|In 1848, German philosopher and
fierce opponent of capitalism, Karl Marx, published The Communist Manifesto. His innocent, utopian
words would soon spark an empire that engulfed one third of the
world's population at its height. In it, he predicted that
capitalism, where a minority of the people has the majority of the
wealth, would soon be replaced by communism or socialism. At the
time, the two words were synonymous, but now they have distinct
Socialism is essentially, a big friendly government formed after a worker uprising. It provides free health care, education and welfare benefits and exercises some control over the economy. Class barriers are not completely eradicated; people are paid according to what they produce and how well they produce it. Marx meant socialism as a short-term transitional government until true communism could be put in place.
In communism, everything is run by the people, for the people with no personal ownership of anything, no police, no prisons, and no authority figures. The state is taken over by the citizens and soon disappears completely. The economy is carefully planned by intelligent citizens. People may pick whichever job they wish to work.
Of course, there are several enormous problems with communism. Marx never considered that the leaders during the transitional socialist period would be corrupt. He assumed that corruption was the result of an oppressive capitalist greedy society. Unfortunately, human nature prevails. Workers realize that they make equal amounts of money no matter how little they work. Transitional leaders cling to the authoritarian power as long as possible, never delivering the nation into true communism. Another problem is the fact that people, for the most part, love ownership. No one likes it when their personal property is used without permission, much less when they don't even have personal property.
Marx died in 1893, twenty four years before the communist revolution in Russia.