Socialism is a political movement that centers on changing the economic means of ownership and production. Its main objective is to foster a cooperative economy through the creation of cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership or shared equity. There are many different philosophies of socialism and no one definition can encompass all of the nuances of this political movement. While these approaches differ in the type of social ownership they advocate as well as the degree to which the government is involved in the socialist system, the political movement as a whole does share some key goals.
Critique of Waste
Most socialists argue that an accumulation of capital creates waste. Capital is defined as any asset, investment, real estate or product used in the production of work or for labor purposes. A main goal of the socialist political movement is to critique the wasteful excesses of capitalism, to call on corporations and businesses to use fewer resources and to call on people to accumulate fewer material goods.
Abolition of Private Property
Many socialists feel that private property limits the potential production output of a society. Private property is made redundant when the means of production are centralized into social institutions based on an equitable appropriation of revenue. The goal associated with the centralization of production and the abolition of private property is to encourage cooperation between laborers. With no need for a controlling class of owners and high-level executives, socialists believe that overproduction, waste and uncoordinated economic decisions will be eliminated.
Overcoming Social Deficiencies
As a political movement, socialism is also concerned with disparities in income distribution that lead to classism and heavy taxation. The need for a federal minimum wage, unemployment insurance and social security are often seen as flaws of capitalism. They reflect the government's inability to manage business and industry production, and business' tendencies to take advantage of employees and consumers. Socialists often have a goal of establishing a socialist or communal means of production to overcome the government's deficiencies in providing for its citizens and controlling selfish business interests.
Tying together many of the other goals of socialism is a desire to rid society of social classes based on wealth and power. Socialists criticize capitalism for concentrating money and status within a small section of society. These wealthy citizens own the businesses, exploit labor by working employees as hard as possible and paying them as little as possible, and generally have selfish reasons for pursing profit.
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