Thematic Comparisons of Socialism Traditions

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Thematic Comparison of Socialist Forms
Theme Marxism/Revolutionary Socialism Democratic Socialism Social Democracy
Capitalism Completely dismantled, replaced by Severely modified; ownership of means of Enterprise mostly private, large-scale
full-scale common ownership production shared between state and private industry regulated but not run by state;
enterprise limited stat ownership
Equality Absolute economic equality; rewards High degree of equality should exist, but Inequality is natural result of free markets,
based on need, not contribution rewards to be distributed on basis of value of however a minimum standard of living should
one's contribution be guaranteed
The State Worker's state; all production and State to be democratic, largely pluralist' Pluralist, liberal democracy; state should not
distribution under state control; large-scale productions state run organise production and distribution, should
Marxists aim to create conditions where regulate it to some extent in national interest
state can wither away
Freedom Collective freedom created through Individual liberty preserved as long as it Individual liberty and individualism are
equality doesn't conflict with socialist objectives preserved
Social class Society understood in terms of class Adopts class analysis of socialism; socialist Don't analyse society in terms of class;
and class interest; revolutionary order aim to reduce class conflict but balance society is pluralist class reduced importance;
socialists seek a state organised power in favour of working class state to be inclusive
exclusively in interest of working class;
Marxists seek ultimately classless
Collectivism All important economic and social Largely collectivist outlook. Individualism can Individuals prefer to pursue own goals;
activities to be collective flourish alongside important collectivist collectivism largely limited to welfare state
institutions and other public services


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