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By far the most important influential thinker on socialism is Karl Marx. Through his own writings and those with his collaborator, industrialist Friedrich Engels, Marx used a scientific analytical process to show that throughout history, the resolution of class struggles caused changes in economies. He saw the relationships evolving from slave and owner, to serf and lord, to journeyman and master, to worker and owner. Neither Marx nor Engels thought socialism could be used to set up small utopian communities. Rather, they believed a socialist society would be created after workers rebelled against capitalistic owners and seized the means of production. They felt industrial capitalism was a necessary step that raised the level of production in society to a point it could progress to a socialist and then communist state (Marx and Engels 1848). These ideas form the basis of the sociological perspective of social conflict theory.

Obama and socialism: a few definitions

In the 2008 presidential election, the Republican Party latched onto what is often considered a dirty word to describe then-Senator Barack Obama’s politics: socialist. It may have been because the president was campaigning by telling workers it’s good for everybody when wealth gets spread around. But whatever the reason, the label became a weapon of choice for Republicans during and after the campaign. In 2012, Republican presidential contender Rick Perry continued this battle cry. A New York Times article quotes him as telling a group of Republicans in Texas that President Obama is “hell bent on taking America towards a socialist country” (Wheaton 2011). Meanwhile, during the first few years of his presidency, Obama worked to create universal healthcare coverage and pushed forth a partial takeover of the nation’s failing automotive industry. So does this make him a socialist? What does that really mean, anyway?

There is more than one definition of socialism, but it generally refers to an economic or political theory that advocates for shared or governmental ownership and administration of production and distribution of goods. Often held up in counterpoint to capitalism, which encourages private ownership and production, socialism is not typically an all-or-nothing plan. For example, both the United Kingdom and France, as well as other European countries, have socialized medicine, meaning that medical services are run nationally to reach as many people as possible. These nations are, of course, still essentially capitalist countries with free-market economies.

So is Obama a socialist because he wants universal healthcare? Or is the word a lightning rod for conservatives who associate it with a lack of personal freedom? By almost any measure, the answer is more the latter.

Convergence theory

We have seen how the economies of some capitalist countries such as the United States have features that are very similar to socialism. Some industries, particularly utilities, are either owned by the government or controlled through regulations. Public programs such as welfare, Medicare, and Social Security exist to provide public funds for private needs. We have also seen how several large communist (or formerly communist) countries such as Russia, China, and Vietnam have moved from state-controlled socialism with central planning to market socialism, which allows market forces to dictate prices and wages and for some business to be privately owned. In many formerly communist countries, these changes have led to economic growth compared to the stagnation they experienced under communism (Fidrmuc 2002).

Questions & Answers

what factors prompted the development of sociology of education
Faith Reply
factors that prompted the development of sociology of education
Faith
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Bp
factory working culture, nuclear family, industrialization etc
Zubair
Relevant of anthropology
Sani Reply
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Nana Reply
What is collective behavior
Riaz Reply
COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR Behaviour in crowds and mobs that occurs when the usual norms are suspended.
Mary
How does climate affect human behaviour
Amanda Reply
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Abubakar Reply
Auguste comte definition
sanjay Reply
What is definition
sanjay
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Jorge
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Ebube
importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour Reply
can someone explain social system theory
Evalyne Reply
the study society as a complex ,arrangement of element individual and their beliefs
ghaza
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Hope Reply
climate change human behaviour... it have the power to change human emotions.
MINU
lack of agriculture can cause financial problems
MINU
How does climate affect human behaviour
Amanda
disscus the roles challenges of sociology as social engineer with concrete examples
honour Reply
honour Austin met me in school, i got a material for your question or I can tell you what to do to get your assignment done....(uniuyo)
Icecool
define crime and explain its categories
Abdullahi Reply
definition of crime and explain its categories
Nathax
Criminology is the study of the law enforcement and criminal justice. Criminology covers these area: Frequency of crime Location of crimes Causes of crimes Types of crimes Social and individual consequences of crimes Social reactions to crimes Individual reactions to crimes Governmental reactions
Amman
what are roles and challenges of sociology as social engineers
Icecool Reply
Fo any of you have any idea about Ibn ek khuldun theory of Population . kindly share
Maria Reply
No idea
Dede
Maria ibn ek khuldun supposed to be the first founder of sociology but due to the country he is that's why is not recognized as well... he was born 1332 and died 1406, is an Egyptians... he defined sociology as the science of nature and discipline
IBRAHIM
what re the importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour
Auguste Comte The French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857)—often called the “father of sociology”—first used the term “sociology” in 1838 to refer to the scientific study of society. He believed that all societies develop and progress through the following stages: religious, metaphysical
Abdikadir
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Mvumeni
the father of sociology
Chiamaka Reply
The father of Sociology is called "August Comte " but the term "Sociology is coined by Ibn e khuldun " and he is the founder of social sciences .
Maria
but sociology word first introduced by August comte
Izhar

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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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