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Category: Exploratory Essay

Subcategory: Sociology

Level: College

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Capitalism refers to an economic system where the means of producing goods and natural resources are owned privately. There are three distinctive features that define capitalism. These features are the pursuit of personal profit, private ownership of property, and competition and consumer choice. Socialism, on the other hand, is an economic system where the means of production of goods and services and natural resources are collectively owned. Socialism exhibits three major features that are basically the opposite of the capitalism features. These features are collective ownership of property, government control over the economy and pursuit of collective goals. In the socialist context, justice is the society is achieved when individuals aren’t competing against each other to amass individual wealth but rather everyone is working so as meet the basic needs of all citizens. Capitalism, on the other hand, views justice as the market place freedom which allows individuals to invest, produce and buy as per one’s self-interest.
Most countries in the world have economic systems that combine both capitalism and socialism principles. This is because extremes in the economic systems aren’t applicable in the real world. The United States is a good example of a capitalist nation where most of their businesses are privately owned. However, since the government still plays a big role in the economy unlike what is supposed to happen in a pure capitalist. Therefore, the United States is not a pure capitalist economy. There are also many countries that have a socialist economy in the world such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela. However, these countries also exhibit some capitalist properties. Socialism has reduced since the 1990s where most Eastern Europe countries that were socialist adapted more market system features. However, in the recent past, some South American nations have also implemented policies that move their economies towards socialism.
In an effort to create an economy that enjoy the admirable traits of both capitalism and socialism state capitalism and welfare capitalism were created. Welfare capitalism refers to a political and economic system that brings together market-based economy along with extensive programs in social welfare. Under this system some of the largest industries such as the mass media, transportation and health care industries are owned by the government. In addition to this, high taxations are used to provide a wide range of social welfare services. A good example of countries that use this system are Sweden, France, and Greece.
On the other hand, state capitalism is a political and economic system where most companies are owned privately but work closely with the government. A good example of countries using this system is Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. In these countries, a partnership between the government and private companies industries by regulating foreign imports and providing financial assistance so as to be able to compete in world markets.
When analyzing the two economic systems, socialism and capitalism, a good question that may come up is to what extent are the two systems productive and what is their level of equality? It is hard to give accurate answers to this questions since most countries have a system that combine the two but at the same time using different combinations. Crude figures of GDP per capita can be used in this comparison to compare countries described as either socialist or capitalist. The total GDP of capitalist countries has been recorded to be much higher than those of socialist countries and so has the GDP per capita. This shows that in an effort of individuals to amass their personal wealth in capitalist countries, the nation also performs better in terms of productivity. However, capitalist nations also recorded a bigger gap in the disparity between the top 10% of the richest people and the bottom 10% of the poorest people as compared to socialist countries. This, on the other hand, shows that the principles that maximize productivity in capitalism also increase the income inequality in the society.

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