SocialismSocialism can refer to a political doctrine, an economic theory, a vision of an ideal society, or a description of an actually existing society. In its broadest sense, socialism is a belief that human society can and should be organised along social lines - that is, for the benefit of all, rather than for the profit of a few, which it argued had been the case hitherto. Its key ideas are opposition to capitalism, and a belief in equality, both political and economic. The socialist view of social organisation is well encapsulated in the following saying (attributed to Marx): From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
Election poster for Eugene Debs, American Socialist Party candidate for President, 1904
Since the 19th century, socialist ideas have developed and separated into many streams, including anarchism, syndicalism, democratic socialism, evolutionary socialism, fabianism, Marxism, Leninism or Communism, Trotskyism and Maoism. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialist thought has been in a deep crisis, and most formerly socialist parties have abandoned key socialist ideas. By the end of the 20th century, many critics of socialism were confidently predicting its demise.
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