1. Theoretical perspective
Socialism and capitalism are the ideologies that are based on political and economic philosophy which a state follows in order to attain the welfare of its people and growth of the nation. There are many variations of socialism, and as such there is no single definition encampassing all aspects of socialism. (Lamb and Dochery, 2006, P.1). Moreover, Socialism can be conceived as a system of socio-economic ownership. It is a social and a political philosophy advocating a system that has features of the control on the production and its means.
(Tormey, 2004, 10) states that 'Capitalism' is generally considered by scholars as 'an economic system that includes a control on the means of production, right to own, creation of services in order to get economic benefit, accumulation of capital etc. It has been attempted by different philosophers to identify the root and the dimensions of the concept. 'Capitalism' thus, is variously defined by many, and there isn't any complete consensus among scholars on the definition or on how the term should be used as a historical category. (Tormey, 2004, 10).
2. Socialism VS Capitalism
The following is a comparison between the two ideologies. Only the highlights have been presented as under:
- Socialism is an economic system based on the principle of equality.
- Capitalism is an economic system based on the principle of individual rights.
- Wealth and services are equitably shared by all members of society based on the individual’s efforts.
- Each individual works for his own wealth.
- The professional ethics of an individual will increase if he gets the wealth and services in a shared environment.
- Capitalists believe that it is man’s nature of being competitive that will drive him to work more for more wealth.
Provides all citizens with equal opportunity for their survival needs, creating a shared environment. Capitalism promotes a decentralized economic system in which one individual is in the focus.
2.1. Advantages of Socialism
Socialism provides the government with control of all social functions. The philosophy of socialism leads to the provision to all citizens with their survival needs, creating a shared social environment.
The postulates of Socialism promote the ownership and control of the means of production by the society as a whole. People who are unable to take part in economic activity due to some challenges: mental, age or health related. They are also given due importance with in some limitations.
It discourages hard work, individual efforts and one's achievement. Under the umbrella of 'Socialism' , money is considered to be a social property, thus it is equally distributed among all the members of the society. As a result, 'negative motivation' is found in some individuals especially the ones who work harder than the others. The concept of equal distribution of everything leads to certain disadvantages. For example, medical/health care needs to be provided according to the specific conditions of the patients. Education can also be given to those who may need specific education apart from basic literacy. But, the followers of socialism may not be able to do justice in such situations.
2.3. Advantages of Capitalism
Every individual has the right to possess property for his ultimate survival as it provides individuals a sense of security and prosperity. Ownership of property brings responsibility and allows individuals to plan for his own future and their families, and accordingly strive to accomplish his goals.
A decentralized economic system as incorporated by the capitalists becomes one of the greatest advantages of capitalism. In a decentralized economy, individuals are open to more number of options in business to the extent they may earn, save and develop. They are supposed to be in a competitive society, explore options, identify life challenges and find ways to remain be in the competition of various types.
The component of 'self-organization' is an integral part of 'capitalism'. The prospect and promise of profits reinforce the concerned leaders/entrepreneurs to exploit their knowledge/skills and resources to satisfy day to day needs of human life. Thus the activities of millions of people, each seeking his own interest, are coordinated.(Herbet,2001, pp87-89)
2.3. Disadvantages of Capitalism
Capitalism facilitates a few people to possess property. These people are generally monetarily sound. Thus, many poor people are left with nothing. This leads to 'inequality', misuse of human capital (man power) and dividing the society into ' the haves' and 'the haves not'.
As 'Capitalism' doesn't rely on centralized economic system, the same can be a factor of disadvantage as well because one or chosen individuals will have the opportunity to explore more opportunities to get involved as a part of business. This may lead to a gap between a chosen section and the deprived people who can't earn more. Economists differ from each other on the issues related to the capitalism.
Some believe in its strengths, while others complain about the unfair distribution of wealth it may lead to. Some think that a hard reality of life and sheer competitive attitude may lead to the major flaws in the guiding principles of the capitalist philosophy. They are of the opinion that a capitalist society and economy can induce a sense of even negative competition as 'Capitalism' gives birth to an economy/money based society. All those concerned with the 'Business', industry and production look at everything from a materialistic perspectives.
3. US Political Model: a critique
It has been noticed that for a couple of years, the USA has been facing with economic constraints. And, this give rise to the criticism against it especially by those who are philosophically, politically and economically are different from the US. Chinese economists in particular are highly critical of the US model because they are socialist state. The United States is often seen as having liberal and democratic-capitalist as its political-economic ideology. Many others are of the view that the state is getting more autocratic in approach day by day.
Socialists consider that capitalism as a system is not justified as most of its postulates lead to the practical political system which assures the common interests of the chosen owners of capital who have been exploiting the group of most of the deprived sections of the society. And, this gives rise to division of the human society on the sheer basis of money. And, perhaps this was the reason that the movement of socialism led by Karl Marx and Lenin came in to existence. The socialists states like the then Russia became very powerful. Nowadays, the model adopted by the largest populated country (China) has recently proved that its model is better that the existing model of America. India's political model is always on the way to proving its effectiveness in all the aspects despite the fact that it is next to China as regards the population.
This is perhaps the high time for the US to re-think and propose a model that can be proved to be more compatible with the present need of the society and economy. It has been noticed by many that US political leaders have been found to have been deciding in favour of short-term gains. But they have already failed in taking crucial decision related to far-sighted long-term decisions. This may lead to the conclusion that all the important US plans need to ensure the solid base and strength of the economy.
4. Concluding remarks
There are hundreds of nations so there are many political systems in the world. Basically there exists two forms of governments-based on the political ideologies: socialism and capitalism. Both the philosophical theories have advantages and disadvantages. Most nations are inspired by socialism, even many Islamic nations support the theory of socialism by practising the model of Islamic socialism. But US could not adapt to the model of socialism that is based on equality of facilities. On the other hand, it lays due emphasis on individual efforts and accumulation of goods and wealth depending on the person's caliber, hard work etc. Many immigrants who are settled in the US are found complaining against the system in the US: aspects of their lives, working hour, unfavorably conditions at home due to poor earning.
Tormey, S (2004) Anti-Capitalism. Oxford: One World Publications.
Peter Lamb, J. C. Docherty. ( 2006) Historical dictionary of socialism., UK, Oxford, E: Scarecrow Press, Inc,.
Herbert, W. (2001). Education and Capitalism. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press.