Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.
- Socialism is not the invention of an individual. It is essentially the outcome of economic and social conditions. The evils that Capitalism brings differ in intensity in different countries, but, the root cause of the trouble once discerned, the remedy is seen to be the same by thoughtful men and women. The cause is the private ownership of the means of life; the remedy is public ownership.
- Clement Attlee, The Labour Party in Perspective (Left Book Club, 1937), p. 15
- We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.
- Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
You would oppose law to socialism. But it is the law which socialism invokes. It aspires to legal, not extra-legal plunder…. You wish to prevent it from taking any part in the making of laws. You would keep it outside the Legislative Palace. In this you will not succeed, I venture to prophesy, so long as legal plunder is the basis of the legislation within.
It is absolutely necessary that this question of legal plunder should be determined, and there are only three solutions of it:—
1. When the few plunder the many.
2. When everybody plunders everybody else.
3. When nobody plunders anybody.
Partial plunder, universal plunder, absence of plunder, amongst these we have to make our choice. The law can only produce one of these results.
Partial plunder.—This is the system which prevailed so long as the elective privilege was partial; a system which is resorted to, to avoid the invasion of socialism.
Universal plunder.—We have been threatened by this system when the elective privilege has become universal; the masses having conceived the idea of making law, on the principle of legislators who had preceded them.
Absence of plunder.—This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, conciliation, and of good sense.
- Frédéric Bastiat, Essays on Political Economy (c. 1850s), part 4, "The Law", p. 20.
- Socialists take over from bourgeois capitalist society its materialism, its atheism, its cheap prophets, its hostility against the spirit and all spiritual life, its restless striving for success and amusement, its personal selfishness, its incapacity for interior recollection.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, The End of Our Time (1919), as translated by Donald Atwater (1933), p. 93
- It appears that liberty is bound up with imperfection, with a right to imperfection. Socialism leads to the same type of authoritarian state as Theocracy. ... One must choose: either Socialism or liberty of spirit, the liberty of man's conscience. ... Socialism uses a "sacred" authority and establishes a "sacred" society in which there is no place for the "lay," for the free, for choice, for the unrestrained activity of human forces.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, The End of Our Time (1919), as translated by Donald Atwater (1933), pp. 188-189
- Let me hear that dirty word Socialism.
- I am a Socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, Socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for co-operation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality, not because it wants people to be the same but because only through equality in our economic circumstances can our individuality develop properly.
- Tony Blair, in his maiden speech as MP for Sedgefield (6 July 1983) as quoted in Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 45, col. 316.
- Socialists propose to supplant the competitive planning of capitalism with a highly centralized planned economy. Our aim is frankly international and not narrowly patriotic (Daughters of the American Revolution please notice), but I cannot here discuss socialism's international policies. If we gained control of the American Government, we would probably begin with a complete revision of the national governmental system. We would do one of two things. We would write an amendment to the Constitution giving the Federal Government the right to regulate all private business and to enter into any business which it deemed proper, or we would abolish the Constitution altogether and give the National Congress the power to interpret the people's will subject only to certain general principles of free speech and free assemblage.
- Paul Blanshard, "Socialist and Capitalist Planning", The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (July 1932), p. 10.
- If we are to avoid the mistakes in over one hundred years of proletarian socialism, if we are to really achieve a liberatory movement, not simply in terms of economic questions but in terms of every aspect of life, we would have to turn to anarchism because it alone posed the problem, not merely of class domination but hierarchical domination, and it alone posed the question, not simply of economic exploitation, but exploitation in every sphere of life. And it was that growing awareness, that we had to go beyond classism into hierarchy, and beyond exploitation into domination, that led me into anarchism, and to a commitment to an anarchist outlook.
- I believe Socialism is the grandest theory ever presented, and I am sure it will someday rule the world. Then we will have attained the Millennium. … Then men will be content to work for the general welfare and share their riches with their neighbors.
- Andrew Carnegie in New York Times (1 January 1885) "A Millionaire Socialist".
- The consistent anarchist, then, should be a socialist, but a socialist of a particular sort. He will not only oppose alienated and specialized labor and look forward to the appropriation of capital by the whole body of workers, but he will also insist that this appropriation be direct, not exercised by some elite force acting in the name of the proletariat.
- Noam Chomsky, "Notes on Anarchism," in Daniel Guérin Anarchism: From Theory to Practice (1970).
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
- Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (22 October 1945)
- Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
- Winston Churchill, speech at the Scottish Unionist Conference, Perth, Scotland (28 May 1948)
- All possessions are by nature unrighteous when a man possess them for personal advantage as being entirely his own, and does not bring them into the common stock for those in need.
- Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man's Salvation, p. 337
- If you see a nation as a cart, it must have two wheels; otherwise it will not go. If one wheel alone is capitalism, it will not move. If one wheel alone is socialism, it will not move. The only thing that will make the cart, that is your political/economic structure, work properly is to have the best of socialism and the best of capitalism. The Masters advise 70 per cent socialism to 30 per cent capitalism as the best proportion.
- The problem is that capitalists typically don't know how to divide the pie well and socialists typically don't know how to grow it well... Resources need to be redistributed for the purpose of providing equal opportunity to the vast majority of Americans. This can be done through increasing taxes on the wealthy, further taxing societally harmful things like pollution, and develop public-private partnerships that link business goals with societal goals.
- The issue is Socialism versus Capitalism. I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough. Money constitutes no proper basis of civilization. The time has come to regenerate society — we are on the eve of universal change.
- Eugene V. Debs, in an open letter to the American Railway Union, Chicago Railway Times (1 January 1897).
- Ignorance alone stands in the way of Socialist success. The capitalist parties understand this and use their resources to prevent the workers from seeing the light. Intellectual darkness is essential to industrial slavery. Capitalist parties stand for Slavery and Night. The Socialist Party is the herald of Freedom and Light.
- Eugene Debs, "The Socialist Party and the Working Class" (1904), in Classics of American Political and Constitutional Thought, Volume 2: Reconstruction to the Present, p. 288
- Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Yes? Well socialism is exactly the reverse.
- Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
- Raya Dunayevskaya, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, p. 210
- We face a probable future of nuclear-armed states warring over a scarcity of resources; and that scarcity is largely the consequence of capitalism itself. For the first time in history, our prevailing form of life has the power not simply to breed racism and spread cultural cretinism, drive us into war or herd us into labour camps, but to wipe us from the planet. Capitalism will behave antisocially if it is profitable for it to do so, and that can now mean human devastation on an unimaginable scale. What used to be apocalyptic fantasy is today no more than sober realism. The traditional leftist slogan "Socialism or barbarism" was never more grimly apposite.
- Terry Eagleton, Why Marx was Right (2011), p. 8
- Historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.
- Albert Einstein, "Why Socialism?", an essay originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).
- Socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society. For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.
- Albert Einstein, "Why Socialism?", an essay originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).
- The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labour...I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
- I believe that for the past twenty years there has been a creeping socialism spreading in the United States.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, off-the-cuff speech to Republican leaders, Custer State Park, South Dakota (June 11, 19530; in Robert J. Donovan, Eisenhower: The Inside Story (1956), p. 336. At his press conference in Washington, D.C., June 17, 1953, President Eisenhower was asked what he meant by "creeping socialism". Donovan writes, "He replied: continued Federal expansion of the T.V.A. He reiterated for what he said was the thousandth time that he would not destroy the T.V.A., but he said that he thought it was socialistic to continue putting money paid by all the taxpayers into a single region which could then attract industry away from other areas" (p. 336). See also Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, p. 433.
- Slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism.
- George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society, Richmond: VA, Morris (1854) pp. 27-28
- [Louis Napoleon] is a socialist and socialism is the new fashionable name of slavery. ... [His] Queen is providing nurseries and nurses for the children of working women, just as we Southerners do for our negro women and children. It is a great economy.
- George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South, or, the Failure of Free Society, Richmond: VA, Morris (1854) p. 42
- Marx argued that all human history was dominated by a tussle for the wealth between classes, one of which took the wealth, and used it to exploit the others. As science and technology developed, so one exploiting class was replaced by another that used the resources of society more efficiently. The necessity for exploitation, he observed, had ended with capitalism. If the working class, the masses who cooperate to produce the wealth, could seize the means of production from the capitalist class, they could put an end to exploitation forever and run society on the lines of the famous slogan: ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’
- In the ideal socialist state, power will not attract power freaks. People who make decisions will show no slightest bias towards their own interests. There will be no way for a clever man to bend the institutions to serve his own ends. And the rivers will run uphill.
- David D. Friedman , The Machinery of Freedom: A Guide to Radical Capitalism, chap: "Buckshot for a Socialist Friend" (1973) p. 108
- [A] society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom.
- Milton Friedman, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- [W]herever socialism has teeth, it veers closer to gangsterism because it depends on the use of arbitrary power, either by the state or, in essence, the mob.
- For us there is no valid definition of socialism other than the abolition of the exploitation of one human being by another.
- Che Guevara, speech to the Second Economic Seminar of Afro-Asian Solidarity in Algiers, Algeria (24 February 1965)
- Socialism cannot exist without a change in consciousness resulting in a new fraternal attitude toward humanity, both at an individual level, within the societies where socialism is being built or has been built, and on a world scale, with regard to all peoples suffering from imperialist oppression.
- Che Guevara, speech to the Second Economic Seminar of Afro-Asian Solidarity in Algiers, Algeria (24 February 1965)
- Socialism proposes to dethrone the brute-god Mammon and to lift humanity into its place.
- History is one long record of like illustrations. Must our modern civilisation with all its teeming wonders come to a like end? We are reproducing in faithful detail every cause which led to the downfall of the civilisations of other days—Imperialism, taking tribute from conquered races, the accumulation of great fortunes, the development of a population which owns no property, and is always in poverty. Land has gone out of cultivation and physical deterioration is an alarming fact. An so we Socialists say the system which is producing these results must not be allowed to continue. A system which has robbed religion of its saviour, destroyed handicraft, which awards the palm of success to the unscrupulous, corrupts the press, turns pure women on the streetsm and upright men into mean-spirited time-servers, cannot continue. In the end it is bound to work its own overthrow. Socialism with its promise of freedom, its larger hope for humanity, its triumph of peace over war, its binding of the races of the earth into one all-embracing brotherhood, must prevail. Capitalism is the creed of the dying present; socialism throbs with the life of the days that are to be. It has claimed its martyrs in the past, is claiming them now, will claim them still; but what then? Better to "rebel and die in the twenty worlds sooner than bear the yoke of thwarted life."
- Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism (1907), p. 103–104.
- I've always doubted that the socialists had a leg to stand on intellectually. They have improved their argument somehow, but once you begin to understand that prices are an instrument of communication and guidance which embody more information than we directly have, the whole idea that you can bring about the same order based on the division of labor by simple direction falls to the ground. Similarly, the idea [that] you can arrange for distributions of incomes which correspond to some conception of merit or need. If you need prices, including the prices of labor, to direct people to go where they are needed, you cannot have another distribution except the one from the market principle. I think that intellectually there is just nothing left of socialism.
- Socialism assumes that all the available knowledge can be used by a single central authority. It overlooks that the model society which I now prefer to call the extended order which exceeds the perception of any individual mind is based on the utilization of widely dispersed knowledge, and once you are aware that we can achieve that great utilization of available resources only because we utilize the knowledge of millions of men, it becomes clear that the assumption of socialism is that a central authority in command of all this knowledge is just not correct!
- Socialism has taught many people that they possess claims irrespective of performance, irrespective of participation. In the light of the morals that produced the extended order of civilisation, socialists in fact incite people to break the law.
- Only in a socialist system are the interests of the individual, the state and the collective at one.
- Ho Chi Minh, "Report on the Draft Amended Constitution" (1959)
- The empirical evidence shows that socialism is an obvious failure. And the cause of socialism's failure is crystal clear: there is almost no private ownership of the means of production, and almost all factors of production are owned in common in precisely the same way that Americans own the Postal Service.
- Misesian economics shows that socialism fails because it violates the irrefutable laws of economics-among them the law of exchange, the law of diminishing marginal utility, the Ricardian law of association, the law of price controls, and the quantity theory of money-which can be deduced from the axiom of action by means of applied logic. And thus we can know-beforehand and absolutely-what the consequences of socialism will be wherever it is tried.
Being an Anarchist I am also a Socialist. Socialism is the antithesis of Anarchy. One is the North Pole of Truth, the other the South. The Socialist believes in working for the good of all, while Anarchy is pure Individualism. I believe in every man working for the good of self; and in working for the good of self, he works for the good of all. To think, to see, to feel, to know; to deal justly; to bear all patiently; to act quietly; to speak cheerfully; to moderate one's voice—these things will bring you the highest good. They will bring you the love of the best, and the esteem of that Sacred Few, whose good opinion alone is worth cultivating. And further than this, it is the best way you can serve Society—live your life. The wise way to benefit humanity is to attend to your own affairs, and thus give other people an opportunity to look after theirs.
If there is any better way to teach virtue than by practicing it, I do not know it.
- Elbert Hubbard, in "The Better Part" (1901).
- This isn't new. Those who favor socialism always make the moral case for it. The truth is, maybe they actually believe in it, but in the real world, socialism harms, it weakens the economies of countries that have tried it. It just does. Weaker economies hurt everybody in them. Socialism kills incentive, opportunity, freedom. It is the opposite of what America is all about. Look, socialism always harms the people it claims to help the most. It handicaps them, leaving them weaker, less self-determined, less free. We should have this debate out in the open.
- We have to say yes to socialism — to the word and everything ... Medicare for all, ending student debt, a different approach to the war on terror, ending mass incarceration.
- Jim Carrey says "stop apologizing" and "say yes to socialism" (September 2018)
- ‘Socialism’ is a 19th century idea with a 20th century history.
- Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land (2010), "What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy?"
- "Socialism with a human face"? ... Frankenstein also had a human face.
- The failure of capitalism is still much better than the success of socialism.
- The socialist economy has become so strong, so vigorous that from the summits we have reached we can issue an open challenge of peaceful economic competition to the most powerful capitalist country—the United States of America.
- This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted by Bernie Sanders on Democratic Socialism in the United States (19 November 2015)
- No cause, ever, in the history of all mankind, has produced more cold-blooded tyrants, more slaughtered innocents, and more orphans than socialism with power. It surpassed, exponentially, all other systems of production in turning out the dead. The bodies are all around us. And here is the problem: No one talks about them. No one honors them. No one does penance for them. No one has committed suicide for having been an apologist for those who did this to them. No one pays for them. No one is hunted down to account for them. It is exactly what Solzhenitsyn foresaw in The Gulag Archipelago: "No, no one would have to answer. No one would be looked into."
- Socialism, wherever it actually had the means to plan a society, to pursue efficaciously its vision of the abolition of private property, economic inequality, and the allocation of capital and goods by free markets, culminated in the crushing of individual, economic, religious, associational, and political liberty. Its collectivization of agriculture alone led to untold suffering, scarcity, and contempt for property as the fruit of labor...
The cognitive behavior of Western intellectuals faced with the accomplishments of their own society, on the one hand, and with the socialist ideal and then the socialist reality, on the other, takes one's breath away...
[R]egimes of central planning create poverty and occasion ineluctable developments toward totalitarianism and the worst abuses of power. Dynamic free-market societies, grounded in rights-based individualism, have altered the entire human conception of liberty and of dignity for formerly marginalized groups. The entire "socialist experiment," by contrast, ended in stasis; ethnic hatreds; the absence of even the minimal preconditions of economic, social, and political renewal; and categorical contempt for both individuation and minority rights. Our children do not know this true comparison.
- Socialism is easily understood by any child; it is taking other people's stuff... [S]ocialism with authentic, political power must lead to tyranny and cruelty... Socialism almost never has been judged as a goal in value by the experience of communism in power... Until socialism is confronted with its lived, communist reality, the gravest atrocities of all recorded human life, we live in its age.
- The major political event of the twentieth century is the death of socialism.
- Irving Kristol, Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea (1995)
- Cannibalism is actually a sort of dietetic socialism. Here is the ultimate sacrifice. A human life is taken for the purpose of maximizing the ‘public welfare.’
- Robert LeFevre, The Fundamentals of Liberty by , Santa Ana: CA, Rampart Institute (1988) p. 375.
- We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labour. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called socialism.
- Vladimir Lenin, "To the Rural Poor", Collected Works, vol. 6, p. 366.
- Whoever wants to reach socialism by any other path than that of political democracy will inevitably arrive at conclusions that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense.
- Vladimir Lenin, "Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution" (1905), Collected Works, vol. 9, p. 29.
- The old trick of the reactionaries: first to misinterpret socialism by making it out to be an absurdity, and then to triumphantly refute the absurdity! ... Experience and reason prove that men are not equal ... in physical strength and mental ability. ... But this kind of equality has nothing whatever to do with socialism. ... By political equality Social-Democrats mean equal rights, and ... abolition of classes. As for establishing human equality in the sense of equality of strength and abilities (physical and mental), socialists do not even think of such things.
- Vladimir Lenin, "A Liberal Professor on Equality", 1914.
- There are certain types of people who are political out of a kind of religious reason [...] I think it's fairly common among socialists: They are, in fact, God-seekers, looking for the kingdom of God on earth. A lot of religious reformers have been like that, too. It's the same psychological set, trying to abolish the present in favor of some better future — always taking it for granted that there is a better future. If you don't believe in heaven, then you believe in socialism. When I was in my real Communist phase, I and the people around me really believed — but, of course, this makes us certifiable — that something like 10 years after World War II, the world would be Communist and perfect.
- Doris Lessing, as quoted in "Doris Lessing on Feminism, Communism and Space Fiction" (25 July 1982), Lesley Hazelton, New York Times Book Review
- Let us not destroy those wonderful machines that produce efficiently and cheaply. Let us control them. Let us profit by their efficiency and cheapness. Let us run them for ourselves. Let us oust the present owners of the wonderful machines, and let us own the wonderful machines ourselves. That, gentlemen, is socialism, a greater combination than the trusts, a greater economic and social combination than any that has as yet appeared on the planet. It is in line with evolution. We meet combination with greater combination.
- Jack London, The Iron Heel, Chapter VIII, "The Machine Breakers".
- Merely pointing to the fact that some people have a lot more than others is less compelling as a critique; it invites the response “So what? Those who have more aren’t hurting anybody; you’re just appealing to envy.” By contrast, being able to show that those who enjoy a higher socioeconomic status have to a considerable extent achieved and maintained that status by forcibly expropriating and oppressing the less affluent provides for a far more effective indictment.
- Roderick Long, "Left-libertarianism, market anarchism, class conflict and historical theories of distributive justice," Griffith Law Review, Vol. 21 Issue 2 (2012), pp. 413-431.
- Socialism, is in short a manifestation of mental illness or major character deficiency.
- Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism.
- Rosa Luxemburg, Junius Pamphlet (1916)
- The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
- Norman Mailer, as quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter
- It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.
- Nelson Mandela, statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court, (20 April 1964).
- Americans have been trained by decades of Cold War propaganda to look for any confirmation that “socialism means poverty.”
- The problems plaguing the Venezuelan economy are not due to some inherent fault in socialism, but to artificially low oil prices and sabotage by forces hostile to the revolution.
- Starting in 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. This is not a mere business decision, but a calculated move coordinated with U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals... The result has been driving the price of oil down from $110 per barrel, to $28 in the early months of this year. The goal is to weaken these opponents of Wall Street, London, and Tel Aviv, whose economies are centered around oil and natural gas exports....
- At the same time, private food processing and importing corporations have launched a coordinated campaign of sabotage. This, coupled with the weakening of a vitally important state sector of the economy, has resulted in inflation and food shortages. The artificially low oil prices have left the Venezuelan state cash-starved, prompting a crisis in the funding of the social programs that were key to strengthening the United Socialist Party.
- It is the common error of Socialists to overlook the natural indolence of mankind; their tendency to be passive, to be the slaves of habit, to persist indefinitely in a course once chosen. Let them once attain any state of existence which they consider tolerable, and the danger to be apprehended is that they will thenceforth stagnate; will not exert themselves to improve, and by letting their faculties rust, will lose even the energy required to preserve them from deterioration. Competition may not be the best conceivable stimulus, but it is at present a necessary one, and no one can foresee the time when it will not be indispensable to progress.
- The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!
- Socialism as a universal mode of production is impracticable because it is impossible to make economic calculations within a socialist system. The choice for mankind is not between two economic systems. It is between capitalism and chaos.
- Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and the Total War, Mises Institute (2010) p. 55. First published in 1944 by Yale University Press.
- Thus socialism must lead to the dissolution of democracy. The sovereignty of the consumers and the democracy of the market are the characteristic features of the capitalist system. Their corollary in the realm of politics is the people’s sovereignty and democratic control of government.
- Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and the Total War, Mises Institute (2010) p. 53. First published in 1944 by Yale University Press.
- Unquestionably, Bolshevism has ruined the economic life of Russia... For our part, we declare war on socialism, not because it is socialism, but because it has opposed nationalism.
- Benito Mussolini, Il Popolo d'Italia, 23 March 1919. Reprinted in Charles Floyd Delzell, Mediterranean Fascism 1919–1945. Springer, 1971. Marco Piraino; Stefano Fiorito, Fascist identity : political project and doctrine of fascism Lulu.com, 2009.
- No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State. Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon.
- Some still ask of us: what do you want? We answer with three words that summon up our entire program. Here they are…Italy, Republic, Socialization. . .Socialization is no other than the implantation of Italian Socialism…
- Benito Mussolini as quoted in Revolutionary Fascism, Erik Norling, Lisbon, Finis Mundi Press (2011) pp.119-120. Speech given by Mussolini to a group of Milanese Fascist veterans on October 14, 1944.
- Socialism itself can hope to exist only for brief periods here and there, and then only through the exercise of the extremest terrorism. For this reason it is secretly preparing itself for rule through fear and is driving the word ‘justice’ into the heads of the half-educated masses like a nail so as to rob them of their reason... and to create in them a good conscience for the evil game they are to play.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 173-174. First published in 1878.
- [There is] not a single free socialism to be found anywhere in the world.
- Robert Nisbet, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- Lacking much historical information and assuming (1) that victims of injustice generally do worse than they otherwise would and (2) that those from the least well-off group in the society have the highest probabilities of being the (descendants of) victims of the most serious injustice who are owed compensation by those who benefited from the injustices, ... then a rough rule of thumb for rectifying injustices might seem to be the following: organize society so as to maximize the position of whatever group ends up least well-off in the society. ... These issues are very complex and are best left to a full treatment of the principle of rectification. In the absence of such a treatment applied to a particular society, one cannot use the analysis and theory presented here to condemn any particular scheme of transfer payments, unless it is clear that no considerations of rectification of injustice could apply to justify it. Although to introduce socialism as the punishment for our sins would be to go too far, past injustices might seem to be so great as to make necessary in the short run a more extensive state in order to rectify them.
- In addition to this there is the horrible—the really disquieting—prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
- As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.
- In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.
- Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.
- In three ways unemployment would be reduced. First ... by greater equalization of purchasing power and consequent stimulus in the form of effective demand. Second, by utilizing the national credit and socialized industries for the creation of new industries and the extension of existing ones. ... Social ownership and operation of the basic industries, and especially socialized banking and credit, would greatly facilitate the task of shifting the masses of unemployed into productive channels. Third, if necessary, by shortening working hours and dividing the available work among all the people.
- The actual participants in industry under individualism are prompted to action by the following combination of incentives: desire for an income, desire for a higher income, desire for security, satisfaction received from shouldering responsibility or from wielding power, the joy of participation in creative activity, and the desire for applause and prestige. ... And all these motivations may be conserved and strengthened under socialism.
- Kirby Page, Property (1935).
- A social order in which the maximum legal income is not more than tenfold the minimum... and in which competition for private profit has been eliminated, and in which social motivations are more dominant, is certain to be a more harmonious community than can ever be created by economic individualism.
- Kirby Page, Property (1935).
- The system of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production, with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are master of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism. They receive their wages and are exploited by the State as the only mammoth capitalist. So the name State capitalism can be applied with precisely the same meaning. The entirety of the ruling and leading bureaucracy of officials is the actual owner of the factories, the possessing class.
- Antonie Pannekoek, Workers Councils (1947), Section 2.5
- The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.
- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (1991).
- The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work.
- Rand Paul, as quoted in Kentucky Tonight (16 June 1998), KET
- The merger of political and economic power implicit in socialism greatly strengthens the ability of the state and its bureaucracy to control the population. Theoretically, this capacity need not be exercised and need not lead to growing domination of the population by the state. In practice, such a tendency is virtually inevitable. For one thing, the socialization of the economy must lead to a numerical growth of the bureaucracy required to administer it, and this process cannot fail to augment the power of the state. For another, socialism leads to a tug of war between the state, bent on enforcing its economic monopoly, and the ordinary citizen, equally determined to evade it; the result is repression and the creation of specialized repressive organs.
- Richard Pipes, as quoted in "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: A Symposium" (1 April 1978), edited by William Barrett, Commentary
- I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism... Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy... The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.
- Lars Løkke Rasmussen, "Nordic Solutions and Challenges: A Danish Perspective" (October 2015), speech to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
- In the strictly Marxist sense, there is not even in Soviet Russia a state socialism but a state capitalism. According to Marx, the social condition "capitalism" does not consist in the existence of individual capitalists, but in the existence of the specific "capitalist mode of production", that is, in the production of exchange values instead of use values, in wage work of the masses and in the production of surplus value, which is appropriated by the state or the private owners, and not by the society of working people. In this strictly Marxist sense, the capitalistic system continues to exist in Russia. And it will continue to exist as long as the masses of people continue to lack responsibility and to crave authority.
- Wilhelm Reich, in his Introduction to the third edition of The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1945).
- You are afraid of life, Little Man, deadly afraid. You will murder it in the belief of doing it for the sake of "socialism," or "the state," or "national honor," or "the glory of God."
- Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man! (1948).
- The Idiots of socialism are slaves, but they are no one's property and therefore no one's loss... Under communism (socialism), there is no incentive to supply people with anything they need or want, including safety.
- George Reisman, Capitalism : A Treatise on Economics (1996).
- A socialist is someone who wants politicians to decide who gets what; a “democratic socialist” wants the politicians to at least stand for election first. ... Socialism does have a siren call — essentially, the promise that if you vote for socialists, they’ll take stuff away from other people and give it to you. Since many people would rather have free stuff given to them in the name of “fairness” than have to work to get their own stuff, it’s never hard to round up votes with that approach. As the saying goes, a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can count on getting Paul’s vote. ... The history of the 20th century was basically that of the swath of destruction left across the globe by socialist ideas, from the international socialism of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union to the national socialism of Adolf Hitler. ... Want real socialism? Look at Venezuela, an oil-exporting nation that is now dead broke even as the family of its socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, reportedly somehow inherited billions at his death in 2013. Redistribution of wealth often seems to involve redistributing most of it to the people on top of the socialist pyramid.
- The future of mankind, for the socialist, is simple: pull down the existing order and allow the future to emerge.
- Why is it after a century of socialist disasters, and an intellectual legacy that has been time and again exploded, the left-wing position remains, as it were, the default position to which thinking people gravitate when called upon for a comprehensive philosophy? Why are "right-wingers" marginalised in the educational system, denounced in the media and regarded by our political class as untouchable, fit only to clean up after the orgies of luxurious nonsense indulged in by their moral superiors?
- Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, Thinkers of the New Left (Bloomsbury, 2015)
- Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide: To Socialism and Capitalism, New York: NY, Brentano (1928) p. 670.
- As we know, socialism is calculational chaos. Rational appraisement and allocation are eternally elusive. It is a gigantic negative-sum game in which each player quickly grabs a piece of the pie, and all the while the pie shrinks before the players' eyes. The welfare/warfare state, the interventionist state, is no improvement. Each intervention begets yet another. Bureaucracy is the only 'industry' guaranteed to experience growth. Each new regulation taxes the private sector, relentlessly shifting resources out of the hands of the productive, and into the hands of the unproductive. Capitalism is the only positive-sum game in town.
- Larry J. Sechrest, in "The Anti-Capitalists : Barbarians at the Gate", Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture at the Austrian Scholars Conference in Auburn, Alabama (15 March 2008).
- Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English.
- George Bernard Shaw David Graham "Inside the Mind of George Bernard Shaw"
- It is far more likely that by the time nationalization has become the rule, and private enterprise the exception, Socialism (which is really rather a bad name for the business) will be spoken of, if at all, as a crazy religion held by a fanatical sect in that darkest of dark ages, the nineteenth century. Already, indeed, I am told that Socialism has had its day, and that the sooner we stop talking nonsense about it and set to work, like the practical people we are, to nationalize the coal mines and complete a national electrification scheme, the better. And I, who said forty years ago that we should have had Socialism already but for the Socialists, am quite willing to drop the name if dropping it will help me to get the thing. What I meant by my jibe at the Socialists of the eighteen-eighties was that nothing is ever done, and much is prevented, by people who do not realize that they cannot do everything at once.
- George Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, And Fascism (1928).
- The trouble is with socialism, which resembles a form of mental illness more than it does a philosophy. Socialists get bees in their bonnets. And because they chronically lack any critical faculty to examine and evaluate their ideas, and because they are pathologically unwilling to consider the opinions of others, and most of all, because socialism is a mindset that regards the individual — and his rights — as insignificant, compared to whatever the socialist believes the group needs, terrible, terrible things happen when socialists acquire power.
- In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as "we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology". The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion. This is one point.
- Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, commencement address speech (“A World Split Apart”) at Harvard University (June 8, 1978)
- Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
- Thomas Sowell, The Thomas Sowell Reader, New York: NY, Basic Books (2011) p. 144, Forbes magazine, "The survival of the left" (Sept. 8, 1997)
- Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.
- Capitalist enterprises buy components from others who have lower costs in producing those particular components, and sell their own output to whatever middlemen can most efficiently carry out its distribution. But a socialist economy may forego these advantages of specialization; and for perfectly rational reasons, given the very different circumstances in which they operate.
- Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 6. The Role of Profits—and Losses.
- What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people—like themselves—need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.
- All socialism involves slavery. What is essential to the idea of a slave? We primarily think of him as one who is owned by another. To be more than nominal, however, the ownership must be shown by control of the slave’s actions, a control which is habitually for the benefit of the controller.
- Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes.
- Oswald Spengler, The Hour Of Decision, Part One : Germany and World-Historical Evolution (1934).
- Wealth in modern societies is distributed according to opportunity; and while opportunity depends partly upon talent and energy, it depends still more upon birth, social position, access to education and inherited wealth; in a word, upon property.
- If by "Property" is meant the personal possessions which the word suggests to nine-tenths of the population, the object of socialists is not to undermine property but to protect and increase it.
- R. H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (1920).
- Socialism accepts... the principles, which are the cornerstones of democracy, that authority to justify its title , must rest on consent; that power is tolerable only so far as it is accountable to the public; and that differences of character and capacity between human beings, however important on their own plane, are of minor importance when compared with the capital fact of their common humanity. Its object is to extend the application of those principles from the sphere of civil and political rights, where, at present, they are nominally recognized, to that of economic and social organization, where they are systematically and insolently defined.
- R. H. Tawney, Equality (1931), p. 197.
- Socialists cry "Power to the people", and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over people, power to the State.
- As for me, I am deeply a democrat; this is why I am in no way a socialist. Democracy and socialism cannot go together. You can't have it both ways...socialism is a new form of slavery.
- Alexis de Tocqueville, "Notes for a Speech on Socialism" (1848).
- Hitler’s socialism was his own and subordinate to his secret aims. His concept of organized economy was close to genuine socialism but he would be a socialist only so long as it served the greater goal.
- John Toland (author) Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (1992), p 314.
- A nationalized planned economy needs democracy, as the human body needs oxygen.
- Leon Trotsky in a statement of 1936, as quoted in The Informed Vision : Essays On Learning And Human Nature (2002) by David Hawkins, p. 25; sometimes paraphrased "Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen."
- America will never be a socialist country.
- Donald Trump, 2019 State of the Union Address
- Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — and not government coercion, domination and control.
- Donald Trump, 2019 State of the Union Address
- Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology rooted in the total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism must always give rise to tyranny ... Socialism is about one thing only: power for the ruling class.
- Donald Trump, as quoted in Trump: ‘America Will Never Be A Socialist Country’, Daily Wire, February 19 2019
- Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty. Socialism promises unity, but it delivers hatred and it delivers division, socialism promises a better future, but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens.
- Donald Trump, as quoted in Trump: ‘America Will Never Be A Socialist Country’, Daily Wire, February 19 2019
- Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit. Socialism means control of the productive forces for the good of the whole community instead of the few who live on hilltops and in mansions. Socialism means priorities based on human need instead of corporate greed. Socialism creates the conditions for a decent and creative quality of life for all.
- The Weather Underground, Prairie Fire (1974)
- The idea of property arises out of the combative instincts of the species. Long before men were men, the ancestral ape was a proprietor. Primitive property is what a beast will fight for. The dog and his bone, the tigress and her lair, the roaring stag and his herd, these are proprietorship blazing. No more nonsensical expression is conceivable in sociology than the term "primitive communism." Society, therefore, is from its beginnings the mitigation of ownership. Ownership in the beast and in the primitive savage was far more intense a thing than it is in the civilized world today. It is rooted more strongly in our instincts than in our reason.
- H.G. Wells, "Pause In Reconstruction And The Dawn Of Modern Socialism", in The Outline of History (1919).
- Socialism is not a bomb thrown at the natural institution of society, but a well-considered medicine for a diseased community.
- Rebecca West, "A Training in Trucelence", in The Clarion, (14 February 1913), re-published in The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West, 1911-17 (1982), p. 157.
- Yet there was an air of good humor about their idealism that made me feel they would not be too offended if I admitted that I regard socialists as well-meaning but muddle-headed brigands.
- Colin Wilson in Access to Inner Worlds, p. 30.
- Nothing has spread Socialistic feeling in this country more than the use of automobiles. To the countryman they are a picture of arrogance of wealth with all its independence and carelessness.
- A study has found that weaker men are more likely to be in favour of redistributive taxation.
- Weak men more likely to be socialists, study claims, The Times, May 24 2017, Tom Whipple
- From the human point of view, return paid to non-human factors of production is unearned. ... The employment of capital instruments and natural resources in economic production requires no personal hardship or exertion from any human being. The economic services provided by these factors of production are not corporeally inherent in human beings. The opposite is true of labor services, which can only be provided through the physical and mental activity of human beings. ... The really grossly exaggerated personal incomes in society are dominated by property income, and this source of inequality would be abrogated by the equalization of property income distribution.
- James A. Yunker, "The Social Dividend Under Market Socialism," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 48, No. 1 (1977), pp. 93-133.
- We can now reintroduce genuine socialism to a world feeling the sickness of capitalism-its nationalist hatreds, its perpetual warfare, riches for a small number of people in a small number of countries, and hunger, homelessness, insecurity for everyone else.
- In the era of Debs, the first seventeen years of the twentieth century-until war created an opportunity to crush the movement-millions of Americans declared their adherence to the principles of socialism. Those were years of bitter labor struggles, the great walkouts of women garment workers in New York, the victorious multi-ethnic strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the unbelievable courage of coal miners in Colorado, defying the power and wealth of the Rockefellers. The I.W.W. was born-revolutionary, militant, demanding "one big union" for everyone, skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native-born and foreign-born... Socialism was especially strong in the Southwest, among tenant farmers, railroad workers, coal miners, lumberjacks. Oklahoma, home of the fiery Kate Richards O'Hare (jailed for opposing the war, she hurled a book through a skylight to bring fresh air into the foul-smelling jail block, bringing cheers from her fellow inmates) had 12,000 dues paying members in 1914 and over a hundred socialists in local offices.
- Anyone who goes around the country, or reads carefully the public opinion surveys over the past decade, can see that huge numbers of Americans agree on what should be the fundamental elements of a decent society: guaranteed food, housing, medical care for everyone; bread and butter as better guarantees of "national security" than guns and bombs, democratic control of corporate power, equal rights for all races, genders and sexual orientations, a recognition of the rights of immigrants as the unrecognized counterparts of our parents and grandparents, the rejection of war and violence as solutions for tyranny and injustice.
- Socialism...must have a dictatorship, it will not work without it.
- Mao Zedong, as quoted in Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945–57 (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 1st U.S. ed. 2013 ISBN 978-1-62040-347-1, pp. 236–237 (author Dikötter chair prof. humanities, University of Hong Kong & was prof. modern history of China, School of Oriental & African Studies, Univ. of London.
- List of Wikiquote articles related to socialism
- List of Wikiquote articles on socialist thinkers and activists