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Pros & Cons of Socialism

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Socialism is a political theory which differs from capitalism in that it promotes greater equality. In a capitalist system, everyone is out for himself, trying to make a profit so that he can buy everything he needs and more. Socialism promotes the ownership of the means of production, so that profit is not the driving force. Instead, the government provides for everyone’s needs, regardless of their social position. It might seem a good idea that society should be more equal and fairer, but not everyone sees it that way.

Pros of socialism

The benefits of a socialist system relate to people’s life opportunities. In a socialist system, individuals are less likely to be held back by their social position. Being born into an economically deprived family is less likely to hamper an individual’s opportunities, since the gap between rich and poor is not as great as in a capitalist society. All individuals have access to a decent education and this gives them more chances in life.

Benefits for all

Consequently, with education, individuals are in a better position to get a good job and to be able to lead a comfortable life. They contribute more to the system and the extra tax they pay will go towards funding social security for those who are less well-off. The money that goes into the public purse will also fund a medical care system which will ensure that a person’s economic situation will not stop them from receiving treatment.

It is more costly

Thus, overall, a socialist system promotes greater equality for individuals. However, there are also drawbacks to socialism. It obviously costs more to fund such a system and not everyone wants to pay more in tax to support ‘layabouts’, while businesses may be less inclined to invest in a socialist country because of higher tax rates and more bureaucracy.

Less incentive to start a business

Indeed, entrepreneurs will have less incentive to invest when their competition is the government, since they can’t exploit the same economies of scale. Plus, politicians don’t always make the best business leaders and inefficiency is often prevalent in nationalized industries.

It is profitable to be lazy

It could be argued that a socialist system rewards those who don’t work and punishes those who work the hardest. Since hard-working tax payers are paying higher rates of tax which are going towards providing services for those who are unemployed, a sense of unfairness could develop.

Just one more step to communism

For some, inequality is natural and socialism can’t override people’s natural inclination to want more than they have got. There are also those who argue that embracing socialism is a small step away from communism. Thus, the pros and cons of socialism are not objective and neutral, since everybody has their own political beliefs and social attitudes which will determine whether they see socialism in a positive or negative light.