Socialism is defined as a “political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production. [Source]. Socialists argue that common ownership of resources and the means of production leads to a more equal society. On the other hand, capitalists argue that socialism is not sustainable because it does not allow for innovation or creativity. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of socialism and discuss whether or not it is a viable system for the future.
How does Socialism affect the Environment?
Socialism states that there is a need for collective ownership of resources where everyone can benefit from resources in society. When it comes to the environment, socialism has a huge impact on production and the growth of the economy. Since the government controls a socialist society, then all means of production are under the government’s watchful eye.
Since there is collective ownership, most of the land is for farming or habitation. Socialism was born out of a revolution by workers who laboured on the land, so its economy relies on the environment, which means it is directly linked to the land. Production and resources are both derived from the environment, so socialism will leave a dent in the environment.
Is Socialism Good for the Environment?
Socialism runs on the ideology of everyone benefitting from the available resources. Such a notion puts pressure on the environment, which has to feed every soul. Placing faith in the government to control means of production and economic trend ensures order in how people use resources. This also means that the government can roll out hunting rules, land for agriculture, and timber harvesting laws.
So, from having an authoritative figure in controlling economics, socialism is good for the environment. However, the practical side of socialism shows that this ideology is not good for the environment. This is because governments cannot provide for the needs of ever-growing populations, which leads to “overproduction, misuse, and destruction of limited resources” [Source].
A study of the Soviet Union revealed how socialism failed due to poor water quality, absence of sewer systems and depletion of resources, with the rivers containing high percentages of hydrocarbons. Due to a lack of competition in a socialist system, consumers are prompted to support companies that pollute the environment and those companies that pollute the environment continue to do so. Socialism requires a huge economy to feed all the people, so it propagates overproduction and misuse of resources.
The Key Element in Socialism is Freedom of Choice.
Socialism drives democracy which is a place where people have liberty. Such freedom is exercised in choosing leaders and representatives through elections, freedom of religion, cultural values, and freedom in a society with no social classes; hence one is free of all social class ties. There is also the freedom to prosper if a person works hard and acquires more but must hold back from becoming an authoritative figure or an aristocrat. Socialism brought freedom locked by capitalism and liberated the working class from an oppressive system of economy.
The Development of Socialism
According to Marxism, socialism was born from a dialectical relationship between workers and the capitalistic movement. This relationship was toxic in that the capitalists were oppressing workers, and they sought to revolt against the injustices against the working class. The visible social evil under capitalism is social classes and their oppressive nature.
After a revolution by the workers, capitalism will be overthrown, and socialism will become the order of the day. It is a state where there is equality among people and a classless society. Socialism will bring a government that will control the means of production and distribution of wealth. The goal of socialism is to create a society where everyone benefits from available resources. When in full force, socialism prioritizes social welfare at the expense of personal gains and has an economy free of competition.
Socialism is Bad for the Environment
In an article titled ‘Socialism does more harm than good for the environment [Source], Danielle Butcher noted that “environmentally-minded voters would do well to remember that a socialist economy would be detrimental to the environment”. Butcher added, “We’ve seen it before: Socialism doesn’t work on an economic level, and it certainly doesn’t work on an environmental level, either”.
Butcher argued that socialism puts pressure on resources. Due to lack of competition, the economic players will feel no need to adopt any measures to protect the environment. The dominating companies under socialism will keep on polluting the air and land. Most of them will have the backing up of the government or are owned by government officials [Source].
The Soviets and China are blamed for being the biggest air polluters under socialist states. Their governments were catalysts in the pollution processes.
6 Elements of Socialism
The 6 elements of socialism are collective ownership, economic-social-political equality, economic planning and no competition [Source]. Another important aspect is the pricing mechanism.
Examples of Socialist Countries that Succeed
Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden [Source].