Capitalism, Communism, Socialism

Nature’s capacity to support human life exceeds our need.  Politics is a tool whereby humankind manages this abundance.  Prominent political philosophies are Capitalism, Communism, and Socialism.  I have a sense many Americans, like me, conflate Communism and Socialism.  It is crucial that we not be misguided by labels.  Since my thinking here is, at best, fuzzy, I go to my usual Guru, Wikipedia. 

“Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.  .  .  .  Decision making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth  .  .  .  whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.”  (My emphasis.)

By contrast, “Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured on the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social class, money, and, in some cases, the state.  As such, communism is a specific form of socialism.”

“Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production  .  .  .  social ownership can take the form of state ownership, common ownership, employee ownership, cooperative ownership, and citizen ownership of equity.”

Under Capitalism, Mother Earth’s resources are accumulated and managed according to a select group’s incentive for financial profit.  This model affords more booty to folks who are motivated to get rich, shrewd, lucky, or born to wealth.

Communist states own all resources, manage their processing and distribution, and employ everyone.  The Soviet Union had, and Cuba has, a Communist government.  As I understand, Chinese Communism holds private enterprise under stringent State controls.

On scanning Wikipedia and the Internet, the far-ranging details of how a variety of non-Communist governments implement Socialist philosophy made my head hurt.  Basically, they support free enterprise while assuring that all citizens, regardless of an individual’s capacity or willingness to pitch in, have the basics: shelter, food, medical care.  I think of non-Communist Socialism as Capitalism with a conscience