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


socialism (usually uncountable, plural socialisms)

  1. (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.
  2. Any of several 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.

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See also


  • socialism” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.


Romanian Wikipedia has an article on:
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From French socialisme


socialism n (uncountable)

  1. socialism