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Attested since 1832; either from French socialisme or from social +‎ -ism.



socialism (usually uncountable, plural socialisms)

  1. Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.
    1. A system of social and economic equality in which there is no private property.
      • 1918, National Economic League Quarterly, page 19
        …Americans as a rule have no faith in the fundamental doctrine of socialism — no private property. To be sure, that fundamental doctrine is not expressly maintained in this program of the British Labor Party ; but all its proposals lead straight to the adoption by the nation of that doctrine…
    2. A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.
      • 2005, Louise Shelley, Policing Soviet Society: The Evolution of State Control, Routledge (→ISBN), page 57:
        As Gorbachev understood perestroika, the Soviet Union would retain the principal components of state socialism (state control over the means of production and centralized planning), meaning that state control over the economy and the labor force were to be maintained.
  2. (Marxism) The intermediate phase of social development between capitalism and full communism in Marxist theory in which the state has control of the means of production.
    1. Any of a group of later political philosophies such democratic socialism and social democracy which do not envisage the need for full state ownership of the means of production nor transition to full communism, and which are typically based on principles of community decision making, social equality and the avoidance of economic and social exclusion, with economic policy giving first preference to community goals over individual ones.
    • 1978, Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, Basic Books, page xii:
      For me, socialism is not statism, or the collective ownership of the means of production. It is a judgment on the priorities of economic policy…the community takes precedence over the individual in legitimate economic policy. The first lien on the resources of a society therefore should be to establish that "social minimum" which would allow individuals to lead a life of self-respect, to be members of the community.
  3. (US politics, colloquial) Any left-wing ideology, government regulations, or policies promoting a welfare state, nationalisation, etc.
    • 2017, Greg Hoey, Perth & The Big Sleep: Other Essays, Lulu Press, Inc →ISBN
      I really think most socialists and socialism is pure evil, as evil as the government socialism/handouts that many of our wealthy elites and big corporations, including our politicians seem to expect from the ordinary tax-payer.

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Romanian Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia ro


From French socialisme.


socialism n (uncountable)

  1. socialism