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Compare and Contrast Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism

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Compare and Contrast Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism

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  • November 22, 2010
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What is communism? Communism is a term used broadly to designate a ‘theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.’ It refers to the doctrine which underlines the revolutionary movement which aims to abolish capitalism and ultimately to establish a society in which all goods will be socially owned, all economic activates socially planned and controlled, and in which all distributions will be in accordance with the maxim. German author Emil Ludwig described the maxim as “for each according to his capacity, to each according to his need.”(1) It is to be distinguished from socialism which aims by constitutional and democratic methods to nationalize gradually only the essential means of production and to organize distribution on the basis of a just reward to each person for the amount and quality of his or her work.

In its early forms the term “communism” first came into use in France, after 1840; the general idea being that private property is the source of all social ills which can be cured only by a community of goods and interest. In the Greco- Roman world, Plato expounded the idea in his book The Republic in the 4th century and to stoics implied it in their doctrine of natural right or as they called it “jus natural” which means according to which natured created all men free and equal and private property was unknown to the original state of nature. (2) According to Karl Marx, this is the final stage towards development of egalitarian society. Here all the resources are state-owned and it determines its distribution based on the needs in an effort to bring about equality. Communism is conservative. Fewer and fewer people have any say in how the economy works. By using state coercion to fulfill unmet demands, it restricts individual freedom. Communism necessarily takes the form of totalitarianism or the tyranny of all over one since it’s up to...