Socialism core ideas

  • Created by: edie999
  • Created on: 09-02-22 13:09


  • people are unified by the concept of community whcich can be used to overcome any difficulties (economic or social).
  • a group is more powerful than individuals so we should follow group goals not self-interest.
  • fraternity = humans are bound together by common interests and inclinations

''No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.'' 

  • human nature is not formed at birth but is flexible and is shaped by their environment and experiences.
  • people are inseperable from society as it creates all aspects of their identity.
  • people are not self-sufficient.
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Common humanity

  • people have a natural relationship that should be based on co-operation not competition.
  • competition leads to conflict (agression and selfishness).
  • the human race thrives on 'mutual aid' - helping others, knowing they will return the favour.
  • positive view of human nature - people are inclined towards sociable cooperation.
  • this cooperation is rewarding on a deeper, moral level unlike competition which provides only material rewards.
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= equality of opportunity, legal equality, social equality, equality of outcome.

  • upholds the ideas of justice and fairness that aren't compatible with competition. 
  • capitalism is responsible for the inequalities in society.
  • people are not equal in skills but they all have a role in society so should get equal rewards.
  • if people identify with each other they will be more likely to work as a team. 
  • people should be treated according to what they need not what they want.

MARX = ''from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs''.

Different socialist disagree on the extent of equality:

  • Marxists/ communists = total equality - abolish private property, total wealth redistribution, common ownership.
  • Social democrats = equality of opportunity - progressive taxation, welfare, limit capitalism.
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Social class

  • class is the most important social division for understanding politics. 
  • capitalism means people only bond with those in their class, not the whole of society. 
  • people act in the interest of their class which creates division.

Different socialists have different interpretations of class:

  • Marxists = class is a division between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, this conflict will end in a revolution and a communist society.
  • Social Democrats = the differences in opportunity and wealth between the middle and working classes must be reduced for the good of society.
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Workers' control

= workers owning part or the whole of the business/ factory they work in or, in a wider sense, workers' control of the state through direct decision-making powers or through trade-unions. 

  • workers are the most important part of production so they should have some control over it. 
  • avoids alienation. 
  • critics argue that this would reduce effectiveness as workers may not have the same levels of knowledge.
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Human nature:

  • human progress and development is natural
  • human nature shaped by events and experiences
  • cooperative social life is the natural condition so social interacton is normal


  • revolutionary = capitalist state is an instrument of oppression supporting the ruling class
  • evolutionary = capitalist state has the potential to intervene and create a better society


  • needs of a group should be put before those of an individual
  • society is currently unfair and unequal (radical/ evolutionary change)


  • wealth should be shared more equally 
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