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Socialism Marxist Socialism Socialism is an economic system a political movement and a social theory Most socialists believe those national or local governments rather than individuals should own a nations resources and control their use Socialism calls for public ownership of land factories and other basic means of production Socialism and Communism The word socialism and communism once meant about the same thing--a society based on public ownership of the means of production Today people draw sharp distinctions between the two terms Members of Communist parties consider socialism as a stage in the development of Communist societies During this stage a Communist party is in power in a country most private property has been eliminated and the economy is run on the basis of a national production plan However the nation is not yet rich enough to give its citizens all the material benefits they need and the government must coerce force people to work hard for little reward In a later stage the nation will be wealthy enough to satisfy everyones economic wants That stage of development is Communism Communists claim government coercion will disappear under Communism Democratic socialists--that is socialists in non-Communist countries--do not accept the Communist definition of socialism Most of them believe that some government coercion is necessary because some people must be forced to be good citizens Democratic socialists reject most of the methods used by Communist parties such as revolution and other forms of violence as means of gaining power Democratic socialists also oppose dictatorial methods of running the state after they are in power Unlike Communists democratic socialists believe in democratic processes and do not wish to get rid of all opposition parties They care more about the fair distribution of goods and services than about rapid economic growth Democratic socialists also favor democratic methods for determining what goods are to be produced Goals and Methods of Socialism Socialists claim
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