Exploring Socialism: Lessons from History and the Human Factor in a Thought-Provoking Essay

Published: 2024-01-07
Exploring Socialism: Lessons from History and the Human Factor in a Thought-Provoking Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Political science Government
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 631 words
6 min read

Socialism is collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. It's a system where production means are owned and controlled by the state (Merriam-Webster, 2020). By definition, socialism is appealing, but history has shown records of failed socialism from countries that were once considered real socialists. These countries include the former Soviet Union, North Korea, and Venezuela. These countries began with an enthusiastic endorsement of socialism, followed by a silent period, followed by retroactive disowning of the concept.

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The United States of America experimented with the socialism idea in early 1620 (Wickwire, 2002). The objective of this experiment was to bring communities to a standard distribution of wealth. All private wealth was taken away by the state. Instead of the idea flourishing, it brought confusion and discontentment among the communities. The people worked for the government, and this created a perception of slavery and injustice. The idea of working for the benefit of the state, while disregarding personal development, led to the demotivation of individuals and reduced desire to improve the human race.

Winston Churchill outlined the psychosocial core of socialism by making a comparison to Liberalism. He stated that socialism sought to pull down wealth while Liberalism sought to improve wealth (Kinnaird, 1908). He added that Liberalism would preserve enterprises from the trammels of favoritism, while socialism would kill the businesses (Kinnaird, 1908). On the one hand, socialism attacked capital while Liberalism attacked the monopoly. These distinctions are a great depiction of what socialism yields in a society. Decades later, when Churchill became prime minister, he described socialism as a philosophy of failure, a creed of ignorance, and an envy gospel.

Another country that portrays the nature of socialistic ideals is Germany during the second war. The term 'Nazi' by definition is the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or merely the National Socialism.

A Miami-based police officer gave a hypothetical example of socialism; a case of two students in an examination class. One scored highly with a 4.0(A) Grade Point Average. He explained that this student had worked hard on his own to achieve the result. A different student scored very low, with a 1.0 GPA. This particular student had to demonstrate improvement or risk getting expelled from the school. However, socialism would require that the student who had scored high grades share some of his points with the student who failed. The question that this scenario posed is whether that would be fair or right.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are among well-renowned public figures who have seemingly embraced the socialist ideology. Pope Francis openly called for free redistribution of wealth in the world. A facet that has always been overlooked regarding socialism is the human factor. There was a loss of human lives at the hands of past socialist regimes. Many millions died at the hands of the Nazis in Germany, over 40 million were murdered by the rule of Joseph Stalin in the United Soviet Union of Russia (Ghosh, 2013), and almost two million people perished at the Khmer Rouge's hands at Cambodia during and after the Vietnam War (Leitsinger & Tolan, 2015). These facts show that socialism has failed catastrophically every single time.


Kinnaird, H. D. (1908). 1904-1914 Speeches: Rising Star>Liberalism and Socialism. Washington, DC: International Churchill Society. https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1901-1914-rising-star/liberalism-and-socialism/

Leitsinger, M., & Tolan, C. (2015, April 16). A timeline of the Khmer Rouge regime and its aftermath. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from CNN Website: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/asia/cambodia-khmer-rouge-timeline/

Merriam-Webster. (2020, October 5). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster.com: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism

Wickwire, C. F. (2002). The American Socialist Experiment. California: The Free Public. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1527788/posts

Ghosh, P. (2013, March 5). How Many People Did Joseph Stalin Kill? Retrieved October 15, 2015, from International Business Times Website: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-many-people-did-joseph-stalin-kill-1111789

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Exploring Socialism: Lessons from History and the Human Factor in a Thought-Provoking Essay. (2024, Jan 07). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/exploring-socialism-lessons-from-history-and-the-human-factor-in-a-thought-provoking-essay

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