Definition of socialism in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    • ‘Since the 1920s, Trotsky fought against the Stalinist theory of socialism in one country.’
    • ‘Ideas of socialism, and socialist organisation, are coming to the fore in this movement.’
    • ‘It is conventional to associate capitalism with the private ownership of the means of production and socialism with collective ownership.’
    • ‘Within genuine socialism, politics and the economy are connected.’
    • ‘The idea is developed using Gramsci to show how parliamentary democracy in the west is an ideological barrier to socialism.’
    • ‘She believes deeply in her heart that you can have genuine socialism.’
    • ‘They thought socialism as an economic system was the necessary analog to democracy as a political system.’
    • ‘Under socialism, production would be planned and organised to meet the needs of society and its members.’
    • ‘This relatively new ideology was based in socialism, and shared some views with nihilism.’
    • ‘With the advent of Karl Marx, socialism became a science.’
    • ‘In the end, market socialism does appear attractive on distributional grounds.’
    • ‘Paul Foot was throughout his life a passionate fighter for freedom, justice, internationalism, socialism and democracy.’
    • ‘Hence, the development of socialism is internally inseparable from the growth of democracy.’
    • ‘These poets, it must be remembered, emerged out of a highly politicized milieu, where socialism was the word of the hour.’
    • ‘Under socialism or communism, producers of profit and receivers of profit are the same people.’
    • ‘They believe in a common vision for humanity (once it was socialism; now it has mutated into liberal democracy).’
    • ‘It is well known that Stalin first openly advanced his theory of socialism in one country in the fall of 1924.’
    • ‘For any socialist organization, implementing socialism should be the goal.’
    leftism, fabianism, syndicalism, consumer socialism, utopian socialism, welfarism
    communism, bolshevism
    radicalism, militancy
    progressivism, social democracy
    marxism, leninism, marxism–leninism, neo-marxism, trotskyism, maoism
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
      • ‘In spite of socialist rhetoric and tight economic controls, socialism was in no way a serious prospect.’
      • ‘That little bit of socialism, or communism if you will, has done a whole lot of good as far as almost eliminating illiteracy.’
      • ‘However, I am also worried that traditional versions of socialism prioritise industrial development over sustainability.’
      • ‘What has been falsely called socialism is nothing but state-capitalism.’
      • ‘A positive political programme that promotes socialism needs to be utilised to win over working class communities.’
      • ‘Most Western socialists now opt for social democracy, others for market socialism.’
      • ‘Under socialism, economic and social equality increased as variation in herd size and wealth levels was reduced.’
      • ‘We should not get into the ideology of capitalism versus socialism in health care.’
      • ‘It is not hard to imagine the painting as a condemnation of the Soviet version of socialism that followed fascism in Hungary.’
      • ‘Old models of ‘one party, authoritarian states’ were rejected as incompatible with democratic socialism.’
      • ‘Less well known are Reichenbach's social/political writings which advocate a non-Marxist socialism.’
      • ‘Market socialism retains but restricts the power of the market.’
      • ‘Orwell's frustration was tempered by his growing realisation of the significance of the militia as an example of how socialism itself could be organised.’
      • ‘He believed in modernizing socialism, abandoned Marxist rhetoric, and replaced it by a responsible managerial attitude to the economy.’
      • ‘Different historical and social contexts have shaped the political goals of liberal socialism.’
      • ‘Alex spells out in some detail how a democratically planned socialism could work, and why to do so it must be an international system.’
      • ‘There must be a judicious mix of capitalism and socialism.’
      • ‘In it Khodorkovsky argued that Russia's salvation lay in adopting some of the principles and politics of socialism.’
      • ‘The late Andre Gunder Frank, towards the end of a lifetime's research on capitalism and socialism, concluded that neither actually exist.’
      • ‘If a proposal for or against socialism or capitalism is not a public policy, I do not know what is.’
      leftism, fabianism, syndicalism, consumer socialism, utopian socialism, welfarism
      communism, bolshevism
      radicalism, militancy
      progressivism, social democracy
      marxism, leninism, marxism–leninism, neo-marxism, trotskyism, maoism
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.
      • ‘I want to go back to Marx and Engels, and argue that socialism was impossible before capitalism.’
      • ‘The Fabian Society was founded to gradually replace capitalism with socialism, but now they are rapidly moving in the opposite direction.’
      • ‘Marx, after all, had predicted that revolution, and the transition to socialism, would occur first in the most advanced capitalist societies.’
      • ‘Accordingly, socialism was a transitional phase to a Communist society, in which all ownership was abolished.’
      • ‘Consistent with promoting socialism and communism, he criticized capitalism and the United States.’
      • ‘This great event would usher in the historical stage of production known as socialism.’
      • ‘For long, misuse of the environment was treated in the Soviet Union as something that happens under capitalism but not under socialism.’
      • ‘The welfare state seemed to confirm the reformability of capitalism and the viability of a third way between capitalism and socialism.’
      • ‘One of the quotes which was repeatedly cited by Stalin concerned the difference drawn by Marx between socialism and communism.’
      • ‘When Marxists believed that socialism was inevitable, there was no need to explain why it was desirable.’
      • ‘He is very good on revolution and ideology and writes extensively on capitalism and socialism and the rise of the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘The force that is capable of bringing down capitalism and establishing socialism is constantly renewing itself.’
      • ‘What is the necessary transitional stage between socialism and Communism?’
      • ‘The Russian Revolution itself was but one episode in the transition from capitalism to socialism.’
      • ‘You don't seem to know the difference between capitalism, communism and socialism.’
      • ‘There are many aspects to this, but the most basic is in relation to the scientific conception of socialism developed by Karl Marx.’
      • ‘The transition from socialism to communism is a terribly complicated matter.’
      • ‘As to whether it should specifically state its aim as being the replacement of capitalism by socialism, I am somewhat torn on the matter.’
      • ‘In light of the historic failure of state-organised socialism what might replace capitalism if and when it becomes a drag on human development?’
      • ‘The truth is that socialists don't believe socialism will automatically rise from the wreckage of capitalism.’


Early 19th century: from French socialisme, from social (see social).