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Socialism: The Core Themes

1. Equality: 2. Class conflict: 3. Social justice: 4. Equality of opportunity: 5. Collectivism: 6. Common ownership: Write a simple but accurate definition of the concept in just a sentence or two Summarise the areas of agreement between socialists on this theme. Summarise the areas of problem or disagreement between socialists on this theme Equality of opportunity: Definition: Equality of opportunity in its most basic form means that people should be have to opportunity to achieve what they can, unhindered by ‘involuntary personal attributes’ such as disability, race or sexual persuasion. Areas of disagreement: There is disagreement on how the issue of inequality should be tackled. Positive discrimination in particular is divisive, as some socialists believe that it is in itself discriminatory as it discriminates against the majority. There is also disagreement because some socialists believe that the ‘best person for the job’ should get the job, but others believe that the best person in a pool of candidates may not necessarily be the best person, but they should still be chosen for the role if they can pass a pre-determined test that is as fair as possible, which is

Areas of agreement: All socialists emphasise the belief that people who live in deprived situations do not have equal opportunities. unregulated capitalism is never fair – Disagreement: Can regulated capitalism work? Marxists believe that it must be completely scrapped – more moderates believe that a more regulated type of capitalism will work Can scarcity be removed? Marx said “to make a perfectly just society we need to remove scarcity. such as the relative lack of educations support available for those from poorer backgrounds. should get the job.also related solely to the role in question. and not to type of person applying. jobs. even if they don’t have the necessary skills. businesses and government. Social justice: Definition: A moral distribution of resources for greater equality – Consensus: Social justice is necessary – also. so everyone is . even if they aren’t the best person for the job. don’t accept equality and equality of opportunity as being the same thing. Some socialists. Socialists also agree that there are social forces that discriminate against the interests those from less privileged backgrounds in the areas of education. Complete equality would mean that anyone. who accept certain aspects of capitalism. This is because they see everyone having the opportunity to go for a job does not then mean that everyone can get the job.

so it should be shared out equally Disagreement: how you actually achieve Equality: Definition: equal rights for people because were all human Agreements: Were all born with equal rights – agree that society has a natural order – up to the individual – difference in terms of equality of opportunity and equality of outcome Disagreements: over equality of welfare – Collectivism: Definition: human activity is most productive when people work together .equal” – moderates believe there will always be scarcity due to lack of resources Degrees of distributive justice: John Rawls: the idea of distributive justice – there can be some inequality in society. provided it is detrimental to society as a whole – welfare socialists – a safety net view point – people shouldn’t drop below a certain line but people can rise above Common ownership: Definition: Private property ownership is the main cause of inequality in society Agreement: wealth is produced by collective effort.

as Karl Marx would have it .Consensus: They all believe that there should be some for of collective action. Disagreements: How far should you go in fixing this problem Class conflict: Definition: The rich want to suppress the poor – the poor don’t want to be suppressed Agreement: power should be spread – wealth should be spread – Disagreement: Class divide should be smaller. for example in trade unions. is the at the power is not controlled by the capitalists. not eradicated entirely.