At the opposite end of the spectrum from capitalism, communism is an economic theory favoring a classless society and the abolition of private property.

Communism derives from the French commun (common). Ideally, according to communism, society shares all property in common, everyone shares the burden of labor, and everyone shares the profits of that labor. Or, as the German philosopher Karl Marx wrote, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." As a system of government, communism is often closer to a form of socialism, in which the state owns and operates industry on behalf of the people.

Definitions of communism

n a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society

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a form of communism developed in Cuba by Fidel Castro
Leninism, Marxism-Leninism
the political and economic theories of Lenin which provided the guiding doctrine of the Soviet Union; the modification of Marxism by Lenin stressed that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism (which shifts the struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries)
a form of communism developed in China by Mao Zedong
the economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will ultimately be superseded by communism
the form of communism advocated by Leon Trotsky; calls for immediate worldwide revolution by the proletariat
Type of:
ideology, political orientation, political theory
an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation

n a form of socialism that abolishes private ownership

Bolshevism, collectivism, sovietism
Soviet communism
a moderate evolutionary form of Marxism
any dangerous departure from the teachings of Marx
Type of:
socialism, socialist economy
an economic system based on state ownership of capital

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