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Because of challenges in their economies, several of these communist countries have moved from central planning to letting market forces help determine many production and pricing decisions. Market socialism describes a subtype of socialism that adopts certain traits of capitalism, like allowing limited private ownership or consulting market demands. This could involve situations like profits generated by a company going directly to the employees of the company or being used as public funds (Gregory and Stuart 2003). Many Eastern European and some South American countries have mixed economies. Key industries are nationalized and directly controlled by the government; however, most businesses are privately owned and regulated by the government.

Organized socialism never became powerful in the United States. The success of labor unions and the government in securing workers’ rights, joined with the high standard of living enjoyed by most of the workforce, made socialism less appealing than the controlled capitalism practiced here.

A world map depicting the countries which have adopted a socialist economy, and the length of time which they adopted it for.
This map shows countries that have adopted a socialist economy at some point. The colors indicate the duration that socialism prevailed. (Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Socialism in practice

As with capitalism, the basic ideas behind socialism go far back in history. Plato, in ancient Greece, suggested a republic in which people shared their material goods. Early Christian communities believed in common ownership, as did the systems of monasteries set up by various religious orders. Many of the leaders of the French Revolution called for the abolition of all private property, not just the estates of the aristocracy they had overthrown. Thomas More's Utopia , published in 1516, imagined a society with little private property and mandatory labor on a communal farm. A utopia has since come to mean an imagined place or situation in which everything is perfect. Most experimental utopian communities had the abolition of private property as a founding principle.

Modern socialism really began as a reaction to the excesses of uncontrolled industrial capitalism in the 1800s and 1900s. The enormous wealth and lavish lifestyles enjoyed by owners contrasted sharply with the miserable conditions of the workers.

Some of the first great sociological thinkers studied the rise of socialism. Max Weber admired some aspects of socialism, especially its rationalism and how it could help social reform, but he worried that letting the government have complete control could result in an "iron cage of future bondage" from which there is no escape (Greisman and Ritzer 1981).

Pierre-Joseph Proudon (1809−1865) was another early socialist who thought socialism could be used to create utopian communities. In his 1840 book, What Is Property? , he famously stated that “property is theft” (Proudon 1840). By this he meant that if an owner did not work to produce or earn the property, then the owner was stealing it from those who did. Proudon believed economies could work using a principle called mutualism    , under which individuals and cooperative groups would exchange products with one another on the basis of mutually satisfactory contracts (Proudon 1840).

Questions & Answers

help me breakdown the theories
Liz Reply
please explain these theories of social change (Sociocultural evolution theory, cyclical theory, functionalist perspective theory and the Conflict theory)
Phiwa Reply
how to communicate with a group at clubhouse
Jeremy Reply
How do i answer this essay question : Analyze the assertion that crime and deviance are mere social construction
Memory Reply
crime and deviance are functional in society... keeping in mind not all deviance is criminal but all crime is deviance... case in point Rosa Parks and sitting on the bus... her deviant act was not deemed as a crime but it went against social norms and that deviant act brought about change
Andre
another example would be littering... think about when that became a statutory norm (law) in your country... before it was against the law it was a social norm not to litter, your garbage must be thrown in a bin and those who did otherwise were meet by ordinary social sanctions such as a frown...
Andre
littering as become a global problem and it was deemed necessary to make littering against the law so that the environment could not be polluted, and communities would be safer. drains would not be clogged up, rats and other pests won't find refuge, etc...
Andre
Thanks
Memory
who I understand types of worker,s
Raza
Crime and deviance are mere social construction in that society decides what a criminal behavior is and accord punishment according to the severity of the crime. Imagine! what is regarded as crime in country A may not be termed as a crime in country B.
Olu
sociological imagination
Jonathan Reply
whatdoyoumeanbysociology
Manav Reply
sociology is the study of human behaviour in society. And human beings actions, reaction, participation in societies.
Syed
How sociologists study human behavior
Mohamed
poverty is a result of economic factors discuss
Brian Reply
Guys what is Sociological imagination?
Omark Reply
Sociological imagination postulated by C. Wright Mills is the ability for an individual or institution to situate personal troubles within an informed social framework. Successive Sociology scholars after CWM have employed the world to mean the kind of insight offered by Sociology and its relevance
Marvis
In everyday life. In a different light, Sociological imagination could be described as the understanding tnat social outcomes are shaped by social contexts, interactions, action and actors
Marvis
perspective in sociology
ali Reply
Can you tell me what is perspective in sociology?
Alina
way of looking at different social realities and proposing definitions of them
Hanief
Sociological perspective is the basic insight of sociology that human behavior is shaped by the social interaction that takes place within those groups..
Omark
Sorry bro, that wasn't for you...
Omark
sociological problem
Abdulrahman Reply
when a high school student gets teased by her basketball team for receiving an academic award,she is dealing with competing
ABENA Reply
more explanation on the emergency of sociology
Ubaida Reply
please can someone explain more on french revolution
Ubaida
Sociology emerged because of negative aspects of French Revolution: an era of emerging intellectuals and reason........
Rafiq
explain sociology in relation to science
Glory
what is sociology of education?
Aliyu Reply
sociology of education is the study of how public institutions and individual experiences affect the education and it's outcomes
Iqra
what is an apparent excluder?.
sani
kashmir
Iqra
m also from Kashmir and that does not change how iqra tried to define the sociology of education
Trending
How long you people have been studying sociology?
Trending
I have been preparing for UPSC and took sociology as optional... Despite the fact I was a chemistry student
Trending
I am not... I hve never been a KU student
Trending
no
Iqra
u need to read previous 10 yrs question papers..there are 600 questions..these questions will help u
Muxiru
take ua syllabus read every topic gvn on ua syllabus, practice previous year question papers ...
Iqra
download pdf
Muxiru
Any answer u need just write in google u will get the snswer
Major
Hi..Greetings...by the way will it be good to opt for Ku...or outside for Masters in Sociology
rameez
oll questions aur there related to sociology ...sociology is same in ku and other outside universities
Muxiru
i think it's same the thing is how much uh get the knowledge abt ua subject how much effort uh gv to learn things.... otherwise university ka kaam h degree dena thapa lgana 😁
Iqra
na ....but I feel unv. also matters like it's rank n tag during interviews...n also it...percentage various across boards n universities.n at the end of the day...it's percentage which determines much...not degrees or thabas only
rameez
n thank you for responding jazakallah Khair!
rameez
ku@top rank...joke of the year... though I hav learned frm here n thr it's abt it's distinguishing product
rameez
for any examination either for IAS India's top exam uh should have only 50% so dt uh could be eligible .... nothing matters if smth matters dt is hard work give ua best...
Iqra
Take Principles of soc. by C N Shanker Roa
Khushboo
iqra I feel KU is not good..but indeed the worthy colleagues are...will miss them badly n it sounds like killing inside
rameez
Take Principles of soc. by C N Shanker Roa
Khushboo
read every topic in depth
Khushboo
hihii rameez aa uh talking abt colleagues dea itz lyf n it's dynamic... itz ok keep in contact vd them 😊
Iqra
ya...IQra...I mean colleagues which one gets there.... and um here...coz smtimes I gets the feeling like um in contact wd some of them here!
rameez
I am a psychology student but in this semester we also study sociology soo please all of you will help me
Arxoo
okay
Arxoo
Good morning Friends.
MUBARAK
plz b specific n precise in getting the desired info,,For God sake dont stretch...Meharbani hgi
Hanief
can anybody explain to me the concept of social facts by Durkheim
Zubair
what is functionalism in anthropology
Elijah Reply
hi
Salamatu
hi
Lisa
What is functionalism in anthropology? Answer: A theoretical orientation in anthropology, developed by Bronislaw Malinowski. Functionalism is similar to Radcliffe-Brown's structural functionalism, in that it is holistic and posits that all cultural "traits" are functionally interrelated and for
Lisa
In adelphic polyandry forms of marriage, the children belongs to whome?
Haami Reply
the mother know his father
Usama
but it's not mentioned in options....the options were.... maternal uncle paternal uncle youngest brother & eldest brother
Haami
I think....children belongs to eldest brother... but not conformed yet..!!
Haami
ist child to elder brother 2nd child to younger.....
Iqra
pls can someone help me with the contributions of the following founding Fathers of sociology. Karl max Aguste Comte Emile dukhelin harbart spencia pls
Elijah

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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