Communist is defined as a political and economic system in which the community through the common ownership, collectively controls all the means of production of goods and services, exchange and distribution. While capitalism can be defined as an economic system in which the means of production, exchange and distribution of goods and services are in the hand of the private persons providing or borrowing the necessary capital and taking the profits after all the costs of the production have been met.
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Communism is most often associated with the state and government activities in the former union of soviet socialist republics. The term itself refers to an economic and political system in which all the means of production, distribution and exchange are owned, managed and controlled by the state. No factor of production may be owned by the individual or group of individuals either as a private business organisation.
Apart from soviet and Chinese communism, there were other versions of communism such as titoism. Soviet communism was based on the revolutionary principles popularised by Marx and Lenin. Lenin established the first communist state in Russia. Mao Tse-Tung was the founder of Chinese communism. Mao shaped and applied Marxism-Leninism to china. Totoism is a term given to a moderate form of communism as practised in the then Yugoslavia. Titoism was a practical and humane approach to the achievement of communist goals. Titoism laid less emphasis on the absolutist and totalitarian view of power.
However, capitalism is a economic and social system in which individuals and groups are allowed to own, manage and control any aspect of the economy according to their ability and resources. The system also allow individuals and groups limitless profit in those economic activities. This means that, unlike in communism, the state does not interfere in the private ownership, management and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Nigeria, Kenya, USA, and France are the examples capitalist states. Nigeria and Senegal are at the very rudimentary states of capitalist development.
In some part of the capitalist countries, such as Nigeria, the government may decide to own and control some essential service such as electricity supply, postal, air, and rail services. State ownership varies from one capitalist country to another.
However, the features of communism is that, communism is said to be the most perfect stage of human evolution. It preaches the establishment of a classless society based on equality, cooperation and freedom from exploitation. In the communist state, distribution of goods and services is based upon the following principles , from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The communist believe that the state will wither away one day. This means that there will be no need for the use of coercive instrument by the ruling class to maintain itself in power.
In communism, there is an establishment of a free universal public education. Private property are confiscated and subsequently redistributed. The community, through the common ownership, collectively controls all the means of production. The communism state applies the use of force or violence to achieve its goals and most communist state are one party state. Most of the communist leaders are dictators. Example North Korea. Communist also arose as an attack on the evil of capitalism.
Therefore, in communism, the economic planing is highly centralized and class distinction in the system is discourage. Also the production activities are meant for common purposes. There is equal and just distribution of the nation’s wealth among the citizen in a country. Political power and political activities are most often centralized. In this case, the states are often referred to as totalitarian states.
In communism, private individuals may undertake small economic activities for personal profit. However, this is controlled and regulated by the state. The provision of communism services such as water, electricity, education and health is completely free and under the control of the state.
Communism as organised thought, was made popular by the life and writing of a German scholar, Karl Marx. According to Marx, communism is the last of the stages in the development of economic system of any society. The first stage is primitive society, the second is feudalism, the third capitalism, and the fourth socialism. The fifth and last one is communism.
The origin of communism maybe traced to the Russia revolution of 1917bto 1920. however, the thoughts and ideas on which communism was founded were developed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in France and Britain from the middle of the nineteenth century. Before the propositions of Marx and Engels, what existed in the ancient, early and middle ages were some insignificant aspects of socialist principles. Examples, were contained in the teaching of Plato and Aristotle, and the life and teachings of early Christians.
In other words, before the Russian experience, what was practised in very insignificant and isolated groups were very minor and elementary principles of socialism. The example always cited is the community life of the early Christians. Therefore, bearing in mind the definition of communism, its origin and development may be traced to the overthrow of the Czar of Russian in 1917. During is time, Russian economy and society were said to be feudal. That is the second stage of the development of society, according to the teachings of Karl Marx.
In between 1917 and 1920, and up to 1923, Russia, after Czar, suffered serious civil war fought by two factions of citizens working for the change of Russian society. These two fictions were known as the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks won the revolutionary war, and between 1923 and 1925, they formed the first revolutionary government headed by V.I.Lenin. Lenin, therefore, started the first communist state.
However, communism and capitalism differs from each others by the following points . In capitalism economy is in the hand of private individual. While in communism, the economy is under the control of the state. In capitalism the political component are democracy, two or more political parties, which are the free and fair election. While in communism the political components are referred to as totalitarian rule, which is one political party, and also free election. Their election are said not to be as free as in capitalism.
In capitalism, the economy of the state is not centrally organized and in communism the political power is highly centralized. In capitalism, there is duplication of economic activities, therefore waste more likely. In communism duplication and waste are avoided because of central planning. Capitalism is said to be open, while in communism the economy is said to be closed.
Further more, in capitalism the system is based on class upper, middle and lower classes. However, in communism, the market is not open, it is a state of monopoly. The economic power in capitalism determines political power and the system democratic, two or more political parties exist, free and fair elections are conducted and the rule of law is in operation etc. while in the communism the political power is used to control and shape economic power and the system is totalitarian with one political party in existence, there is violation of rights of individuals etc.
In addition Communism, there is the abolition of class oppression and exploitation and the foundation of the society is based on the common possession of the means of production and the equal distribution of goods, land, resource etc. While in capitalism it is noted that the government’s participation in production is very low in capitalist economy. Private individuals have an edge over government in the area. For example U.S.A is an example of capitalist economy.
In conclusion,communism is the highest stage of socialism,communism demands collective ownership of all means of production and distribution. It operates a one party system of government political power is highly centralized. Communist believe that the change must be through revolution and that a dictatorial government is inevitable at least at the transitional stage. However, since, the end of the cold war era, Karl Marx and his associates have been proved wrong, because capitalism has succeeded in over throwing socialism which has a reversal of what Karl max predicted. Most socialist states have either transformed or are about to be transformed into capitalist system. while, in capitalism, the is consumer sovereignty. That is choices are made by the people. They decide how to spend their money. Economic development is rapid because the system is all embracing. The system is open and it encourage competition. Effort is geared towards having the best for the consumers. There is specialization and hard work in the system. Initiatives are encouraged, they are supported and not killed. The people can contribute to the political and economic growth of the system. Capitalism is democratic. Individuals are free to pursue any goal or to go into production without any hindrance.