You might first ask why we even need a legal definition for an economic ideology, but…well, in this country we discuss communism and socialism often.
US Legal defines “socialism” as “a set of ideologies promoting an economic system in which all or most productive resources are the property of the government, in which the production and distribution of goods and services are administered primarily by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which any remaining private production and distribution is heavily regulated by the government rather than by market processes. Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.”
Legal comparisons are also made from the totalitarian socialist governments in third-world countries to the socialist democratic governments more pervasive in the western developed countries. The latter countries have some of the happiest citizens in the world.
Visit website here for more information on our own “socialist” policies — which are coincidentally always popular once implemented.
Anti-socialist policies have become more common around the world as those third-world examples of totalitarian socialism show us how to take an ideology and improperly implement it. The most noteworthy were called the “Anti-Socialist Laws” and were passed in Germany after widespread support was adopted following failed attempts to assassinate a German Kaiser.
The German Social Democratic Party (or SPD) was assigned credit for the attempted assassinations, and so the laws were drafted by then-Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. They were implemented as a strong measure to reverse the popularity of the SPD through indirect means.
For example, the laws banned social-democratic group meetings and trade unions, and shuttered at least 45 different newspapers. In addition, the law banned SPD emblems.
Each of these stipulations were effectively bypassed. SPD members ran as independents instead. Media organizations simply set up shop outside of Germany in order to spread the same message to members. SPD members wore red ribbons and then red rosebuds. When people were sentenced to jail for wearing these “emblems,” a judge reversed the sentences.
The younger generations in America have begun to embrace democratic socialist ideals more and more routinely with each new year, but laws have never outright banned socialism. More respected institutions have continued to try to debunk the classic myths — especially because most of us still believe that the ideologies of communism and socialism are interchangeable (hint: they are not).
For example, The Washington Post recently published an article about five of the biggest myths relating to socialism. They included: the idea that socialism is only one ideology (it has many that are incompatible with one another), the idea that socialism and democracy can’t co-mingle, the sentiment that socialisms want to abolish markets or give all private property to the government, that socialism is always doomed to collapse (Scandinavian countries all meet the definition of socialism, and they are extremely successful examples), and that socialism is a magic solution to all the world’s woes (it is not).