A 2017 report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism found that 44% of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country.  However, when asked to define the term, two out of three got it wrong.


What do you know about socialism and capitalism?
What is Socialism? What is Capitalism? What’s the difference?
Socialism vs. Capitalism Chart (PDF)
Video #1 – What is socialism?
Video #2 – Socialism vs Capitalism
Video #3 – Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse
Video #4 – Does capitalism run on greed?

What do you know about socialism and capitalism?


Socialism is an economic and political system in which the government controls all means of production.
Capitalism is an economic and political system in which property, business, and industry are owned by private individuals and not by the state.


Socialism: Economic and social equality through redistribution of wealth.
Capitalism: Create wealth through private ownership of property and businesses.

Terms associated with each

Socialism: Centralized government planning, command economy, planned economy, wealth redistribution, price controls, social equality, nationalizing of production, expansion of the welfare state
Capitalism: Free markets, free enterprise, supply and demand, laissez-faire, private property rights, competition, incentives

Countries embracing each system

Socialism: Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, (and previously, the USSR)
Capitalism: United States, Hong Kong, Germany, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland…

People associated with each system

Socialism: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels,
John Maynard Keynes

Noam Chomsky
George Soros

Capitalism: Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Fredrich Hayek, Milton Friedman

Ronald Reagan
Margaret Thatcher

What is Socialism?

Socialism is an economic and political system based on government or collective ownership of the means of production. Socialism emphasizes equality rather than achievement, and values workers by the amount of time they put in rather than by the amount of value they produce. It also makes individuals dependent on the state for everything from food to health care.

What is Capitalism?

Capitalism is a system of economics based on the private ownership of capital and production inputs, and on the production of goods and services for profit. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market (market economy), rather than through central planning (command economy).  Capitalism is often closely associated with economic growth, as production and price are determined by the market rather than by governments. Private property rights provide individuals with the freedom to produce goods and services they can sell in the market.

What’s the Difference?

  • Socialism:  the means of production are owned or controlled by the government.  The government decides what things will be made, how they will be made, who will get them and the price at which the goods will be offered for sale.  This is a command economy.
  • Capitalism:  the means of production are privately owned by individuals or companies and operated for profit.  This is a free-market economy.

Compiled in part from study.com, Investopedia, clemson.edu, enotes.com, CollinsDictionary, econlib.org and Wikipedia

Open as PDF


Video #1 – What is socialism?
(April, 2017)

Video #2 – Socialism vs Capitalism:
(July 2016)

Video #3 – Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse:
(August, 2017)

Video #4 – Does capitalism run on greed?
In the 1979 video below, Milton Friedman is interviewed by Phil Donahue.
Milton Friedman was a professor of Economics at the University of Chicago for over 30 years.
He was a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.




Cartoon by Mike Lester


Cartoon by Pat Cross

Cartoon by Mike Lester


“The enduring lesson of the 20th century is that socialism is a failure, and free markets are a success.  But the politicians keep advocating just a little more socialism.”
– Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics