The Rationale and Relative Performance of Socialist Planning

Introduction

Socialist planning is being used to minimize the control of the markets and help in stabilizing the economy. In this way, the markets play a role in the promotion of democracy. Socialist planning involves the less privileged people in the society in which case authority is exercised from the bottom upwards instead of top to bottom. It is for these reason that socialist planning is referred to as direct democracy. Socialist planning is also geared towards reducing scarcity in the market sector and aims at creating abundant goods in such a way that some products would be considered as free and thus they would be given out as freely. In this way, it differs from the ideology of a market economy whereby most goods are damaged in order to maintain the demand for the products and thus they continue being profitable while generating and selling. The socialists advocate for an economic situation where individuals are able to acquire and manage resources equally in a direct method. Those advocating for this kind of system believe that capitalists acquire massive wealth within a small section of people in the society thus oppressing the poor. (Orwell 2009)

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Socialism origin

The word socialist was first used in England in 1887 and was printed in a French publication around 1832. The French Revolution that occurred in 1789-1799 was mostly deep-rooted in Paris and the poor people who felt oppressed by the monarchy were more involved. It began as a rebellion against the monarchy’s oppression and then turned to a massive revolt towards all types of oppressive authority. As the rebellion grew, another power was emerging that was trying to stop the unequal allocation of property, power and resources. This led to the uprising of two conflicting groups, the conservatives and the revolutionists. The conservative wanted the freedom to own property while the revolutionary felt that freedom to own property would not be accomplished without equality. They felt that it was meaningless to have freedom if it was only felt by a few people who were wealthy while other people were dwelling in poverty. (Oskar1938)

It was out of the French revolution that the idea of socialist was born that advocated for democracy and equality in the society. The majority of the people were able to realize that meaningful freedom would require that all people have an equal share in producing and sharing the resources in the society. It is important to note that in order for a society to enjoy equality, they need abundant resources. This is because a poor state would share hardship and poverty while a society that has plenty will have plenty of things to share. The French Revolutionaries’ idea however was not able to become a reality because the economic development was not well defined. It was during the Industrial Revolution in England that socialism was able to become a reality because they had well defined economic growth. Equality and shared resources were accomplished during the Industrial Revolution that occurred towards the end of the eighteenth century. It led to improvement in the conditions of living for the people and also the economic state of the country. (Orwell 2009)

Robert Owen from Britain was one of the earliest utopian socialists. Owen advocated that the wealthy class should strive to make the lives of the poor section of society better. Henri Saint –Simon and Charles Fourier from French advocated for the same thing. Saint-Simon who was a banker argued that the idea of capitalism was oppressive and should be eliminated. Charles Fourier’s idea was that the rulers and people in high places were the ones supposed to bring out the poor from their difficult situations. Another socialist Gracchus Babeuf developed an idea that was far-sighted than the others. He declared that real democracy could only be achieved where there was common ownership of property. Many people however did not support his ideas because people were seeking someone who would protect what they owned. Thus democracy was not well defined. (Ollman 1999)

Socialist planning has many benefits to the people and society as a whole. Socialism is geared towards getting people freedom from depending on the few who are wealthy who have in possession and controls the productions at all ends. Its main purpose is to place power and authority on all people and allow a situation where everybody works together as equals. It has been applied in a number of countries which means it has stopped being theoretical thus it is being applied in some countries. In these countries, capitalism has paved way for socialism where state involvement and common ownership have been put into practice. In this way, many people are able to experience the importance of planning. (Ifeh 2000)

Socialism has helped bring about social security, free and fair trade as well as built-up democracy within the society. It has led to the creation of a new way of life among people that helps people see themselves as equals in society. Countries that are not developed are using socialism to help them attain liberty and improve their standards of living. Socialism helps people by struggling for both political and economic democracy in the social setting. The poor and marginalized groups are helped through shared land and other economic activities. There is a widespread campaign for common ownership as well as the establishment of manufacturers and consumers cooperatives. (Ifeh 2000)

Socialism is a simple system that does not involve any complexity in performing its functions. This means no matter what the system is based on whether it’s religion, humanitarian ideologies, or any other form of analyzing society; it has only one goal of proving justice and equality. Socialism fights for freedom in planning at both local and international matters. Socialism has accomplished a lot by allowing individual participation for all people. Unlike other systems of governance that are dictatorial, socialism does not force on its followers a submissive role. In other words, socialism cannot succeed without devoted contributions from everyone in society. (Ifeh 2000)

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The socialist governance dictates that every individual has his or her right to privacy and the state cannot invade anyone’s privacy. In this system, individuals are assured of political freedom, freedom of education, thought, expression as well as one’s religion. People’s culture is respected irrespective of their opinions and also ensuring the satisfaction of basic needs. (Ollman 1999)

Socialism has a number of disadvantages as a system of governance. In the case of socialism, the government especially when there is plenty of resources the system provides all their basic needs hence a stable setting is created. This is disadvantageous because people do not contribute much to society because they are not motivated. This poses a danger to the system because it has higher chances of internally collapsing or failing since there is no economic benefit for working hard. There is also a greater chance of externally failing because there is no competition with other nations. This may cause the nation to lag behind since people are not working hard to improve the economy. In this case, other countries will view such a nation as a failed state. (Ollman 1999)

Beliefs of socialism

Another problem that may affect the socialist system is immigration. This is common when there is plenty in the nation and thus immigrates will be drawn to come and share in the free resources. This causes devastating effects on the economy since they are taking away more and not adding any value to the country. This can lead to economic instability since resources will depreciate and none will be appreciating to stabilize the economy. The other problem that poses a threat to this system is the people themselves. When the time for scarcity is experienced, resentment grows among the people since some will feel others are not working hard enough and are taking advantage of the situation. This brings conflict in the society and chances of recovery of the economy become much less. (Ollman 1999)

Socialism was practiced in the Roman Empire where there was free trade through the office of the emperor. The economic activities at the time which included farming, tanning, logging and masonry were managed by the government. The government-owned and was responsible for the distribution of all resources to the people within the empire. China is another country that has used socialism successfully. In 1949, the Chinese people adapted socialism from an authoritarian form of government. Many achievements were realized under the socialist government. It did not come easily as the Chinese people had to work hard and progress was made with time. The economic state of the country has continued to grow over the years and many people cite this as a success of socialism. (Dietrich1986, p.320)

In Russia, socialism was practiced for a long time but towards 1991, people felt that socialism was no longer playing its role in the society thus it led to the fall of socialism. Many people revolted against the socialist idea and they were able to change to a capitalist form of government. The country was able to be under socialist governance for a long time where the state-controlled all property. The soviet system gave people the opportunity to voice their grievances. However, with time and the different regimes that came, some became oppressive to the people and the result was the collapse of the socialist planning. Russia is an example of the state where socialism has failed and people prefer capitalism. (Dietrich1986, p.322)

If planned well, socialism can be used in bringing about equality among people. It is a form of system that puts democracy at the forefront of its activities which is good for economic development. However, it is important to note that socialism may not be successful without the willingness of people to work together and planning the system well. It is a method that can backfire when strong principles are not adhered to since some people will be lazy while others are working. Many intellectuals feel that socialism cannot make a country productive since no standards are set to make people competitive in most sectors of the economy. This is because though socialism may be successful, any wrong move can lead to the downfall of the entire system. (Ollman 1999)

Conclusion

Socialist planning has been used by many nations in governing the country. In many ways, socialism eliminates the powers of dictatorship that destroy the confidence of people through oppression. It is through this system that citizens are able to enjoy the freedom and receive protection from the government. Although many intellectuals do not advocate for socialist planning, some countries apply it in some areas of governing thus it gives citizens the assurance of being important to the country’s development projects. Countries that practice this system must put in strict principles to ensure that all citizens are able to contribute to the well-being of the country as a whole. Socialist planning can bring state prosperity when the right measures of discipline and togetherness are taken seriously.

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References List

Dietrich, M 1986, ”Organisational requirements of a socialist economy: theoretical and Practical Suggestions”, Cambridge Journal of economic. vol 10, pp.319-332.

Ifeh, K 2000, Explaining socialism.Web.

Ollman, B 1999, Market Economy: Advantages and Disadvantages. Web.

Orwell, G 2009, Socialism. Web.

Oskar, L 1938, On the Economic Theory of Socialism, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

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