Communism is a political and social doctrine that seeks to establish joint ownership of the means of production and the elimination of social classes.
Communism emerges as a criticism of the capitalist system that promoted the accumulation of capital as a mechanism to generate wealth, private ownership of the means of production and the use of the market as a mechanism for allocating resources.
According to communism, capitalism is responsible for inequality and social injustice. This causes a large gap to be generated between social classes. In this way, it proposes the joint ownership of productive resources in such a way that there is no division between rich and poor.
Thinkers of Communism
The foundations of communism were developed by Karl Max and Friedrich Engels at the end of the 19th century.
- Karl Maxwas a German philosopher and economist who developed the idea that capitalism generated an oppression that would lead to a social class war and a subsequent revolution. His main works related to communism are: Manifesto of the Communist Party (co-authored with Engels) and Capital.
- Friedrich Engelswas a German philosopher, political leader and revolutionary who maintained a long friendship and collaboration with Karl Max. They shared criticism of the capitalist system and jointly developed the work “Capital.”
How does communism work?
According to communism, private property generates a social class struggle between workers and owners of the means of production. This class struggle results in internal and cyclical crises that can only be resolved through the workers’ revolution. In this sense, workers must, according to communism, appropriate the resources and declare their joint ownership.
To achieve the above, a communist political party must be created to dominate the State so that it establishes the so-called “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” The goods and services will be produced according to a centralized planning mechanism where there will be no competition or free market.
During this phase, social classes will be extinguished until they reach a point where the State will no longer be necessary and therefore will be abolished.
Criticisms of communism
There are several criticisms of communism, among the most relevant are:
- New social classes: Some authors have criticized communism by pointing out that the elimination of social classes is a utopia. Communism will only generate new social classes where workers will also differentiate themselves in their degree of power and control over resources.
- Inefficiency: Centralized planning and the elimination of entrepreneurship lead to productive inefficiency. Thus, many of the scarce resources are lost or underutilized.
- Lack of incentives: Because individual effort or initiative is not rewarded, people and companies stop striving to be more productive, reduce costs or innovate. This leads to a stagnation of the economy and the consequent suffering of people.