Liberalism and Socialism as Political Philosophies Essay

July 19, 2021 by Essay Writer

Liberalism and socialism are both popular political philosophies that became especially famous in the 20th century. The two systems have some points in common; however, their use in the political structures of various countries is strikingly different, as there are some significant variations in the very basis of their ideologies.

The belief on which liberalism was founded is that all people are equal and that each person has the right to individual freedom. Socialism, on the other hand, is based on the principle of common ownership. Socialism also promotes equality of all people, but the central aspect of equality is the individual’s property, rather than his or her rights. The main values of liberalism, thus, are freedom of speech and thought, as well as the equality of opportunities. Socialism, on the other hand, values equal distribution and access to resources above everything else. The individual’s freedom is not seen as a crucial aspect of life in socialism; instead, socialists are more focused on the security that joint ownership provides. For instance, if all resources of the country are distributed equally, there is no hunger, competition, or jealousy. Liberalism, however, supports healthy competition in science and education; it teaches that people are to exercise free thought rather than think in the terms set by the state, which allows for creative education practices. In socialism, on the other hand, both work and teaching are standardized, and all people are required to put the same amount of effort into work.

Liberalism is rarely used as a sole foundation of the government, which is mainly because liberalists do not support the idea of one man or woman having some form of control over the other. However, modern liberals agree that government is needed in the contemporary world to achieve economic stability and security. Similarly to socialism, in liberalism, people trust the state to protect them from the changing economic conditions, illegal actions, diseases, and more. However, the passing of the power to the government is carried out rather reluctantly, since the people sacrifice a portion of their highly-valued freedom to obtain security. Socialism, however, is the opposite. People are not entrusted with the regulation of the country’s resources, and they willingly submit their freedom to the government to ensure that a sufficient amount of resources is provided for every person.

Due to the ideological differences between the two systems, their applications also vary a lot. For example, socialism is usually applied in developing countries where there is a need for the government to control resources and the industry. In these settings, socialism decreases issues such as hunger, unemployment, and uneven education across the population. Moreover, it can also be useful in countries with large shares of rural areas. The people living in the villages are usually poorer than those who stay in cities. The number of jobs is low, whereas the competition is high, which may result in exploitation and small wages. Equal distribution of resources, in this case, ensures that the villagers are provided with products they need for everyday living and are paid according to their duties. Nevertheless, in developed countries with strong economies, these problems are less prominent and do not affect people’s quality of life. This causes people to strive for personal freedoms and rights rather than for basic resources, thus giving rise to liberal ideas.

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