The term socialism refers to any system in which the production and distribution of goods and services is a shared responsibility of a group of people. Socialism is based upon economic and political theories that advocate for collectivism. In a state of socialism, there is no privately owned property.
In theories developed by Karl Marx, socialism is the transitional period between capitalism and communism.
Socialism can exist within countries as an overall economic system or within factions thereof such as corporations, healthcare, public education, and education.
Countries cannot be wholly defined as socialist if they have not declared themselves as such in a constitution or through their national name. Throughout history socialism may have been practiced in many countries but the country itself has not been labeled as socialist.
Countries Declared As Socialist
- People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
- Republic of India
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Republic of Angola
- Portuguese Republic
- People’s Republic of Bangladesh
- Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Cooperative Republic of Guyana
- Republic of Mozambique
Other Examples of Socialism
Socialism within a country’s economic systems, healthcare, education, corporations or other factions exist in these examples:
- The Mondragon Corporation, a federation of co-ops that currently employs 85,066 people. It is in the Basque region.
- A bakery pays all staff the same amount of money based on the profitability of the business. Workers vote to make business decisions.
- The former Soviet Union is an example of a socialist system.
- Cuba is an example of a socialist nation. Its economy is state run and it lacks a stock exchange. Healthcare and education are all completely managed and administered by the government.
- The country of North Korea is a socialist state, lacking a stock exchange, supporting many social programs, and the economy is state-run.
- Vietnam’s economy is largely state-run and can therefore be considered to be following socialist policies.
- China has elements of socialism that remain despite having eliminated socialized healthcare. The economy is still state-run.
- Venezuela’s government provides myriad social programs and can be considered a socialist state.
- Syria’s economy can be considered socialist as their healthcare is a universal program and their economy is run by the state.
- Laos has many ties with other socialist states and runs the majority of the economy.
- Sweden’s healthcare is a socialized program. Education in Sweden is also part of a socialist policy which provides government funded and administered education at all levels to citizens.
- Belarus has some remnants of socialism in its state policies with an economy that is still entirely state-run.
- Zambia’s media is considered socialist as it is state-run. Zambia’s healthcare is also universal and therefore an example of socialism.
- Turkmenistan is a strong example of socialism with energy subsidized by the government, many housing subsidies and an economy that is largely state run.
Many people use the term socialism to describe behavior in which a government takes on a larger role in the economy. For example, many opponents claim that President Barack Obama is a socialist because he takes the position that the government should be involved in many aspects of people's lives and because he believes that people have a shared responsibility to each other.
The term is not always used accurately and it is very helpful for people to have some actual examples of socialism in order to get a clear picture of this economic theory.