communism

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Definition

Economic and social system in which all (or nearly all) property and resources are collectively owned by a classless society and not by individual citizens. Based on the 1848 publication 'Communist Manifesto' by two German political philosophers, Karl Marx (1818-1883) and his close associate Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), it envisaged common ownership of all land and capital and withering away of the coercive power of the state. In such a society, social relations were to be regulated on the fairest of all principles: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Differences between manual and intellectual labor and between rural and urban life were to disappear, opening up the way for unlimited development of human potential. In view of the above, there has never been a truly communist state although the Soviet Union of the past and China, Cuba, and North Korea of today stake their claims. See also Marxism and Socialism.

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