The Economist asserts that the exact meaning of socialism is much debated, but in theory it includes some collective ownership of the means of production and a strong emphasis on equality, of some sort.
Robert Heilbroner, in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (reference below), defines socialism as a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production.
Heilbroner, a socialist for most of his adult life, called socialism “the tragic failure of the twentieth century and wrote:
“Born of a commitment to remedy the economic and moral defects of capitalism, it has far surpassed capitalism in both economic malfunction and moral cruelty. Yet the idea and the ideal of socialism linger on. Whether socialism in some form will eventually return as a major organizing force in human affairs is unknown, but no one can accurately appraise its prospects who has not taken into account the dramatic story of its rise and fall.”
Atlas topic, subject, and course
The Economist, Economics A-Z, at http://www.economist.com/economics-a-to-z/s#node-21529356, accessed 2 May 2016.
Robert Heilbroner, Socialism, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, at http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Socialism.html, accessed 2 May 2016.
Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 2 May 2016.