What are socialism pros and cons?


The pros of socialism can include lack of social classes, equal distribution of goods and common access to education and health system. The cons may list bureaucracy, large taxes or lack of motivation.


Socialism is a system, which implies equality and fair distribution of economic facilities. Usually in socialism central planning is used to allocate resources. This system is centered on common ownership. Thus, ownership can be cooperative or a public corporation. However, the common ownership is only applied to the means of production, such as materials, equipment or land. Therefore, having personal things is not outlawed in socialism.

As the means of productions are owned collectively, so are their outputs. The values, derived from the commonly owned means, are divided based on people’s input. Before people receive their shared, the state deduct a percentage, used for some common needs. Such needs may include health, education or transportation. Other than public ownership, socialism is characterized by planning all economic activities, aspiration for egalitarian society and guarantee of the basic needs to the people of the country. The government also tends to control prices under socialism and ensure social welfare.

Socialism was accepted by various countries in the 20th century, but in most of them it declined. However,socialism pros and cons can be listed to understand why people’s interest to socialism increased in the 21st century. However, socialism economy pros and cons are diverse, ranging in different aspects of life and the political structure’s influence on them. That is why the socialism pros and cons list in full is hard to be provided, but they can include the following aspects.

Advantages of socialism include:

  1. Common access to health care and education. Living in a socialist society implies having an opportunity to receive medical and educational services at lower prices. As the institutions will be controlled by the government, it will also ensure the adequate pricing and accessibility.
  2. Leveled earnings and even wealth. Other than managing prices, in capitalism the government also oversees people’s earnings. The income is evened by way of using progressive tax system, which means that people with higher income pay higher taxes.
  3. General class equality. Socialist government strives for classless society. Regarding everyone equal will decrease the gap between the poor and the rich and will allow for people to have similar opportunities and life conditions.
  4. Common good is the aim. As social welfare is one of the top priorities in socialist countries, it is fitting for the government to promote common good. Thus, it ensures social cohesion and lack of selfish goals in life, while making people aim at what is good for society in general. This will also help people to see how their contribution is important to others.
  5. Benefits of public ownership. Having common good as the main goal and being directed by public interest, companies will be more stable and easily accessible.

While these advantages are numerous, to give the pros and cons of socialism, it is necessary to remember, that these objectives are not always reached, and also there are some negative sides.

  1. Major government control of the economy. Having government structures control all stages and parts of production and distribution of goods and services may lead to bureaucracy and inefficiency. At the same time common workers will have no say in important matters, so the government may not understand people’s needs.
  2. The class equality may be utopian. The differences of socialism and capitalism can be described at, “In theory, everyone is equal under socialism. In practice, hierarchies do emerge and party officials and well-connected individuals find themselves in better positions to receive favored goods”.
  3. Lack of work motivation. Ensuring comfortable and potentially needless lives can result I people not having motivation to work hard as they will have no stimulus to improve their lives.

To better define the pros and cons of socialism compared to other regimes, this table was made by The Balance website:

Attribute Socialism Capitalism Communism Fascism
Factors of production are owned by: Everyone Individuals Everyone Individuals
Factors of production are valued for: Usefulness to people Profit Usefulness to people Nation building
Allocation decided by: Central plan Demand and supply Central plan Central plan
From each according to their: Ability Market decides Ability Value to the nation
To each according to their: Contribution Wealth Need Value to the nation
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