Socialism | Definition | Characteristics | Advantages & Disadvantages

Socialism is an economic cum political system which aims at the collective organization of the community in the interest of the people through the public ownership and control of means of production, distribution and exchange.

In other word, it is an economic, political or philosophical theory which states that land, transport, industries, natural resources, production, distribution and exchange should be commonly owned, managed and controlled by the state or public bodies. It also encourages the equal distribution of wealth.

Socialism was introduced in the bid to discourage capitalist exploitation where the National and Comprador Bourgeoisies control the means of production to the detriment of the proletariats.

It is a system of government or economic system where the commanding heights of an economy, is being controlled by the state unlike what is obtained in capitalist society. This ideology was first introduced by Karl Marx.

Characteristics of Socialism

  • Public ownership and control of means of production, all socialist governments work towards state ownership of property.
  • Socialist governments adopt central planning economy which helps in the control of commodities and services.
  • It maintains that wealth should be equally and equitably shared or distributed.
  • Another feature of socialism is the abolition of right of inheritance.
  • Socialism encourages a heavy encourages a heavy graduated in-come tax.


  • Socialism encourages free education for children in the public schools.
  • It promotes free medical treatment.In socialism, governments control the means of production which help to encourage the government to work for the interest of all.
  • Socialism help to promote job employment, since the state is duty bound to provide employment for the people.
  • It abolishes child labour which is encouraged in any capitalist state or society.


  • Socialism encourages a heavy in-come tax.
  • It discourages or prevents individuals from inheriting the legacies of their fore-fathers or ancestors.
  • Combination of education and industrial production hampers educational development.
  • It leads to confiscation of all properties.
  • Centralization of means of communication and transportation in the hand of the state discourages individual ownership of transportation and communication.

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