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View Diary: Is "Socialism" losing its sting as a buzzword? (33 comments)

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  •  Communists, communists, and socialists (8+ / 0-)

    The words are different.  But Americans have been confused.

    Communist with a small c refers to Marx's political philosophy, in which the means of production, land, etc., are primarily held by the government.  There would still be some democracy in the government, even more than there was in 1840s England, where Marx lived (and only a minority of male adults could vote).  It was a utopian vision of sorts, "to each according", etc., and sounded good to a lot of people at the time.  But it never ruled anywhere.

    Communist with a capital C refers to political parties that controlled the Soviet bloc, and China, in the 20th century. This was "Marxist/Leninist" in name, and was fundamentally totalitarian.  It featured central planning of the economy and a general disavowal of market functions (matching supply and demand).  This was a failure.

    Socialism is a looser term referring to a system wherein the government invests in the means of production, as well as in social benefit, but not to the exclusion of private enterprise.  It is totally compatible with democracy, and dominated western (pro-US) Europe in the latter 20th century.

    Big-C Communist countries tend to call themselves "socialist".  Hence the USSR.  Hayek himself had a point that the Soviet economic system didn't work, and did lead to a form of serfdom, but he was accepting the Soviet's self-given label of "Socialist" as if it were accurate, when the party name "Communist" was really the right label.  Socialists like Mitterand and Hollande in France were/are not tyrants!

    •  that "marxist-leninist" totalitarian state (1+ / 0-)
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      is wrongly labeled

      the reference is to stalin's totalitarian state which was a corruption of the initial revolutionary govt run by lenin and trotsky

      when lenin died, stalin took over, and that's when it went to hell

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