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Socialism is a controversial term that has
different meanings to different people.
Socialism is an economic philosophy that
stresses public ownership of the means of
production rather than private ownership.
Underlying this philosophy is the belief that
this system is morally better because it
reduces the gap between the rich and poor.
This more equitable distribution of the wealth
should result in a better society for all.
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Socialism can be divided into the
Utopian socialism
Revolutionary socialism or Communism

Evolutionary socialism or democratic

However one defines socialism, it is a
philosophy that sprang up as a reaction
to the abuses of the Industrial
The advances, both scientific and
technological, during the Industrial
Revolution led people to believe that
the problems of poverty, starvation, and
suffering could be solved.
John Stuart Mill observed, although the
problems or production had been
solved, those of distribution had not.
motivation of self-interest and
competition did not always benefit society.
It became obvious to some that when
individuals were freed from all control
and regulation, abuses did occur.
The factory system during the (ind rev)
led to many abuses, such as low pay,
long hours of work, and hazardous
working conditions.
Utopian Socialism
The Enlightenment was a movement that grew out of
a concern for people and their environment.
Followers of the Enlightenment believed that a
perfect person could be created if one could create
the perfect environment.
Thus ideal political, economic, and social institutions
were needed to create perfect people. (Utopian
When the French Revolution did not achieve all the
goals that some people felt it should have, there was
a call for radical change.
A number of French Intellectuals examined the
possibilities of creating perfect people
Emil Babeuf: proposed the nationalization of
business, provision of adequate food and clothing for
the people, and the raising of children in communes.
Comte Henri de Saint Simon: saw a society ran by
economic experts. Public ownership would be
stressed and individuals would work according to
their abilities and be rewarded based on that service
Charles Fourier: suggested a society centered around
cooperative economic communities. According to his
theory, several hundred people would live in
communal housing and work the surrounding land.
Louis Blanc: tried to achieve his utopia be reforming
the existing political and economic systems of his
time. Blancs society would be centered on what he
called social workshops. It was Blanc who first used
the statement from each according to his ability, to
each according to his need.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon: often called the father of
Anarchism, advocated the abolition of all formal
institutions and the organization of society cased on
cooperative effort without formal government.
Robert Owen: After purchasing part ownership of a
cotton mill, Owen made sweeping reforms in the
nearby village. Owen established standards of
sanitation, housing, and education in order to create
a more acceptable environment.
Revolutionary Socialism
Karl Marx rejected Utopian Socialism in
favor of what he called Scientific
Marx felt that there would be not hope
for the workers unless capitalism was
overthrown through revolution.
Marx was born in Germany in 1818 into a large and
prosperous family.
In 1835 he entered university to study law.
Upon completing his degree, Marx abandoned his
career in favor of journalism.
Marx became the editor of a radical newspaper in
After moving to Paris, Marx met and became friends
with a young German economist Friedrich Engels.
It was in Paris that the two became actively involved
in the socialism movement.
In 1848, at the request of the Communist League,
the two went to London to present a paper outlining
the aims of the the League.
The Communist Manifesto lit a revolutionary
fire that was to fuel the development of
revolutionary socialism (Communism)
Marx lived his remaining years in London,
often in poverty and failing health.
Marx continued to write, completing the first
volume of Das Kapital and contributing to the
subsequent two volumes.
Marx died in 1883.