In the many years since socialism entered English around 1830, it has acquired several different meanings. It refers to a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control, but the conception of that control has varied, and the term has been interpreted in widely diverging ways, ranging from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal. In the modern era, "pure" socialism has been seen only rarely and usually briefly in a few Communist regimes. Far more common are social democracies, such as Sweden and Denmark, democratically elected governments that employ some socialist practices but within a capitalist framework in the belief that extensive state regulation paired with limited state ownership produces a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth. While social democracy has in the past been used synonymously with democratic socialism, referring to a movement seeking to achieve and perpetuate economic socialism through politically democratic means, the two terms are no longer considered interchangeable.
Examples of socialism in a Sentence
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'socialism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.