Comparison chart Capitalism Socialism

Comparison chart
Capital (or the "means of production")
is owned, operated, and traded for the
purpose of generating profits for
private owners or shareholders.
Emphasis on individual profit rather
than on workers or society as a whole.
From each according to his ability, to
each according to his contribution.
Emphasis on profit being distributed
among the society or workforce in
addition to receiving a wage.
Laissez-faire means to "let it be";
opposed to government intervention in
economics because capitalists believe
it introduces inefficiencies. Free
market produces the best economic
outcome for society. Govt. should not
pick winners and losers.
All people should be given an equal
opportunity to succeed. Workers
should have most say in their factory's
management. The free market suffers
from problems like tragedy of the
commons. Government regulation is
Key elements:
The accumulation of capital drives
economic activity - the need to
continuously produce profits and
reinvest this profit into the economy.
"Production for profit": useful goods
and services are a byproduct of
pursuing profit.
Economic activity and production
especially are adjusted to meet human
needs and economic demands.
"Production for use": useful goods and
services are produced specifically for
their usefulness.
Relies principally on markets to
determine investment, production and
distribution decisions. Markets may be
free-markets, regulated-markets, or
may be combined with a degree of
state-directed economic planning or
planning within private companies.
Planned-Socialism relies principally on
planning to determine investment and
production decisions. Planning may be
centralized or decentralized. Marketsocialism relies on markets for
allocating capital to different sociallyowned enterprises.
The means of production are privatelyowned and operated for a private
profit. This drives incentives for
producers to engage in economic
The means of production are sociallyowned with the surplus value
produced accruing to either all of
society (in Public-ownership models)
or to all the employee-members of the
enterprise (in Cooperative-ownership
Classical liberalism, Social liberalism,
Libertarianism, Neo-liberalism,
Modern Social-Democracy
Democratic Socialism, Communism,
Libertarian Socialism, Anarchism,
Economic System:
Free-Market economy.
Wealth redistributed so that everyone
in society is given somewhat equal
shares of the benefits derived from
labor, but people can earn more if they
work harder. Means of production are
controlled by the workers themselves.
Key Proponents:
Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Milton
Friedman, Fredrich Hayek, Ayn Rand
Robert Owen, Pierre Leroux, Karl
Marx, Fredrick Engels, John Stuart
Mill, Albert Einstein, George Bernard
Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Emma Goldman
Way of Change:
Fast change within the system. In
theory, the relationship between buyer
and seller (the market) is what fuels
what is produced. Government can
change rules of conduct/business
practices through regulation or ease of
Workers in a Socialist-state are the
agent of change rather than any
market or desire on the part of
consumers. Change by the workers
can be swift or slow, depending on
change in ideology or even whim.
Permitted/Freedom of Religion
freedom of religion
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