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Flashcards in Socialism Deck (13)
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Key thinker views on society

- Believes individuals are primarily shaped by the shape of society we live in (all key thinkers)

- Later society made problematic by capitalism (Marx, Engels, Luxemberg, Webb)

- Society, and human nature, subsequently defined by unequal social classes (Marx)


Socialist views on equality

- Best societies defined by equality of opportunity and outcome (all thinkers until Giddens)

- Revolutionary socialists such as Marxists show full commitment to equality of outcome as a means of ensuring a completely fair society (wants to abolish private property and social classes)

- Revisionist socialists such as Crosland support relative social equality - which they favour bringing about via an extensive welfare state and wealth redistribution system.

- Instead, third way thinkers accept quite large amounts of inequality of outcome as a means of incentivisation under capitalism. Big believers in a meritocratic society instead.


Socialist views on economy

- Revolutionary socialists think capitalism should be abolished as it creates inequality in society.

- Crosland (revisionist socialists) believed that the ultimate aim of economic policy should be the redistribution of wealth and resources in order to create greater equality. Also believes in a managed capitalism system.

- Both revisionist and third way socialists believe that economic policy requires collectivism e.g extensive public spending, extensive public services and progressive taxation. Third Way favours free market capitalism.



Socialist views on the state

- Revolutionary socialists believe that eventually the state will just 'wither away' and the proletariat will overthrow the bourgeoisie and rule instead. Belief that in a capitalist society, the state has to be overthrown through a 'revolution'.

- Revisionist socialists see the state as an integral part to the proper development of society. A state that delivers equality and social justice. Progressive taxation, redistribution of wealth etc

- Third way socialists reject any economic intervention by the state as it advocates free market capitalism. Prefers the role of the state to be in social investment in infrastructure and education.


Revisionist socialist Beatrice Webb - Key ideas

- Rejected the Marxist theory of class struggle. Instead, she endorsed the 'inevitability of gradualness' - establishing socialism peacefully by passing democratic reforms through existing parliamentary institutions.

- The expansion of the state will deliver socialism

- The poverty and inequalities of a capitalist society continue to depress human potential while fostering regressive competition


Fundamental socialists - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
(Human nature and the state)

- Human nature, originally fraternal and altrusic, has been contaminated by capitalism, instilling the 'false consciousness' of bourgeois values. Revolutionary socialism, however, will repair this.

- The existing liberal-bourgeois state is a tool of the dominant capitalist class; it must be destroyed by revolution and replaced by a new socialist state: the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Fundamental socialists - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
(Society and the economy)

- Capitalist society is sickeningly, yet fatally, defined by class interests and class conflict. A communist society will be the perfect 'end of history'

- Capitalism is corrupt, inefficient and ultimately self-destructive. It should- and will- be replaced by an economy based on collective ownership.


Fundamental socialist Rosa Luxemburg (Human nature and the state)

- Human nature has not been damaged to the extent Marx alleged. Fraternity and altruism still flourish in working class communities punished by capitalist economics.

- The existing capitalist state must be destroyed by revolution, but one arising from strike action. The replacement state should be a genuine democracy, complete with free speech and free elections.


Fundamental socialist Rosa Luxemburg (Society and the economy)

- Capitalist society is class-ridden and morally indefensible, yet alternative societies, or sub-cultures, exist within downtrodden proletarian communities.

- Capitalism is more resilient than Marx allowed. Its necessary destruction, and replacement by an economy based on workers control, and will require determination and solidarity among the proletariat


Revisionist socialist Anthony Crosland (Human nature and the state)

- Human nature has a powerful sense of 'fairness' and an innate objection to huge inequalities of outcome

- Democratic socialist governments (for example, Labour 1945-1951) prove that the existing state can be used to effect radical, socialist change


Revisionist socialist Anthony Crosland (Society and the economy)

- Society is increasingly complicated, altered by the emergence of new social groups comprising 'meritocratic' managers and 'classless' technocrats

- A mixed economy, underpinned by limited public ownership and Keynesian capitalism, will finance the greater public spending necessary to secure equality


Third way socialist Anthony Giddens (Human nature and the state)

- Human nature has been shaped by changing socio-economic conditions. The pro-fairness instinct is still present, but it now competes with a sharpened sense of individual aspiration

- The existing liberal state should be improved, redistributing and decentralising political power while encouraging political participation


Third way socialist Anthony Giddens (Society and the economy)

- Society has undergone embourgeoisement - egalitarians must harness, rather than deny, these forces

- A neo-liberal economy, propelled by privatisation and deregulation, will provide huge tax yields. This will finance huge increases in public spending, which will secure greater equality of opportunity.