How are communism and socialism different from capitalism?

The conversation was heated.  It was a dinner table conversation that turned to politics.  They say political conversations never makes for good company, but we all agreed to go there anyway.

Capitalism versus communism

My viewpoints and arguments support a democratic capitalist society.  However, not everyone shared my viewpoint at the dinner table.   As a matter of fact, when I asked one of my follow dinner mates “what political system do you prefer?” the answer was communism.    I will freely admit that I didn’t like that answer.

I’m a business owner.  My business is helping other businesses make more money.  For me, the idea of communism or socialism is appalling.   However, I found myself asking the basic question:

“How are Communism and Socialism different from Capitalism?”

Capitalism defined

  •  private ownership
  •  competitive markets
  •  value is an agreement between two parties
  •  you have the freedom to say “yes, no, let’s negotiate”
  •  a “class system” is naturally defined

The world of capitalism is one where people are rewarded for things of value.    What is of value, is determined by the marketplace.   This doesn’t provide for a guaranteed source of income. However, it does provide the motivation for an economy to grow, and for a group of people to create.

Capitalism is the driving force for and growth and invention.

 Communism defined

  •  “common” ownership
  •  government controlled markets, if any markets
  •  no class distinction
  •  goods, support, and services are given by “need”

 Socialism defined

  •  “social” ownership
  • government controlled markets, if any markets
  • no class distinction
  •  value is determined by a standard “labor hour”

Communism and socialism are close cousins. In my attempt to determine the difference, I concluded they are essentially the same. The primary difference is in the name. I’m convinced the names are different, because Communism is not a popular word in America.

Question:  Would you give up your right for ownership and the potential for economic gain for a guaranteed set of living conditions?

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