Andrew Heywood divides the ideological manifestation of socialism into five parts or categories. These are community, cooperation, equality, social class and common ownership.
We can say socialism is generally divided into these five parts which are discussed below:
The individuals are not only closely connected but they are also interdependent. Though they pursue their own respective interests and objectives in their own way they also know that their actions create impact upon others and their condition makes them alert about their own action. From this attitude emanates the idea of collective thought and action and the socialists diligently propagate it. The socialists, therefore, treat all persons as brothers and in the specific language of socialists individuals call themselves as “comrades”.
This attitude of the socialists calls for a new approach to society and its various functions. It implies that all social actions should be done in a collective way. Socialism for this reason is called collectivism. The collectivist interpretation of socialism is collectivism or state socialism. Joad interprets socialism in this light. To sum up, both political and economic actions are to be done in a collective way and in such a situation there is practically no scope of individual action in both economic and political areas. Thus collectivism, socialism and state socialism are used by many interchangeably.
Another way of looking at socialism is cooperation. Aristotle said man is by nature a social animal and the sociability of men induces them to cooperate amongst themselves. Socialists believe that the individuals are quite aware of the fact that all are dependent on each other and keeping this basic concept in mind they always cooperate with each other. Here lies the fundamental difference between socialism and liberalism or conservatism.
Liberalism’s basic tenet is that competition among men is the most important aspect of society and it is the powerful factor of social progress. According to socialism individual’s cooperation makes social progress and economic development a reality. Thus socialism and liberalism are the concepts of opposite poles and this position is due to the objectives and methods suggested by each.
It has been pointed out by socialists that the cooperation among men and mutual aid towards each other are both spontaneous. Behind this spontaneity there are moral grounds. Individuals think that if they do not cooperate with each other and if they select the method of competition the whole society will ultimately become a battle ground. This will lead to disastrous consequences.
But the socialists do not completely rule out the scope of competition. The competition takes place in healthy atmosphere. It is a competition for moral and academic development and not for pecuniary benefits. Thus the basic concept of socialism is different from that of liberalism. Again, cooperation provides inspiration to the collective thought and philosophy.
Equality is another idea or principle of socialism and in this respect socialism puts itself against conservatism and liberalism, particularly the former. Socialism declares equality as its avowed principle and it will strive continuously for its attainment.
It is the belief of the socialists that only through equality specifically social equality can there be justice or in John Rawls’ term fairness. If there are gross inequalities among different sections of people and if this is economic inequality, in such a society justice cannot exist.
The socialists stress on the equality of status and of opportunity but maintain studied silence on differences in talents and capacities. They do not utter anything about the consequences of inequality in talents and capacities. We have already noted that socialism believes in cooperation and brotherhood among all men. Now if this is a principle this can be realised in an atmosphere where equality inhabits.
When all the citizens think that they are equal a feeling of cooperation will automatically be a real principle. Without cooperation and brotherhood socialism will be an academic doctrine, its real existence will be a subject of dream-world. Liberals and conservatives, however, do not agree with the socialists.
They are of opinion that if the inequalities in talents and capacities are admitted there cannot be equality whatever may its manifestation be. The inequality in talents will lead to inequality in income, wealth and status. Hence socialists’ concept of inequality is wrong.
4. Social Class:
Another principle or ideal of socialism as an ideology is the formation of social class. It is generally thought that socialist society without social class is hardly to be stable. The counter-revolutionaries and the remnants of the bourgeois will remain active even after the setting up of a socialist society and they will conspire to dislodge the socialists from power through counter-revolution.
In order to stop this possibility the socialists plan to form a cohesive and integrated class comprising social groups who share almost similar political, economic and other views. If such a class is at all formed the administration of socialist society will be an easy task. Even after setting up of socialism manifold tasks remain to be performed and in such a situation the social class/classes help the socialist authority in transacting the business of socialist society. In this way a social class becomes an integral part of a socialist society.
A social class also helps the socialist society in other ways. A socialist society is not a communist or classless society. Naturally such a society is to be freed from many elements which are opposed to socialism and in this task both the society class and the socialist state will work in tandem.
But the concept of social class is incongruous with Marxist concept of state or society. Marx and Engels thought of class based on economic interests. But the idea of social class does not fall within the purview of Marxist concept. Moreover, it is hardly related with the two class models of Marx. However, the social class idea has got special meaning in socialist society.
5. Common Ownership:
The socialists and even some non-socialists have traced the origin of exploitations, growing impoverishment and inequality in income and wealth to the institution of private property in general and private ownership in the means of production. They have concluded that in order to bring about an end of inequality, poverty and exploitation the common ownership over the means of production must be established and the system of private property should be done away with. In other words, the whole 50Ciety shall be the owner of property.
The system of private property means gross injustice because any type of property can never be the product of any single person and if so a particular individual cannot claim a property. In other words, the property is the joint product and it must be under the joint ownership. Again there is another reason.
Private property means to create source of conflict. How? When there is private property many will be without any property and in this situation conflict is inevitable between the owners of property and non-owners. The socialists, in consideration of all these, suggest that the best way is to abolish the system of private property.
But the system of private property subsequently has created a lot of heat among the political scientists, socialists and intellectuals of all countries. Particularly the socialists and the liberals and conservatives are at loggerheads on the issue of private property. The fact is that the controversy between to have property and not to have it still persists.