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Socialism is a type of economic system, a political movement, and a social theory. Socialism is based on the idea that governments should own and control a nation's resources rather than individuals.

Socialism was first used to describe opposition to the free enterprise and market economies. The Industrial Revolution was the cause of many social problems. Long work hours, low pay, and poor working conditions caused Americans to first consider socialism. With government involvement in business, fairer treatment for all was feasible. Most countries today have socialist parties, many have socialist governments, and others who are in between have adopted socialist ideas.

Communism and socialism are often associated together. Socialism is a stage of government usually leading up to communism. Government must first control businesses if it is to be considered a communist nation. Democratic socialists believe some government control is necessary to force people to become good citizens, but too much can lead to not enough freedoms.

Socialism is seen as an efficient form of government. Capitalism, on the other hand, leads to unemployment, poverty, business cycles, and conflict between owners. Through socialism a nations wealth can be distributed more equally. Socialism is therefore based on cooperation rather than competition. Socialist believe that by creating an economic plan, farmers, manufacturers, workers, and government officials can properly adjust the production of goods to meet the needs of the people. Some socialist believe that government should go so far as to pay for education and Medicare. It is disagreement among socialists that has made for a wide spectrum of ideas, possibly making it more difficult for socialism to exist.

Socialism and Karl Marx are two words that belong together. Marx was the most influential socialist of the 1800's. Marx expressed his ideas in the Communist Manifesto. He believed that all history is a series of struggles between the ruling and the working classes. Marx predicted that the ruling class would be overthrown and predicted the working class would set up a society based on common ownership.

Socialism has never been very strong in the United States. Because of the opportunity for even the poor to become successful, socialism has never been able to grow. The strongest movement might have been during World War I. socialists tried to group, but because of problems at hand nothing was accomplished. After World War I a complete collapse of socialism occurred. Today the U.S. still practices a small amount of socialism. Government regulates and controls many private businesses, provides welfare, and strives to maintain a high employment rate. The government also uses its strong taxing, spending, and credit powers. Yet the United States has fewer socialist features than any other industrialized nation.

Like many other people, I feel there are pro's and con's to socialism. Socialism would generally make for a more efficient government. If the U.S. had a socialist government, the deficit may not exist. People would all be working because the worker is the benefactor in a socialistic government. Our country would be one united work force controlled by the government. On the other hand, socialism would take away the biggest advantage America has; opportunity. The chance to strike it rich or create one's own business would not be possible. Fortunately, or government has taken only some socialistic ideas and has built a very successful government with happy Americans. and I am one of them.

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