What is the difference between Communism and Socialism?

The easiest way of finding out the difference between two words is to open up a dictionary. I’ll use two different dictionaries to prove my point.


According to dictionary.com:

Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Communism: a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.


From these definitions, we can see that socialism and communism are the same thing but worded differently. Both definitions say that it is a system of social organization that advocates public ownership of the means of production.

In the definition of Socialism, public ownership of the means of production is worded: “ownership and control of the means of production and distribution … in the community as a whole.” In the definition of Communism, public ownership of the means of production is worded: “holding of all property in common … ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.”


According to the Oxford dictionary:

Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Communism: a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.


Here, too, Socialism and Communism are the same thing but worded differently. Both definitions say that it is a political theory that leads to public ownership of the means of production.

In this definition of Socialism, public ownership of the means of production is worded: “the means of production … should be owned … by the community as a whole.” In the definition of Communism, public ownership of the means of production is worded: “all property is publicly owned.”


So, Communism and Socialism are the same thing. But proponents of Socialism argue that the key difference between them is the means of achieving the ends. Under communism, you have a revolution. Under socialism, they claim, you have a democratic election. Does that make much of a difference? Not in my opinion.

If 50.01% of the people are against the public ownership of production, its called Communism. On the other hand, if only 49.99% of the people are against the public ownership of the means of production, its called Socialism. The difference between Communism and Socialism is a 0.02% change in public opinion. The end result is the same one: famine, poverty, oppression, and a plummeted standard of living. Whether those results are achieved through a democratic process or not, makes no difference to me.



In short:

Communism: Commissars take your stuff and give it to other people. If you resist, the government arrests you.

Socialism: Bureaucrats take your stuff and give it to other people. If you resist, the government arrests you.

Democratic Socialism: 51 percent of the voters take your stuff and give it to other people. If you resist, the government arrests you.