It is a system of belief where the state controls all the factors of production and means of living, where each person is expected to contribute collectively and is repaid according to their own needs
Communism is derived from the Latin word communis, which means "universal" or "common." It is a system of belief where the state controls all the factors of production and means of living, where each person is expected to contribute collectively and is repaid according to their own needs.
Difference between Communism and Socialism.
The words Communism and Socialism are often widely interchangeably used in common masses.
Both the ideas resemble each other to a great extent, but the former ideates the concept of common participation and just remuneration. In contrast, the latter follows a concept of common participation but with fair repayment depending upon the level of contribution of each person.
The critical difference between the two is that in a Communist society, a person's chances of earning more resources than another person are quite thin. However, in a Socialist Society, a person can earn more through greater contribution.
|Basis of Difference||Communism||Socialism|
|Basic Idea||From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.||From each according to his ability to each according to his contribution.|
|Ownership||All economic resources are publicly owned and controlled by the government. Individuals hold no personal property or assets.||Individuals own personal property, but all industrial and production capacity is communally owned and managed by a democratically elected government.|
|Distribution of Economic Production||Production is intended to meet all basic human needs and is distributed to the people at no charge.||Production is intended to meet individual and societal needs and distributed according to individual ability and contribution.|
|Religion||Religion is effectively abolished.||Freedom of religion is allowed.|
|Class Distinction||Class is abolished. The ability to earn more than other workers is almost nonexistent.||Classes exist, but differences are diminished. Some people can earn more than others.|
Communism gained stature mainly after the industrial revolution wave spread across Eurasia in the 1800s. In the 19th century, Karl Marx was the driving force behind the worldwide spread.
The communist movement gained massive attention in all of eastern Europe and parts of Southeast Asia.
After the Russian Revolution, The USSR was the first country to self-declare itself as a communist state.
The great rivalry between the United States of America and the USSR, also known as the Cold War, eventually brought down the communist movement in eastern Europe.
There are still some major socialist states today, such as The Republic of China, Vietnam, and Cuba, but pure communist states have ceased to exist.
A detailed examination
An economy working on Marxist ideas seems good on paper, but when it comes to practical performance in real life, communism has disappointed supporters worldwide.
Today the majority of the "Developed World" is working on the system of open market Capitalism, and significant developing markets are either Guided by Capitalistic Economies or State Influenced by Capitalistic Economies.
Nowadays, capitalism is associated with guaranteed growth, whereas socialistic economies are related to slow or stagnant growth with a low standard of living and fewer human rights.
Capitalism, too, has its downsides. Generally, it is seen that those economies which have a capitalistic model at their core suffer from high-income inequality. Communist supporters provide socialistic ideas as a counter to modern-day capitalism as the main essence of state control is to provide equality of wealth to everyone.
Economies also suffer from Crony Capitalism. Businesses are extremely profit-centric in open-market economies, and the accumulation of power and wealth in the hands of few people can kill the very essence of capitalism.
Once considered stable economies like Greece and Turkey have suffered a sudden downfall in their economic activity due to flaws and restrictions of capitalism.
As the world becomes more and more unstable and countries fight for more power and autonomy over each other, many small and not-so-well-off countries are shifting to the system of communism. These include small countries in Africa and South Asia.
Communistic economies are well-known for their Human Rights Abuses. Because of total state control, people are deprived of their basic fundamental rights.
Censorship and red tape systems are considered to lower an economy's growth prospects, which are the main pillars of socialistic societies.
Despite all these differences, there is one exception, one communist country that has set an example for the rest of Marxist supporters worldwide. That is The People's Republic of China. Despite claiming to be a democracy, China is a socialist economy.
The People's Republic of China (Mainland China)
It follows a system of State-Owned Capitalism. It is neither fully communist nor an open Capitalistic economy. It is rather an anomaly.
China is also a victim of many demerits of communism like Human Rights abuse and Hardcore State Censorship. However, the economic rise of China in the early 21st century has out shadowed all of the flaws in its model.
Good economic planning and well-executed measures have ensured the major economic rise of this Asian country. China is the only true success for communistic idealists after the fall of the USSR.
Despite a decade of everlasting growth, the economic rise of China may not be eternal. The socialistic methods of governance are causing turmoil in the business world regarding China.
Major business houses worldwide are pulling money out of China because of a lack of transparency and unprecedented measures by the people in power, which has caused major losses to Investors.
Also, during mid-2020, the COVID-19 crisis set alarms to critics of socialism all over the globe.
The Russian Federation
Socialistic sentiments started in modern-day Russia from the time of The Russian Revolution. However, state roots are prehistoric in Russia. Russia, formerly the head state of The USSR, is considered the historical epicenter of communistic ideas in the world.
The ideology of socialism gained momentum in modern-day Russia, and Russia, long-suffering from extremist monarchies and civil war unrest, desperately needed structural reforms.
During the prime time of the Soviet Union, communistic ideas gained much worldwide attention because of the military rise of The USSR as the world superpower.
After the fall of The USSR in 1991, Russia was in an inferior economic condition, and GDP output fell rapidly by up to 40% in the upcoming decade.
Today, most of the communist movement only exists in and around the territories once part of The USSR. However, Latvia, Belarus, and Poland are some examples where the communist movement still has some support.
The Cold War with the USA is considered the main event that caused the downfall of the USSR. The USSR, at its peak, was a force to be reckoned with. However, the downfall of the Soviet Union was mainly because of poor economic management.
This is one of the main downfalls of socialist rule in modern times. GDP is everything for countries nowadays, and the main reason communist countries fail to foster good economic growth is a lack of efficiency and low support for innovation.
Today, the economic condition of Russia is very poor. GDP output is decreasing slowly over time, and Russian Oligarchs are fleeing the country with their massive wealth, all stemming from one issue, the war with Ukraine.
Russia annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine, in 2014; this action followed economic sanctions by the west, which tripled the Russian economy. As a result, Russia was even kicked out of the G8 ( now G7 ) countries list.
The full-fledged war with Ukraine began when Ukraine insisted on NATO membership in 2022; that's when Russia, under Vladimir Putin, attacked Ukraine. This followed more economic sanctions by the western bloc.
Russia was barred from the SWIFT payments system; the Russian Rouble declined into freefall after this. However, it recovered drastically due to measures taken by the Russian government, which took proactive actions to safeguard its currency.
The future of communism in Russia is bleak, and public anger against the government is at its height. Civil unrest can shock the nation to its roots, ensuring the fall of the long-standing government in Russia, which claims to be elected but works on socialist roots.
North Korea today is the only true communist country left on the planet. The degree of state control in North Korea is extremely high. The nation is cut off from the rest of the world.
State censorship is applied to almost everything, and propaganda is used to the extent where thoughts are influenced. Rampant corruption takes place under the rule of third-generation ruler Kim Jong-Un.
Ironically, the official name of North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. After the great Korean war, North Korea was isolated from the rest of the world, and the Un family, who were in power, decided to take North Korea on similar lines to their immediate neighbor, the USSR.
The people are not allowed to criticize individuals in power, and all their produce is used for the luxury of the ruling government, and people are provided with what is left.
The reputation of North Korea is not very good when it comes to the issue of human rights.
The basic fundamental human rights of the people of North Korea are abused daily, and many escapees from the restricted-isolated nation have made public their own experiences.
North Korea also has an estimated 30 to 40 nuclear warheads, creating geopolitical instability. Kim Jong-Un is unpredictable and has a somewhat unreasonable foreign policy. This communist country poses a huge threat to world security.
It has certain features about it; some major features are as follows:
- Central Planning -
In a Marxist society, the central three problems of (1)What to produce, (2)For whom to produce, and (3) How to produce are controlled and decided by a central power, commonly seen being the state.
- State ownership -
In a centralized society, common people are not allowed to own land. The concept of freehold land is alienated in such a society, and all the land resources are distributed to the masses by the state.
- No Income Inequality -
The main idea behind the central economy planning structure is that no one should be in a better position than another, wealth should be collectivized, and gains should be equally distributed.
- Competition -
This type of system lacks external competition. The non-existence of competition makes the system less adaptive and more lethargic. Innovation is not awarded, and efficiency is reduced because of non-profit motives.
How far has it come today?
There is a big question mark to this question. Communists have come a long way from the Russian revolution, but there are some big loopholes in the state rule system.
First of all, the socialist system has not been consistent in providing good economic growth. But on the other hand, free-market economies are way ahead of socialistic countries in terms of GDP per capita and national treasury.
Secondly, lack of innovation and a proper rewarding system is a big reason for the lack of motivation among the people living under state rule.
There are hardly any incentives for working more; thus, there is no reason why new ideas will ever take form in such an economy.
Also, there is no public participation in the ruling cabinet. Some people gain power and become so powerful that one person's personal preferences are given importance over public welfare; communist countries suffer from this problem very often.
This is what happened in North Korea; while the Korean public is suffering from famines and other problems, the rules of North Korea are driving around in new models of imported supercars.
Modern-day socialist countries are not successfully removing income inequalities which hinder the main purpose of communism.
The biggest concern is the abuse of human rights. China may be an exception regarding the economic side of this argument. Still, when the discussion is about the human rights of people living there, lawyers cannot defend the nation of the dragon.
The higher Muslim issue of 2021 pushed this fact into the limelight.
China uses artificial intelligence to monitor its citizens, and data companies collect to monitor and punish its population. People who do not obey the PRC are either executed or punished.
Also, these countries tend to be politically unstable and create geopolitical tensions.
The perfect example is the Russia-Ukraine war, the aggression shown by China in the South-china Sea, or the missile tests conducted by North Korea. Also, the lack of transparency is a cause of concern for many other nations, which causes distrust among nations.
In a nutshell, communism has somewhat failed in today's world, but as the world becomes more unstable. Many people have started to question the legitimacy of modern democracies, and nations that are not so well off are getting restless. Public anger is at an all-time high, and this can cause multiple civil wars all over the globe.
People are losing trust in elected governments and losing it fast. This creates a power vacuum, which creates an optimal condition for former democracies to be converted into communist states.