with the people themselves, seeking the direct participation of the community in the issues that afflict it. This is not always achieved in practice.

16- Provides less incentive

Socialism can be considered a more compassionate system, but it has its limitations. A disadvantage is that people have to work less and feel less connected to the fruits of their efforts.

With their basic needs already guaranteed, they have less incentive to innovate and increase their efficiency. As a result, engines of economic growth are weaker.

17- Can become a Utopia

In theory, all are equal in socialism. In practice, however, hierarchies emerge, and party officials on the side of well-connected individuals are in a better position to receive favored goods.

The planners of the government, as well as the planning mechanisms, are not infallible or incorruptible. There are deficiencies in some socialist economies, even in the most essential goods.

Because there is no free market to facilitate adjustments, the system can not regulate itself, so bureaucracy and corruption can arise.

Types of socialism

There are various"types"of socialism ranging from the most democratic to the most radical and authoritarian. On the one hand, some of its followers tolerate capitalism, provided that the government maintains power and economic influence, but others are in favor of the abolition of private enterprise and total control by the government entity.

Such is the case of some social democracies, which are based on socialist ideas but do not completely suppress certain features of the free market. Its objective is to seek a more equitable distribution among the population, not excluding private companies.

These less radical systems seek to help people from the lower strata by giving them greater well-being, but private companies remain open with obligations such as paying taxes, developing social responsibility programs, giving fairer benefits to their employees, among other duties .


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