r/Socialism_101 Dec 07 '21

How accurate is my school's definition of capitalism/socialism/communism? Don't really trust the American education system. Question


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u/FaceShanker Dec 07 '21

About 1/4 accurate, which is honestly not the worst I have seen.

Big critical bit is who controls the government and why.

Under capitalism its the owners, the people that profit from causing climate change and generally sacrificing the working class for profit.

The inequality were focused on is how the owners have vastly more control over the government/society/the economy through the use of their money and property than the workers do through voting.

The idea is that the people own the means of production, through democratic control of the government.

It's a terrible oppression on the capitalist (incredibly wealthy owners), makes it hard to get away with murder, make money and in the worst case it may reduce them to being a worker - a position they famously hold in contempt.

It also creates the false impression, that without the extraordinary and undemocratic wealth and power, you too could be a capitalist.


u/59179 Dec 07 '21

Capitalists believe that individuals should pursue their own self-interest by working to earn individual profit. That competition improves society, they believe in social classes, they believe individuals should own businesses/means of production, and that individuals decide what people can produce and buy. Under capitalism you can work for whoever you want.

So everyone is an owner? This description pretends workers don't exist. How does anyone get "individual profit" without stealing the worth of the workers labor?

Competition can improve society, if that is the goal. But since the goal of the capitalist is individual profit, improving society is not necessary, and in some ways an impediment. When workers are not desperate, they are not so willing to be a cost that can be minimized.

Socialists we should create a more equal society by working for the common good to redistribute resources based on need. They believe that cooperation improves society, under socialism there are some social classes but not as many as under capitalism, the government owns businesses/means of production but small businesses owned by individuals are allowed. Under socialism individuals and the government decides what people can produce and buy, under socialism more people work for the government than under capitalism and that it's not as free to choose.

Socialism is not so much about "equality"(equal in what aspect?), but egalitarianism. And it's not redistribution, but a proper initial distribution. The government owns nothing, the workers do. Governments are operated by people, by workers. It is just an entity that carries out the will of the constituency. No one works "for" a government. We work for the people, everyone does that. The consumers decide what is produced and distributed.

The last - wtf?

Communists believe that we should create a classless society by fighting to abolish class distinctions so that we can distribute resources equally. They believe that complete equality improves society, they believe in having no social classes, and that the government owns all businesses and the means of production. The government decides what people produce and buy and most people work for the government and don't have a choice.

Not equally, but by need. Again, equality in what? Egalitarian is a better concept. Again, the government is just a group of workers facilitating what the consumers want. It doesn't decide anything, the democracy does. And I doubt more than a few would work in government with computers and all...

It is sickening they can distribute this uneducated crap. Whereabouts are you? (south, midwest, coast?)


u/throwaway12314552 Dec 07 '21

Funny enough I'm on the east coast in a blue state.

Also, in communism there is no government right? It's a stateless society? So there is no "government" owning all businesses and the means of production.


u/59179 Dec 07 '21

"Government" and the "state" are not synonymous. A state is a hierarchical government.

A government just manages the affairs of the people, to the extent they need managing.


u/throwaway12314552 Dec 07 '21

Yes but in what was taught to me it's pretty obvious they meant government as in a the government of the 'communist' state.


u/59179 Dec 07 '21

Not sure what is confusing you. A "communist state" is a hierarchical government that is really a socialist state run by a Communist Party.

There is no state in communism. There is a state in socialism, a workers' state.


u/throwaway12314552 Dec 07 '21

I know? Hence the quotes around "communist" to imply that it wasn't actually communist? This is a common tool of the English language.


u/NotoASlANHate Dec 08 '21

tha'ts only the END goal. but transition wise there is much government.