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Socialism A class of ideologies favoring an economic system in which all or most productive resources are the property of the government in which the production and distribution of goods and services are administered primarily by the government rather than by private enterprise and in which any remaining private production and distribution socialists differ on how much of this is tolerable is heavily regulated by the government rather than by market processes Both democratic and non-democratic socialists insist that the government they envision as running the economy must in principle be one that truly reflects the will of the masses of the population or at least their true best interests but of course they differ considerably in their ideas about what sorts of political institutions and practices are required to ensure this will be so In practice socialist economic principles may be combined with an extremely wide range of attitudes toward personal freedom civil liberties mass political participation bureaucracy and political competition ranging from Western European democratic socialism to the more authoritarian socialisms of many third world regimes to the totalitarian excesses of Soviet-style socialism or communism Ideology A comprehensive and coherent set of basic beliefs about political economic social and cultural affairs that is held in common by a sizable group of people within a society Such interrelated ideas and teachings purport both to explain how political economic social and cultural institutions really do work and also to prescribe how such institutions ought ideally to operate Conservative ideologies seek to demonstrate a close correspondence between the way things are and the way things ought to be thus legitimizing the existing order in the eyes of those who can be convinced to believe in the ideology Radical and revolutionary ideologies on the other hand set unconventional higher or even utopian standards with regard to what would constitute a legitimate and supportable social-economic-political system and then demonstrate in detail that the existing order
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