• Communism is the other of two left-leaning economic and political ideologies
  • Like it’s fraternal twin, socialism, it attempts to provide an alternative to feudalism which it replaced in countries like Russia and Capitalism which is widespread in the so-called Western countries
  • Again at its core is the belief that all members of society ought to be equally economically and socially
  • To better understand what communism is we need to look at its history

The brief history of communism

  • Was coined and championed by Friedrich Engels, Karl Max and Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (commonly known as Lenin)
  • The first two men were philosophers who were disillusioned by society and the way their countries were run
  • They, especially Marx, came up with a theory that is now called Marxism from which communism is derived
  • According to Marx, there is a social-economic struggle through which all societies goes through
  • Pre-historic societies operated their communities along the principles of Primitive Communism
  • Then they transitioned to Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism and Socialism
  • Each stage is known as an epoch or an era which covers a certain period in time of human history
  • Because each political-economic ideology/system has weaknesses there is eventually a revolution led by the oppressed members of society which forces the system to transition to the next stage
  • Marx and his disciples take it for granted that the revolution is forward moving i.e. it goes through all these stages as he mentioned them and there is no regression i.e backward movement
  • Socialism is seen as a rudimentary emerging form of communism
  • Lenin oversaw the Russian revolution and implemented Communism as a government system in Russia and made refinements of his own
  • This included reinforcing the distinction between Socialism and Communism
  • Communism, as it exists today, is actually called Marxism–Leninism

Features of Communism

  • It’s based on the Marxism-Leninism ideology
  • According to Marx and Lenin it is the final political and economic system of the class struggles (revolutions)
  • Under this system people live in Communes
  • All factors of production are owned and operated by the community as a whole i.e there is communal ownership of factors of production
  • All members of the commune/community are equal i.e. there are no social classes
  • It is based on the communitarianism philosophy which  emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community
  • According to communism the needs of the individual should be subservient to the needs of the community as a whole
  • There is no private ownership of resources as everything is owned by the community
  • This means for example that there is really no need for an individual to be paid for their work as they are striving to improve their community as a whole and not just themselves
  • The word community/commune might refer to a family but it commonly refers to people who live in a particular location, geographic area or a people who share a history, for example, people who have historically been part of one country
  • Extreme individualism is discouraged and personal freedoms are sacrificed for the good of the community as a whole
  • As already said, workers are not really paid for their labour
  • This means that there is really no buying or selling of goods and services
  • Instead whatever the community produces is shared according to the needs of each member of the community
  • This also means that there is no accumulation of wealth resulting in all people being essentially equal in economic terms
  • Central plans are made by the leaders of the community in the form of economic plans
  • Communism has thus led to the development of the central/planned/command economic system
  • In its purest forms, communism gives out free goods and services
  • Communism is Utopian in nature i.e it believes in a paradise like community
  • It’s greatest flaw is the belief that all members of society are equal yet that same society is supposed to have leaders,
  • Logic dictates that leaders are above all the other members of society

To access more topics go to the Advanced Level Business Studies/ Business Enterprise Skills page

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