Socialism revision cards

A2 Government and Politics revision cards

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  • Created on: 09-05-12 11:54

Introduction to socialism

- Opposition to capitalism - wants something more humane and socially worthwhile

- Humans are social creatures united by common humanity

- A person's identity is formed by social interaction and being members of social groups

- Prefer co-operation to competition

- Central theme is equality, esp. social equality

- Believe social equality guarantees social stability and cohesion and promotes freedom

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Origins and development of Socialism

- 19th cent. - reaction to the social and economic conditions that happened in Europe because of the growth in industrial capitalism

- Industrial workers suffered poverty and degration because of industrialisation - long hours, low pay, bad working conditions

- Socialism and liberalism both believe in reason and progress

- Socialism wanted an alternative to industrial capitalism - early socialists wanted a radical/revoltionary alternative

- Engels said a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism was inevitable

- Socialism changed in the late 19th cent. because of improvements in WC living conditions & advance of political democracy

- 20th cent. - Socialist ideas spread to African, Asian & Latin Amberican countries because of anticolonial struggle

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- Human beings are social creatures

- Humans are willing to work together instead of just for themselves and are stronger this way

- Humanns are ties to each other by fraternity - common humanity

- Human nature is plastic, moulded by experiences and circumstances - nurture

- All human skills and attributes are learnt from society

- Individual is inseperable from society - Multiculturalism

- Want a society where people can achieve emancipation and fulfilment 

- Pre-industrial societies emphasise the importance of social life and community

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- Human beings are social animals, they co-operate with each other

- Competition creates selfishness and agression

- Co-operation makes moral and economic sense

- People who work together gain sympathy, caring and affection

- Community is more powerful than the individual

- Kropotkin: human race had survives because of its capacity for mutual aid

- Humans are motivated by moral incentives - desire to contribute to the common good. They feel responsibility for fellow humans

- 'The Co-operative'

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- Social equality = justice and fairness

- Reluctant to explain wealth inequality as caused by different abilities b/w people

- Inequality is because of society's unequal structure

- Do not think people are born identical with same skills etc.

- Most significant forms of human equality are because of unequal treatment by society rather than being born different

- People should be treated equally in terms of rewards and material circs.

- If people live in equal circumstances they are more likely to identify with each other and work together for the common good

- Social inequality leads to conflict and instability

- Equality of opportunity breeds a 'survival of the fittest' mentality

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Equality (2)

- Support social equality because need - satisfaction is the basis for human fulfilment and self - realisation

- Satsfying basic needs e.g. food, water, shelter makes people free

- Marxists and communists believe in absolute social equality resulting from abolition of private property and collectivisation of productive wealth

- Social democrats believe in relative social equality achieved through wealth distribution through welfare and progressive taxation

- Social democrats want to tame capitalism rather than abolish it

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Class politics

- Social class is the deepest and most significant social division

- Human beings tend to think and act together with people they share common economic positions and interests with

- Social classes are the principle actors in society

- Expresses the interests of the working class

- Marxist link class to economic power - conflict between proletariat and bourgeosie

- Socialism wants to narrow the gap between MC and WC through economic and social intervention

- Social democrats believe in social amelioration and class harmony

- Link b/w socialism and class politics has declined since the mid 20th cent. because of declining levels of class solidarity and shrinking traditional WC

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Common ownership

- Often trace competition and inequality back to private property

- Liberalism and conservatism both see owning property as natural and right

- Socialists think property is unjust because wealth is produced collectively and should be collectively owned

- Property breeds acquisitiveness so is morally corrupting

- Private property encourages people to be materialistic

- Property creates conflict in society - should be replaced with common ownership 

- Fundamental socialists wanted to abolish private property and have a classless, communist society

- Social democrats want a society where wealth is collectively owned

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Revolutionary socialism

- Early socialists thought the only way of introducing socialism was by overthrowing the political system - violence would come with this

- Marx & Engels envisaged a proletariat revolution

- First successful socialist revolution was in 1917 - Bolshevik Revolution in Russia

- Revolutionary tactics attracted socialists in the 19th century because early industrialization produced stark injustice - poverty & unemployment for the working masses. WC had few alternative ways of being politically influential

- Liberals think the state is neutral, acts in the interests of citizens & contributes to the common good. Rev. socialists think the state is an agent of class oppression

- Marxists think political power reflects class interests - state is a bourgeois state

- 2nd half of 20th century - faith in revolution most evident in developing world socialists

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