Socialism and Communism grow apartby Rit Nosotro
Comparative Essay or Change Over Time essay
How did Socialism and Communism grow apart when they were once used interchangably?
Although the terms socialism and communism were once used interchangeably, these systems have evolved over time to represent two completely different forms of government. Communist and socialist political parties are now bitter enemies in some parts of the world. Communism and socialism were both established to crush the uprising of capitalism in the 1800's. The founders of both forms of government believed that land, factories, and other economic resources should be government owned instead of privately owned. However, communists and socialists began to disagree on many points and they eventually evolved into completely separate ideologies.
One of the main reasons that communism and socialism are closely related is because Karl Marx, a German philosopher in the 1800's, played a large part in developing both forms of government. Marx was born in 1818 in what is now Prussia. In 1835 he attended the University of Bonn to study law, but later decided to study philosophy at the University of Berlin. There he developed radical philosophic ideas which opposed Prussian government. Although Marx's focus and interests changed dramatically throughout his forty years of writing, his basic ideas and philosophy remained constant. He believed that capitalism was an ineffective form of government in which wealth is not distributed fairly or properly. He believed that the working class would eventually overthrow the ruling class and that the working class would then set up a socialist form of government in which the government, not individuals, owned the means of production. Marx believed that this form of government would result in complete freedom with social and economic equality for all people. Marx wrote this philosophy in a short but profound pamphlet called the Communist Manifesto.
However, even though Marx's beliefs are now considered to be socialistic rather than communist, many people consider Marx the father of communism. Communism was developed from the writings of Marx and Vladimir Lenin, a Russian revolutionary leader during the early 1900's. Communism and socialism were very similar until a group of socialists called democratic socialists began to reject the principles of communism. The democratic socialists did not agree with the way the communists used violence and revolution to gain control. Communists began to aim more at government power, while socialists concentrated on fair distribution of products and equality for all classes. Communists thought that all means of production or any material necessary for life should be controlled by the government while socialists left some control in the private sector.
Today both forms of government embody unhealthy extremes. Socialists are now in favor of free education, welfare, and laws to help those who they believe are unable to help themselves. They do not necessarily believe that people should have to work to eat (as instructed in 2 Thess. 3:10), and they want the government to be in charge of the distribution of wealth. While there is a socialist party in almost every country today, nowhere is there a completely socialistic government. This is because socialism is unrealistic and almost impossible to achieve. Socialists try to eliminate certain human attributes such as greed by ending class struggle, and competition for success. Because of the way God made us, it is virtually impossible to have a civilization where people have no control over what they have but are content to let the government hand them what is considered to be fair. Ever since President FD Roosevelt's "New Deal", we see evidence of the United States moving toward a socialistic framework through the focus on free health insurance, minorities, welfare, and political correctness.
In contrast, communism has dominated many countries during the last century. The former Soviet Union was dominated by communism and was a world power until the Cold War ended in 1991 and communism fell causing the Soviet Union to break into the fifteen separate countries as they exist today. As of 2004, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea are under communist rule. Communism today in these countries goes far beyond the equal distribution of wealth. It prevents citizens from having their own religious and moral convictions, and it employs violence to enforce the government's mandates.
Both socialism and communism as they exist today have proved to be ineffective forms of government. Socialists try to achieve for society something that is impossible because of human nature: a utopian society where wealth is not attained by hard work but distributed equally by the government. Communism today is completely different from what it was established to accomplish. Instead of the government working for the good of the people, dictatorships have established fear in their subjects and allowed no personal freedom of thought or actions. These two forms of government are just a few examples of the inadequacy of humans to govern by their own principles. Any form of government that is not based on God's word will not succeed for any length of time. So the struggle for a balanced, well-governed society continues into the twenty-first century.
1. Why were communism and socialism founded?
a. To make the government more powerful.
b. To crush the uprising of capitalism.
c. Because the people were poor.
d. To make a world-wide currency.
2. What was the name of the pamphlet that Karl Marx recorded his ideas in?
a. Government and Economics
c. the Communist Manifesto
d. Pilgrim's Progress
3. Who were the two founders of communism?
a. Confucius and Aristotle
b. Plato and Aristotle
c. Marx and Stalin
d. Marx and Lenin
4. All of the following are communist countries today EXCEPT:
Meyer, Alfred G. "Socialism". World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.
Urban, Joan Barth. "Communism". World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.
Meyer, Alfred. G. "Marx, Karl". World Book Encyclopedia.
AmIAnnoying.com. <http://www.amiannoying.com/(gyb3equy2h4qty45k2numb45)/ collection.aspx?collection=1658> "Communist Countries in 2000". 23 October, 2003.
The Cold War Museum. <http://www.coldwar.org/articles/90s/fall_of_the_soviet _union.php3> "Fall of the Soviet Union". 23 October, 2003.
Socialist Party. <http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/News2Frame.htm? socialistcountries.htm> "Socialist Countries." 23 October, 2003.
NationMaster.com <http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Soviet-Union> "Encyclopedia: Soviet Union". October 22, 2003.
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