Socialism is a type of economic system, a political movement, and a
social theory. Socialism is based on the idea that governments should own and
control a nation's resources rather than individuals.
Socialism was first used to describe opposition to the free enterprise
and market economies. The Industrial Revolution was the cause of many social
problems. Long work hours, low pay, and poor working conditions caused
Americans to first consider socialism. With government involvement in business,
fairer treatment for all was feasible. Most countries today have socialist
parties, many have socialist governments, and others who are in between have
adopted socialist ideas.
Communism and socialism are often associated together. Socialism is a
stage of government usually leading up to communism. Government must first
control businesses if it is to be considered a communist nation. Democratic
socialists believe some government control is necessary to force people to
become good citizens, but too much can lead to not enough freedoms.
Socialism is seen as an efficient form of government. Capitalism, on
the other hand, leads to unemployment, poverty, business cycles, and conflict
between owners. Through socialism a nations wealth can be distributed more
equally. Socialism is therefore based on cooperation rather than competition.
Socialist believe that by creating an economic plan, farmers, manufacturers,
workers, and government officials can properly adjust the production of goods to
meet the needs of the people. Some socialist believe that government should go
so far as to pay for education and Medicare. It is disagreement among
socialists that has made for a wide spectrum of ideas, possibly making it more
difficult for socialism to exist.