Communism is a political ideology stemming from the works of Karl Marx.
Marxist Outlook on History
A core element of the Communist ideology is a linear outlook of history based upon the struggle of different socio-economic classes as society evolves.
- Primitive tribal societies in which there is too little of value for classes to actually develop.
- Feudal societies in which property is controlled by nobles who rule over established classes of merchants, artisans, and uneducated peasants.
- Capitalist societies in which the relationship has differentiated into wealthy owners of industry and the poor masses, known as the proletariat.
- Socialist societies, in which all the means of production are owned by the state.
- Communist societies in which all property is held in common for the good of all.
According to Marxist ideology, societies will move towards a state in which a few vast, monopolistic corporations run society, and the majority of the population exist as increasingly poor workers. Eventually, this inequality leads to a revolution in which the owners of business are overthrown. After the revolution, capital and investment are abolished and industry is nationalized and run democratically via workers' councils. Eventually this society evolves into a stateless, classless society in which everyone works towards the common good.
Communism in Practice
Various states have been founded by adherents to Marx's communist ideology, but the stateless, classless communistic society that Marx envisioned has never developed. The Communist states that emerged did abolish capital and investment (reducing money to a means of quantifying work in exchange for material goods) and engaged in massive nationalization of their nations' industries. However, these nations were not democratic and were for the most part, dictatorial regimes. Furthermore, industry in these states typically had very low productivity compared to capitalist states.
Criticism of Communism
Most criticisms of communism are based around the tyrannical nature of historical communist states and the shortcomings of centrally regulated command economies in comparison to various market-based economic systems. Sometimes the economic policies of communist states have had disastrous consequences, resulting in major loss of human life, such as the Great Leap Forward and the human toll of Stalinist industrialization.
In regards to bad debating
In some circles, terms like communism, communist, and communistic are used to attack any policy that involves using the state sector or is perceived as left wing, even when the policy has nothing to do with economics.
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
- People's Republic of China
- United Federation of Planets
- Stas Bush
- Libertarianism for a contrasting unworkable philosophy, occasionally nicknamed the "Communism of the Right".