A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor. In popular usage, the term is often employed to indicate any lawless, revolutionary social scheme. See Communism, Fourierism, Saint-Simonianism, forms of socialism.
(adj., socialist) In Marxist theory a stage of historical development transitional between capitalism and communism. Romania claimed to have attained socialism by 1965.
A term covering many belief systems that oppose the concentration of wealth and power that is a natural part of capitalism. Whereas capitalists emphasize freedom for the individual to possess private property, socialists emphasize the well-being of the community. They strive to achieve this through many methods, including public ownership, regulation, and state-sponsored social programs. Socialism has taken on many different forms throughout the world, with varying degrees of success. Some socialists favour a gradual move away from unrestricted capitalism and the maintenance of a democratic society; others favour force to overthrow capitalism and distribute wealth.