owners of the means of production under capitalism. They accumulate capital by exploiting the labor of the working masses, or proletarians.


while money is used to purchase commodities for consumption, capital refers to an accumulation of money that is used to generate more money, in other words to generate wealth through investment.


an economic system and an ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.


A commodity is something that is produced for the purpose of exchange or consumption. It mainly refers to goods, but since, under capitalism, labor is commodified, it can also be applied to services and labor.“A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another.”


is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. Communism can only be attained when all the world’s nations become socialist, for as long as there exist a single capitalist nation in opposition to socialism, the state cannot be dissolved.

Democratic Socialism

a political ideology that advocates political democracy along side social ownership of the means of production, often with an emphasis on democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system. The term "democratic socialism" is sometimes used synonymously with "socialism"; the adjective "democratic" is often added to distinguish it from the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism. Democratic socialism is also sometimes used as a synonym for social democracy, although many say this is misleading because democratic socialism advocates social ownership of the means of production, whereas social democracy does not. Democratic socialism is distinguished from social democracy, which refers to support for political democracy, nationalization of key industries, and a welfare state. The distinction is made on the basis that democratic socialism is committed to systemic transformation of the economy while social democracy is not. That is, whereas social democrats only seek to "humanize" capitalism through state intervention, democratic socialists see capitalism as inherently incompatible with the democratic values of liberty, equality and solidarity; and believe that the issues inherent to capitalism can only be solved by superseding private ownership with some form of social ownership. Ultimately democratic socialists believe that reforms aimed at addressing the economic contradictions of capitalism will only cause more problems to emerge elsewhere in the economy, that capitalism can never be sufficiently "humanized", and that it must therefore ultimately be replaced with socialism. Democratic socialism is not specifically revolutionary or reformist, as many types of democratic socialism can fall into either category, with some forms overlapping with social democracy, supporting reforms within capitalism as a prelude to the establishment of socialism. Some forms of democratic socialism accept social democratic reformism to gradually convert the capitalist economy to a socialist one using pre-existing democratic institutions, while other forms are revolutionary in their political orientation and advocate for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the transformation of the capitalist economy to a socialist economy.


when someone makes money off the labor of another. If a worker produces $40 of value in an hour of work, but is paid only $20 an hour, then they are being exploited.


i.e. scientific socialism. This term refers to the world conception ofKarl Marx and Frederick Engels, and is based on a mathematical socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and a dialectic view of social transformation. The pillars of Marxism are thus the concepts of class relations, historical materialism, dialectical materialism, and the ‘base and superstructure’ framework—all of which must be understood in order to understand Marxism. Whereas the utopian socialists before Marx simply espoused socialism and/or communism, Marx actually created a comprehensive world view that explained how capitalism would eventually be overthrown and replaced with socialism.

Marxism - Leninism

the development of a socialist state through the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard composed of "professional" revolutionaries, who are an organic part of the working class and come to socialist consciousness as a result of the dialectic of class struggle. The socialist state, which according to Marxism–Leninism represents a "dictatorship of the proletariat",is primarily or exclusively governed by the party of the revolutionary vanguard through the process of democratic centralism, which Vladimir Lenin described as "diversity in discussion, unity inaction." Through this policy, the communist party (or equivalent) is the supreme political institution of the state and primary force of societal organization. Marxism–Leninism professes its final goal as the development of socialism into the full realization of communism, a classless social system with common ownership of the means of production and with full social equality of all members of society. To achieve this goal, the communist party mainly focuses on the intensive development in industry, science and technology, which lay the basis for continual growth of the productive forces and therein increases the flow of material wealth. All land and natural resources are publicly owned and managed, with varying forms of public ownership of social institutions.


the main characteristic of this class is that their labor is exploited. “The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labour power and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labour.”

Revolutionary Socialism

Revolutionary Socialism is a feature component, or aspect of Communism, Marxism, and Marxism-Leninism. Revolutionary Socialism is the doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to affect structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests. Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and Orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined.

Social Democracy

a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, as well as a policy regime involving a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes; and is often associated with the set of socioeconomic policies that became prominent in Northern and Western Europe—particularly the Nordic model in the Nordic countries—during the latter half of the20th century.


the transitional step between capitalism and communism. A range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim to establish them. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective, or cooperative ownership; to citizen ownership of equity; or to any combination of these. Although there are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, social ownership is the common element shared by its various forms. "The organization of society in such a manner that any individual, man or woman, finds at birth equal means for the development of their respective faculties and the utilization of their labour. The organization of society in such a manner that the exploitation by one person of the labour of his neighbor would be impossible, and where everyone will be allowed to enjoy the social wealth only to the extent of their contribution to the production of that wealth."

Utopian Socialism

i.e. pre-Marxist socialism. It is often described as the presentation of visions and outlines for imaginary or futuristic ideal societies, with positive ideals being the main reason for moving society in such a direction. Later socialists and critics of utopian socialism viewed "utopian socialism" as not being grounded in actual material conditions of existing society, and in some cases, as reactionary. It was mainly propounded by French and English socialists who simply thought of an economically equal society, giving little to no thought or attention to capitalism or how it would be transformed. These ideas were put forth during the late 1700s and early 1800s.

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