Communism and Socialism are two economic philosophies that are focused on the treatment and equality of all members of a society. Often, these terms are used interchangeably, as Communism stems from socialist ideals. They both believe in conquering capitalistic oppression and in collective control of economic issues. However, there are very important differences between them. The difference lies in how to fight the oppression and in how much control is necessary to realize the goal.
Communism and Socialism both believe that Capitalism oppresses the common people and results in a monopoly of property, wealth and privilege. Both philosophies believe a new collective focus on society should replace the selfish drive of Capitalism. However, Socialists see change coming through a gradual adjustment brought on by social change. Communists believe that the people should rise up against the oppressors and demand a total renovation of the economic and political systems that are holding down the people. They maintain that Socialism is merely the first step in moving from a capitalistic to communistic society. Once the socialistic changes take hold and the common people are strengthened, they will realize total equality necessitates more control.
The level of control for each of these philosophies varies. Socialism, being more economically driven, believes in government, or collective, control and administration of all means of production and distribution of goods. Private property that results in monopolies, excessive wealth, and unfair poverty should be abolished. These changes will bring about balance and cooperation. Communism believes it is the government’s responsibility to eradicate the upper class. This can only be accomplished by complete government control of everything. Communism, unlike Socialism, believes there should be no private property at all and no rights to inheritance. They also call for government control of all communication, transportation, factories, agriculture, labor and education. This extreme authority and regulation of all areas of society, they pronounce, will guarantee protection from injustice. Both Socialism and Communism are based on strong ideals, but often fail to have strong results. Their plans for fairness and plenty for all people have not always bore fruit.
Economically, both socialism and communism have struggled. The capitalistic system of a competitive free market they fight against fails to be replaced by a strong, efficient economic plan. The energy spent controlling every aspect of the economy slows down the process. Communism, in particular, has historically failed because of the weight of the control. The government involvement in every detail results in a slow, cumbersome machine that fails to meet the needs of the people. Inaccurate calculations of needs often result in extreme shortages. Demands for unrealistic quotas lead to low quality production. The inaccuracy of supply and demand, combined with low quality products weakens the economic position of these countries, both globally and at home. The slow, poorly planned economic structure of both Socialism and Communism fail to meet the needs of the people. This shows the breakdown between the their ideals and their actual accomplishments.
Socialism and Communism are equally focused on protecting the common man. The methods they both use to end the oppression and increase equality are what seem to keep them from successfully realizing the ideal. The extreme level of control instituted in communistic governments is intended to offer more to the impoverished and oppressed. However, this institution has evolved into a lumbering machine that continues to burden their citizens with need and imbalance. Although they take different directions in achieving fairness and equality, both Socialism and Communism seem to simply replace the evil of Capitalism with their own failures.