Marxist Economics and the Difference between Socialism and Communism

QUESTION: Marxist Economics – Difference between Socialism and Communism

ANSWER:

Socialism and communism are not identical. Marxists believe that socialism is the first phase or first step in the transition to communism, the perfect economic system. The Political Dictionary explains the difference between the two systems: “Socialism is the first phase of communism. The principle of socialism is: from each according to his abilities, to each according to his work . . . Under communism the basic principle of society will be: from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”1

Marxist Economics – Socialism is a Phase Towards Communism
Socialism is the phase in history when the proletariat seizes both the means of production and the state. The arrival of communism will occur when the government has withered away because classes have ceased to exist and no one owns the means of production (it is owned in common). Lenin describes communism as “means working in common.”2 In this perfect economic system, the ideal is that everyone will freely work together to produce the necessary goods and services.

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Raymond Sleeper, ed., A Lexicon of Marxist-Leninist Semantics (Alexandria, VA: Western Goals, 1983), 249.
2 V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, 38 vols. (New York, NY: International Publishers, 1937), 9:479.

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