Socialism is defined as an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy. “Social ownership” may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning, how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, with the goal of making a profit. Central elements of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, and a price system. There are, however, multiple variants of capitalism, including laissez-faire, welfare capitalism, and state capitalism. Capitalism is considered to have been applied in a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics, and culture.
This seems to be like the middle ground between communism and capitalism.
The whole idea of socialism is based on the fact that capitalism is unsustainable, which is actually yet to be proven.
Ultimately, the consumer suffers in non-capitalism and this is not what people want.
For me, India seemed like the last bastion of Socialism, but from what I see in places there like Pune, Mumbai and Delhi is that capitalism wins in a big way and people want bigger and better cars, and better cellphones and better jobs and junk food and ultimately a better life, even if it is by exploiting others.
There is more disparity in the country and the gap between the rich and the “haves” and the poor or “have-nots” is increasing.
Strange as it may seem, people care for each other more in the US than in India. And the US is a capitalist country, and India is a socialist country.
(picture, credit of the blog post http://flyingfarther.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/the-differences-between-capitalism-and-socialism/)
Now, many people in their 40s and 50s have foolish pride in their country, but the newer generations want better phones and the Internet and Facebook, which are all symbols of capitalism.
To me, this seems like a big generation gap where the older folks actually are also capitalists (each rich household has a cellphone made by Nokia or running Google’s Android and an iPad or iPhone made by Apple and 2 cars of a foreign made vehicle – who drives a Tata, Uaz or a Cadillac car?) So, do they run an OS made by CDAC? No. Youngsters will ask what’s CDAC? And that was once the symbol of indigenous computing in India.
So, while they deny being capitalistic, they actually very much are, and actually its worse for the country to act socialist and really be capitalistic.
Capitalism is not defined only by material goods.
Even using credit cards (owned by Visa or Mastercard) and using petrol/gas (owned by companies – the processing, not the crude) and many lifestyle choices are capitalistic.
Blame Western medicine, but most people see a Western doctor for a quick fix. This is a very subtle form of capitalism and all the drug companies e.g. Pfizer, Novartis, Ranbaxy and Sanofi in India etc. are all capitalistic. You think they care more for your health than money? Think again!
Even Hindustan Antibiotics in India, which was considered a nationalistic symbol made most its money with Penicillin (which is the symbol of medical capitalism and was the peak of Western medicine in the 50s).
Nowadays, IT parks are booming in India, and they are full of either Western companies or cater to them, and are situated in what once were rural areas and so the problem seems to be all over, not just in the urban areas.
My point is that its better to call a spade, a spade and then let people can do something about it and adapt it to their local conditions.
The situation is worsened by calling yourself socialistic, but actually acting capitalistic.
This is more to the advantage of the politicians and the rich, and not necessarily the country.
In the 90s, I think, India was at the crossroads of whether to be socialistic (and protect Indian companies that actually provided sub-par goods and services) or be capitalistic (where the economy is opened to foreign companies and the playing field is more leveled, so to speak) and ultimately that is good for the consumer. And ultimately the consumer won.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_India_a_capitalist_country has a good article specific to India, and there are many more articles on both sides of the fence.
Now, the developing world has a swelling middle class and they are all consumers, and actually this problem there gets worse.
Politicians cannot hide behind the veil they once had.
For e.g. Seeds used to be free in India, till they were privatized recently, so that farmers had to pay for them and now companies like Monsanto bought a few of those companies and push GMOs. So, actually this becomes a global problem now, and Europe has taken strong stands on this issue.
We see similar situations in Venezuela and Brazil.
This video shows the meet in Bolivia and globalization issues – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R70Ti1eqWtY.
Also, we all would have laughed in the past, if we were told there would be riots in the Middle-East.
And with technologies like the Internet, the world is a much smaller place, and thanks to capitalist companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
I feel that issues of capitalism like exploitation, dwindling resources and selfishness are a global problem and should be be dealt with that way.
Human nature itself seems capitalistic, where humans are predators and exploit other people in other countries and other species, and we should accept that and try to improve it (vegetarianism and Jainism in India being a good example), but not be in denial of it.
So, this is a global issue and not only local as you might think.