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What is communism? Communism is the set of ideas that view political,social and economic institutions in a manner fundamentally different from most political thought.It challenges most that we have studied so far.It is an ideology that wants to create human equality by eliminating the privatization of property and markets.Communism as a political theory. Traced back to Karl MarxHe had a straightforward observation.To him all human action flowed from the relations between haves and have nots. Marx spoke of human history and human relations as functions of the base and superstructure.The BaseThe system of economic productions.Includes level of technologyRelations of productionThe Superstructure Represents all human institutionsCreated to justify and perpetuate existing order.Marx’s theory proved compelling for many peopleTwo of the most notable areVladimir Ulyanov aka LeninMao ZedongAlthough they both were inspired by Marx they departed from his idea by seeking to carry out revolution in two countries that were weakly industrialized and far from being capitalist.Marx said that revolutions would only occur if capitalism was too advanced making it prone to collapse.Vanguard of the proletariatLenin’s term for a small revolutionary movement that could take power on behalf of people.This meant that communism spread where economic development was low.The opposite of what Marx wantedCentralization of economic power created additional problems.Typical aspects of capitalism were eliminated.Individuals lost rights to control property.Communist leaders redirected national wealth toward the goal of collective equalityMillions died in Soviet Union.45 million famine deathsCentral PlanningCommunist countries replacing the market with the state bureaucracy which allocated resources by planning what should be produced and in what amounts.Planning an economy proved to be a difficult taskA miscalculation resulting in the underproduction of steel would have disastrous effects on all those goods dependent on steel.There were also lack of worker incentives. Factories were unconcerned about quality of goods. Communist parties sought to reorder human relations.Marx is known for stating that “religion is the opiate of the masses”This tells us that like a drug religion numbs its practitioners to their pain.As a result religion was suppressed in communist countries. Communism envisioned complete equality between men and women. National and ethnic identity were seen as ways the elite could pit the working classCommunism sought to remove this.

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