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What is Socialism: Definition and Types

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What is Socialism: Definition and Types
10 Jul 2020

About 200 years ago, when industry was revolutionized and new inventions and developments were made, it brought a drastic change in the economic and political world. People who owned the industries or who were wealthy started to become wealthier day by day whereas the workers and poor started getting poorer day by day. That was the time, when a new concept, “Socialism” was emerged and as the name itself suggests, it aimed at achieving equality for all of the society. This concept advocated the distribution of means of production among everyone and talked about an egalitarian society.

Definition- Socialism may be considered as a political philosophy which says that all people in a society share equal status and they shall be given equitable ownership of the means of production in the state. It is an ideology preferring shared ownership of resources over individual ownership and it believes in the collective development of society.

Types of Socialism- Socialism has been given dozens of names over the past few years, however only few of them remain to be remarkable-

  • Utopian Socialism- This was the kind of Socialism that was presented before any other type of Socialism in front of the world. This type is based on a presumption that if the wealthiest agree to renounce their wealth to distribute among the poor, world will achieve the best version of Socialism. However, this is not practically possible to achieve, therefore it is coined as Utopian Socialism.
  • Democratic Socialism- Democratic Socialism believes that the socialism must be achieved democratically. In simple words, it states that the means of production and economical resources should be managed by the government elected by people.
  • Market socialism- This socialism advocates that the means of production must be managed by market forces instead of the government and their allocation must be done among the market itself.
  • Revolutionary socialism- It says that Socialism can only be achieved after revolution. This socialism refuses to believe that equality can be achieved peacefully.
  • Green Socialism- This kind of Socialism strives to protect green resources and advocates preservation of natural resources.

Advantages of Socialism- Socialism tends to benefit society in a very vast perspective. Major advantages are listed below-

  1. A Society Free of Exploitation- When we talk about Socialism, we talk about distribution of resources among the society. The system of Socialism ensures that no one in the society is exploited and everyone gets a chance to speak in the economical matters. Everyone who has the portion of resources, benefits from it, therefore it helps in creating a welfare society.
  2. Economic Growth- Socialism helps in rapid economic growth and economic stability in the country. The concept is to give collective growth to everyone in the society so that no one remains untouched of the wealth. Socialists divide the resources among everyone; it helps to bring stability in the economy.
  3. Trustworthy- This kind of economical and political system is trustworthy because everyone participates in the decision making and it has a transparency. People tend to believe that they are getting equal say in the matters of importance and they feel motivated.

Disadvantages of Socialism- Every coin has two sides; similarly, Socialism also has some advantages with some disadvantages.

  1. No Economic Freedom- The idea of Socialism depends upon a cooperative pooling of resources by many people. Now, the fact remains that people in a society feel competitiveness in respect to others; therefore, sometimes it is different for those people to show cooperativeness.
  2. Lack of Recognition- When a society achieves something collectively, the credit goes to everyone collectively. The people, who contribute more than others are not given their due amount of recognition which somehow demotivates those people.
  3. Lack of Authenticity- Socialism, as told before, distributes the resources among everyone. But sometimes, there are people who have negative intentions or there are people who are not so authentic in their functions, it strives lack of authenticity.

Socialism in India

In India, after Independence the makers of the constitution choose a socialist society model over the capitalist society model. Because India had recently gained independence from the capitalist colonialism. Also, India was extremely poverty ridden. Thus, for the welfare of the masses, the socialism was chosen.

The Constitution of India included the Directive Principles of State Policy to show the direction in which to governments to come had to work. It pointed towards the welfare socialism.

However, due to license raj and depleting forex reserves, the policy of socialism could not survive for long. And in 1991, the policy of Liberalisation Globalisation and Privatisation was adopted.

Since then, Indian government has adopted a mix of socialism and capitalism. For example, there are government hospitals but there are private hospitals as well. Both work in tandem.


Socialism came in response to the bad repercussions of the capitalism. However, in modern times, it is seen that countries that adopted socialism faced stagnation in economy some years later. Thus, there is no single remedy for the complex nature of the society. Instead, the governments should make use of every possible theory for the welfare of the masses, especially the poorest of poor.