Communism vs Socialism

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Communism vs Socialism

Communism and socialism are two different concepts, which are quite similar, but have certain differences. The following article discusses communism vs socialism.

Socialism came into existence before communism, and was a worker dominated economic phase. Communism was the advanced stage of socialism. Before knowing about the two concepts in depth, let us define socialism vs communism.

Socialism vs Communism Definition
Socialism is defined as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." Whereas, communism is defined as "a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy, and a single, often authoritarian party, holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people."

Socialism was an economic phase where everyone benefited from industrialization, and the number of workers was more than the number of traders. Being the majority, more power was vested in the hands of the workers. Socialism was only an economic system and not a political system. Socialism was more advanced and liberal, where everyone could contribute in the working of the economy. Socialism gave rise to the communism stage.

Karl Marx is known as the 'Father of Communism'. He wrote a very popular book in 1847, named 'Communist Manifesto', read by millions of people around the world. The people who follow his ideology are known as 'Marxists'. Karl Marx and his friend Frederick Engels analyzed the various economies of the world, the working of power, finance and the industrial sectors of the economies. They researched the development of various economies and the reasons for it, and developed the concept of communism based on their findings. Communism refers to the banishment of all the differences from the society, and people sharing all the things equally with equal status. There shouldn't be any kind of exploitation or social inequality like women being dominated by men, racial discrimination and backward ideology. Communist society is supposed to provide equal status to everyone with the opportunity to use the resources equitably. Communism also means an extensive outlook for the betterment of society. The symbol of communism is the hammer and the chisel, wherein the hammer represents the workers and the chisel represents the farmers or the peasants. Read some Karl Marx quotes.

Let us see the different stages of economies and their development.

Primitive Communism
The word primitive means 'not very advanced'. There was not much progress during this stage of the economy. Primitive communism was a period when people used to live in small groups or tribes. They used to share everything with others like food, clothes and jobs. There was no such thing as ownership existing in that era. Then a group came into force and took charge, leading to feudalism.

Feudalism is the advanced stage of primitive communism. Under feudalism, the economy was ruled by a chief or a king. The people were convinced that God had chosen the ruler for them, and the king was helped by the churches as well. The common people were kept illiterate and ignorant about their rights, while the 'nobles' who helped the king rule were given land and other benefits. Increase in trade made some people more wealthy leading to capitalism. Read about feudalism in Europe: feudal pyramid.

Capitalism refers to the era in which all the power was concentrated in the hands of business owners or traders. The workers were treated badly and exploited. The traders worked only in their interests. It was a period where the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. This led to the formation of trade unions by the workers, leading to socialism. More on pros and cons of capitalism.

In the socialist economy, the workers took over the production and the economy. They produced things for everyone, and profit was not the primary objective of this period. All the people benefited in this era, and availed education and health benefits. This stage then later advanced to communism.

Communism was a stage in which all people shared things with each other. Profit and money was not the main aim of this period. There was sharing and all things were in abundance, and therefore there was no need of an army or the police. The capitalists who were still there tried to create a fight but it was of no use. At last the people won and lived their lives to the fullest.

Communism vs Socialism
Now that we have studied what is socialism and communism, and how the two came into being, let us look at some differences between them. It is not easy to recognize the differences between socialism and communism. However, there are a few things which can be easily distinguished between the two. Socialism is only related to an economic system, while communism is related to an economic and political system. Socialism states that distribution of goods and services should take place according to the individuals production efforts, whereas according to communism, the distribution should take place according to the individuals need. In socialism, people believe that capitalism can exist in the economy, and that it is possible that socialism exists in a capitalist economy. On the other hand, communism aims at making a classless society without capitalism and private ownership. In socialism, many people can control the economy, whereas in capitalism the number of people in actual control are reduced.

National socialism is a political word which is a little unclear. It consists of the features of both nationalism and socialism. It mainly refers to 'Nazism', which was an ideology followed during the rule of Adolf Hitler. The concept of national socialism opposes communism and capitalism. Whereas, democratic socialism means a democratic economy which undertakes production for the benefits of everyone, rather than concentrating the profits in the hands of a few people.

Communism vs Socialism Chart



Communism is related to both the economic and political system.

Socialism only refers to the economic system.

Distribution of goods and services takes place according to the individuals needs.

Distribution of goods and services takes place according to the individuals efforts.

Capitalism cannot exist in a communist economy.

Capitalism can exist in a socialist economy

Communist economy does not require many people to control the economy.

Many people can control the economy in the socialist society.

In the communist economy, the power is concentrated in the hands of the people centrally.

In the socialist economy, the power is mainly in the hands of the workers.

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