Some of the main features of socialism are as follows:
1. More emphasis on Society than on Individual:
Under Socialism more emphasis is laid on the society than on the individual. Socialism subordinates the individual interests to the higher interests of the society as a whole. Fred Bramley writes “Socialism implies the subordination of the interests of the individual to the interests of the society.”
2. Abolition of Private Ownership of Means of Production and their Management for Social Good:
Prof. Joad writes that main important common elements of socialism are:
(1) The private ownership of the means of production is to be abolished and important industries and services are to be brought under public ownership and control.
(2) Industry is to be carried on for the purpose of serving to the needs of the community and not with the object of making profit for the individuals.
3. Adovocacy of Organic Unity of Society:
Socialism places emphasis upon the organic unity of the society. It aims at organizaing society in the interests of equality and individual freedom. Freedom however does not mean complete absence of restraints. On the contrary it means provision of those opportunities which enable all individuals to live a full and free life and also to do that which is considered to be right for them.
The socialists believe that there is neither liberty nor equality in a capitalist society. They aim at freeing the individual from the slavery of hunger, want and unemployment. A man can only be free, if he is provided with the basic conditions of life which can also enable him to develop his mental and other natural faculties.
4. Opposition to Capitalism:
Socialism is opposed to capitalist principles of profit-making. Capitalism ignores the principle of increased production for the sake of common good. It leads to unequal distribution of wealth among different social classes. In it, the rich get richer and the poor become poorer. It is because of this reason that socialism aims at the abolition of capitalism. It wants production to be carried on in accordance with the needs of the society and the distribution to be carried on in accordance with the principle of social justice.
5. Elimination of Competition:
Socialism stands for the elimination of competition because it leads to harmful waste, which can be avoided. Socialists are of the opinion that under the capitalist system of production there is competition only for the sake of profits. This is both unhealthy and anti-social. It also results in over-production. The rich and bigger producers always exploit and eat out small producers of goods and services.
The producers spend a lot of money on the advertisement of their goods. This is an enormous waste. Under socialism this type of wastage is to be put to an end. There are take no monopolies such as cartels, trusts and corporations which always indulge in unhealthy competition.
6. Abolition of Private Enterprise:
Socialism believes in abolishing both private property and the private enterprise. It aims at transforming the private enterprise into public and collective enterprise. It believes in nationalisation and soicialisation of the means of production. It asserts that land and other natural resources and instruments of production should no longer be used and governed by the few. Instead, these should be utilized and managed by the people and for the people.
7. Equality—the basis of Socialism:
Another principle of Socialism is that it stands for equality. Socialism aims at securing economic equality for all. According to Laveleye: “Every socialistic doctrine aims at introducing greater equality into social conditions, Socialism is an equaliser and leveller.” But this does not mean that Socialism aims at securing absolute equality. It simply means provision of equal opportunities to all for the development of their faculties. Differences on the basis of merit and capacity are tolerated under socialism.
8. Socialist view of the State:
The socialists have a different view of the state. Orthodox socialists believe in the formation of a stateless society. They consider the State as an instrument of inequality exploitation and force. As such they want to do away with the State. They give a call the state has got to wither away. However some other socialist scholars advocate the desirability of the state control (Public Control) over the means of production and distribution.
Socialists, however are totally opposed a state controlled by the capitalists. They want to replace the existing system by a system of central sovereign community which works for the security, welfare and development of all the people. These are the main features of Socialism.