What is socialism?
Socialism is an economic theory of social organization that believes that the means of making, moving, and trading wealth should be owned or controlled by the community as a whole. In Marxist theory, it is a transitional (temporary, in between) social state between capitalism and communism.
It is based on left wing economic values where people who are rich would be taxed more to support those who aren’t as well off such as sick and vulnerable people.
Egalitarianism is an important part of socialism. This is a belief that everyone is equal and should therefore be treated as such in the society they live in.
In a socialist society, the government – often referred to as the state – plays a large role in providing services and controlling industries. Any profits that are made in doing so are then pumped back into the country so they benefit everyone rather than just a few. This is what is known as nationalisation.
An example of nationalisation in the UK is the National Health Service (NHS), which was set up by a socialist Labour government in 1948 to provide free healthcare for everyone in the country.
When the state plays a big role in providing services and controlling industries, this is sometimes referred to as ‘big government’.
There is a strong emphasis on co-operation in a socialist society. The idea is that people work together for everyone’s benefit. This is unlike capitalism, which claims competition is more beneficial to society.
Critics of socialism say it is unfair on wealthy people who should not have to pay so much tax.