Socialism is a common name for a very broad scope of a political ideology. In general it advocates state or collective ownership and administration of means of production and distribution of goods. Karl Marx thought that Socialism was the in between stage of capitalism and communism. He thought it would be achieved through the idea of the proletarian. All Socialists think that Capitalism can cause unfair distributions of wealth causing all power to go to a small elite. Therefore socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.
Overall Socialist types can be broken down into reformists and revolutionaries. Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Social Democrats, like those in the Socialist International wish for selective nationalization of industries.
Some common criticisms of Socialism is the claim that it causes.
- Reduced prosperity
- Distorted or absent price signals
- Reduced incentives for workers
- Slow or stagnant technological advance
In addition there is individual criticisms of certain Communist states although some Socialists don't see Communism as Socialist at all. Likewise Revolutionaries see Revisionists as traitors and say they have failed. Winston Churchill was one large critic of Socialism. One quote is this.
. . a socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state. It will prescribe for every one where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say. Socialism is an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance
His Socialist/Labour opponent Clement Attlee went on to win the election.