Difference Between Socialism and Communism

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Difference Between Socialism & Communism

While it is true that the theoretical and ideological origin of the socialist and communist tendencies is common, there is a significant difference between socialism and communism from the economic, political and sociological point of view.

Communism is commonly understood to be the last phase of socialist theory. Over the years and the appearance of new socio-political and economic models, both ideological tendencies have diverged. Mostly thanks to new mixed perspectives and coexistence with the capitalist and free market model.

Difference Between Communism and Socialism
Difference Between Communism and Socialism

The main differences between socialism and communism in terms of economic systems will reside especially in the way in which aspects such as government control of economic activity and ownership of production factors, the higher level of free competition in their markets and the state regulation in social matters.

In this sense, it is often considered that although a communist model is stricter from the governmental point of view, countries with socialist models have evolved to a greater or lesser extent towards social democratic models. Models, in this sense, more adapted to free trade or the existence of greater defense of private property and less role and influence of the State.

Differences Between Socialism and Communism

There are a number of points at which these theories show points of distinction and which define them:

  • The Role of the State: First, socialism assumes that institutional power must govern the economic and political system of a country and regulate the coexistence of the private sector. For its part, communism establishes that only the State should have control of the means of production as a way to achieve economic growth.
  • The Class Struggle: While socialism understands that coexistence between them must be regulated, communism establishes that their elimination is necessary, leading every individual into an egalitarian society (proletarian class) and state.
  • Private PropertySocialism assumes that the property of production factors can fall into private hands and not only in the State, despite the fact that the objective of the national economy must pursue an equal and social control of state resources. To do this, public ownership of key areas such as health, infrastructure, education or energy is sought. Communism, on the other hand, establishes a total state control of them as a way to achieve social equality.
  • Relationship with Capitalism: While socialism has been adapting towards mixed models or coexistence in environments of free competition, communism firmly opposes capitalist models and advocates their elimination in nations.
  • Democratic Degree: In socialist countries different political parties of different tendencies coexist and there is a higher level of democracy, while in communists there is a single managing party and mandatory subscription.
  • Level of Bureaucracy: In states with a socialist model there is a higher level of social discussion and participation of institutions in matters such as health or education. On the contrary, in communism there is no place for political life and every decision is made by the state apparatus and driven by force.
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