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Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources.[1][2][3] A socialist society is characterised by a free association, which is not based on wage labour. It is organized on the basis of relatively equal power relations, self-management, collective decision-making and adhocracy rather than hierarchical, bureaucratic forms of organization in the economic and political systems.

As an economic system, socialism is a system of production and allocation based on the direct production of use-values by allocating economic inputs, the means of production and investment through planning to directly satisfy economic demand.[clarification needed] Economic calculation is based on either calculation-in-kind, some physical magnitude or a direct measure of labour time.[4][5][clarification needed] Output for individual consumption is distributed through markets, and distribution of income is based on individual merit or individual contribution.[6]

As a political movement, socialism includes a diverse array of political philosophies, ranging from reformism to revolutionary socialism. Some currents of socialism advocate complete nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange, while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Libertarian socialists and anarchists reject using the state to build socialism, arguing that socialism will, and must, arise spontaneously. They advocate direct worker-ownership of the means of production alternatively through independent syndicates, workplace democracies, or worker cooperatives.

Modern socialism originated from an 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticised the effects of industrialisation and private property on society. Utopian socialists such as Robert Owen (1771–1858), tried to found self-sustaining communes by secession from a capitalist society. Henri de Saint Simon (1760–1825), who coined the term socialisme, advocated technocracy and industrial planning.[7] Saint-Simon, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx advocated the creation of a society that allows for the widespread application of modern technology to rationalise economic activity by eliminating the anarchy of capitalist production that results in instability and cyclical crises of overproduction.[8][9]

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