Capitalism and Communism are two opposing systems which offer alternative ideologies. The question as to which system is best-suited to the modern era is something that is continuously debated. The majority of nations run with a Capitalist system – with the United States of America a classic example. Yet there are still some Communist nations – with China arguably the most famous. In this article, we compare the two systems, and look at the ongoing debate in this subject.
We start with some definitions. Communism is defined as a ‘system of social organisation in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs’. Conversely, Capitalism is defined as ‘an economic and political system in which country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. All Western nations are capitalist. Only five communist nations remain – China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam and Cuba.
Advantages of Communism:
To begin with, communism promotes equality. Everyone is treated in the same way, regardless of job/social status. The success China has enjoyed as a communist nation is an example of how the system can certainly work. Easy access to health care and education can be implemented, while no monopolies can be created. The nature of communism leads to low unemployment rates. The majority of communist nations have enjoyed considerable stability in recent years – which is something relatively rare!
The Advantages of Capitalism:
Capitalism promotes the ‘free market’ – which essentially gives the opportunity for anyone to succeed – and can be very motivating. Hard work can result in success – which seems fair. Freedom and independence – two important areas – are promoted in capitalism. Economic growth can easily follow as a result. The vast, vast majority of nations – including some of the most powerful in the world, follow Capitalism – and seemingly prosper under the system – and enjoy continuous growth as a nation.
For all of the advantages of both, there are some disadvantages. Communism has been criticised for how the leader can essentially rule with an ‘iron fist’ – which in some cases can result in a dictatorship. The motivation and work ethic of the public can also be limited. Poverty too has been associated with communism. Yet the focus on profit with capitalism is easily interpreted as greed. And the endless consumption associated with capitalism isn’t always sustainable. Clearly, there are both good and bad parts to both systems.
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The debate around Capitalism and Communism is something that will go on for a long time. As to which is best – it is something designated by circumstance, and open to the reader’s interpretation. There are certainly merits to both methods, but also negative aspects of both too. The fact that the majority of nations opt for capitalism might suggest it is more befitting of the contemporary era. But as long as a system results in peace, then it is always a suitable approach to take.