Defined as a socio-economic system that is characterized by the absence of social classes, money and the state, as well as structured upon common ownership of the means of production, communism was a popular social, political and economic movement and ideology that aims to establish a social order where there is no distinction on the basis of anything. When it was conceived and developed, it was more of a school of thought that became the crux of a movement that was more of a protest or revolution the ruling classes. Eventually, it has become a political alternative to traditional and modern government systems.
In communism, the public owns everything—natural resources and assets of a country. Started as a movement in favor of the proletariat, it evolved over time to be disintegrated into different forms, including the dictatorial and democracies where communist parties thrive in. This form of government had galvanized the world, but it also comes with critical drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons of communism:
List of Pros of Communism
1. It does away with all class systems.
In a communist form of government, no one is royalty, and everybody will have equal access to education, health and food. Generally put, all resources are of the state and governed by a group of people who represent the entire mass, who would own everything that is there, except for those that are personally owned. Basically, its concept ensures that everyone would live in peace without any fear of a ruling elite or an upper class. Everyone has the right to live their lives with dignity and will be ensured welfare with favor or fear for none.
2. It provides everyone health care.
Unlike capitalist countries that tend to restrict health care access to wealthy and influential groups of people, communist nations would allow their citizens to receive the medical attention they need, which is typically free.
This benefit would be a huge boon to the country’s development, as instead of losing valuable members of the workforce to diseases and disorders, it allows the country to mobilize and maximize its workers. After all, accessible and free health care services would eliminate an excuse that an unmotivated proletariat has at his disposal.
3. It dramatically decreases unemployment rates.
When members of society are able to contribute and work, there will be a natural decrease in the overall unemployment rate of a country, also leading to a decrease in crime rates because no one is coerced to commit illegal actions to ensure that his family is fed and his bills, paid. Also, peasants would no longer need to fear a lessened economic status as long as they are willing to work every day and perform their duties. Generally speaking, there will be less instances of social differences.
4. It offers high access to education.
An easy way to ensure a class-less society is breaking down the barriers of education, and that is what communism intends to do, unlike in capitalism where, typically, it is only the wealthy who will have access to high levels of education. In communist countries, every child will be given the same level of study opportunities as other children, shrinking the divide between classes until it is essentially non-existent.
5. It paves the way for a strong and safe country.
As everyone is equal in communism, there would be no social disharmony. Also, the country imposes stricter foreign policies to deal with other nations, and the government would think of the entire population when making certain decisions, allowing no favor for anyone. Rather, money will be spent for the welfare of all the citizens.
List of Cons of Communism
1. It does not shed much light about the rulers to the masses.
Communism can be endorsed in any political scenario, paving the way for a dictatorial government or a democratically elected government. For the latter, it can have some substantiation, as the people would be participating in the elections. However, with the former, communism would not explain the reasons why people could not choose their leaders and through what virtue the rulers have attained their positions.
2. It limits businesses in what they can earn.
While citizens would live under the same economic terms and are assured of the same pay checks, communism is not a good environment for businesses to flourish. Unlike in a capitalist society, where there is virtually no limit as to what businesses will earn, a communist form of government would put a hard cap on a business’s ability to grow.
Businesses would not be able to produce to their heart’s content because communism limits their ability to create new products or services and to earn proper compensation for their efforts.
3. It is anti-ambition.
There is little room to have ambitions in a communist country, since everyone is the same and no one is expected to do something out of the ordinary. Personal growth or development does not thrive in a communist regime.
4. It can fuel poverty.
Due to lack of industrial growth, communism would end up creating some sort of employment problems. Also, there would be little technological, social and cultural evolution as well as financial growth, as it is just confined to certain sectors that are encouraged by the state.
5. It would promote corruption.
Who says that communism cannot be corrupt as capitalism? Historical evidence shows that communist regimes or parties had become a circle of individuals and influential political leaders who benefited from their rule, often ending up living more lavishly and luxuriously than normal citizens. As ironic as it is that this political system aims to make everyone have similar lives, it made its leaders living like royalties.
6. It constrains the voice of the people.
In a communist regime, there will be no free media, and the government would be omnipresent and omnipotent. The state would intervene in almost everything—a policy that would become or even exceed “stifling the freedom” of its citizens.
Communism has definitely helped some countries develop, but do all them achieve the same success? Based on the pros and cons listed above, we can make a well-informed decision on our end.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.