a) Socialism as a set of ideas (socialist ideology)


Robert Owen











Saint Simon

Socialism emerged in the first  half of 19 century in France (Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier), England (Robert Owen), Germany and other European countries.
Soon the socialist thinking began to differentiate into various streams and factions.


Mikhail Bakunin

Very influential were also anarchism
(Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin);


   More about Anarchism    

In the  second half of the 19th century one of the strongest streams was Marxism (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Karl Kautsky, and many others)

Karl Marx

   Much More about Marxism






George Bernard Shaw

 Later guild socialism (Cole) and Fabian socialism (Webbs, George Bernard Shaw) in

 England. At the beginning of the 20 century Marxism split into the orthodox wing (Lenin - Stalin) which became an official ideology in the Soviet Union and Eastern

 Europe, and the so called "revisionism" (E. Bernstein) which became a leading ideology of West European socialist parties and eventually completely strayed away from Marxism.

Common to all factions of socialism was the criticism of capitalism as unjust (inequality of income distribution) and irrational (business cycle, unemployment) social and economic system. All socialist believed in the need to replace capitalism with more just and more rational system. They differed, however, in their views about the future socialist society and about the mode of transition to it. Marxist perceived socialism as a highly organized centrally controlled society in which private ownership is replaced by public (state) ownership and market by central planning. Some others pictured socialism as a decentralized economy based on employee ownership of firms and modified form of market coordination. Marxists believed, that the transition to socialism would start by a violent revolution. West European socialists advocated a peaceful transition using the democratic political process.






Read more about:

b) Socialism as a movement

c) Socialism as a social and economic system.
















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