As a person who grew up in the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, I am always puzzled by the way that the word “socialism” is used in North America. Time and again, I hear, for example, that Canada is “Socialist.” I thought that maybe there is a different meaning to this word but I just can’t find the definition of “socialism” that North Americans rely on when they say that Obama, for instance, is a Socialist.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Socialism:
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership or control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy, and a political philosophy advocating such a system. “Social ownership” may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.
This is precisely the definition that I am familiar with and use. Social control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy. None of this even remotely exists in Canada and / or is advocated by President Obama. So I’m guessing that there must be some radically different definition that people use.
I’m genuinely confused, folks. Does socialism in North America stand for something like “advocating strong welfare programs and a strong social safety net”? If so, then what do you call actual socialism?