Socialism Book Summary - Socialism Book explained in key points
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Socialism summary

Michael Newman

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4.4 (180 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Socialism by Michael Newman explores the history, theory, and practice of socialism. It delves into the works of socialist thinkers, explaining their ideas and how they have influenced socialist movements around the world.

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    Although there’s no single definition of “socialism,” the forms it’s taken over the years share a number of characteristics.

    What do you think when you hear the word socialism?

    For many, the term “socialism” is often reduced to its most infamous incarnation – the long-lived USSR and its brutal dictator, Joseph Stalin.

    However, the USSR’s Stalinism is far from the only form that socialism can take. Indeed, socialism has taken many forms since it first arose in the nineteenth century. Consider the huge difference between Cuba and Sweden. The former is a communist single-party state; the latter, a parliamentary social democracy. Although the two nations are a world apart politically, each has a system of government that stems from socialist ideals and is rooted in a number of common socialist characteristics.

    The most overarching principle guiding all forms of socialism is the goal to create an egalitarian society. And although various forms disagree on how to achieve this, they all agree that society’s inequalities in income and power stem from the economic system that dominates the world today: capitalism. To varying degrees, socialists of all stripes have sought to remove the structural barriers put in place by capitalism – specifically, the ownership of capital by a small elite – so that all members of society can prosper equally.

    Beyond this overarching characteristic, socialists of all shapes and sizes believe in the possibility of creating an egalitarian society founded upon human solidarity. This optimistic belief is rooted in a fundamental assumption: that human beings are by nature cooperative, not competitive.

    But how would such an egalitarian system be brought about? Well, all socialists concur that such a system must come about via conscious human agency. It won’t happen naturally; human action is required. In other words, if people want change, they must be the agents of that change.

    Now that we have an idea of what binds socialists together, let’s delve into how the ideology developed. It’s time to head back to the nineteenth century, a time of industry and progress.

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    What is Socialism about?

    Socialism (2005) is a dash through the history of the term after which the book is named. Socialism has played an important role over the past 200 years of human history, but its original goal of achieving an egalitarian society has, in recent decades, been somewhat forgotten. This book is a thorough tour of socialism’s history. It’s also an exploration of the various ways the word has been implemented and a guide to ways we might use it in the future.

    Socialism Review

    Socialism (2019) by Michael Newman explores the history, theory, and practice of socialism. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a balanced and comprehensive overview of socialism, giving readers a clear understanding of its principles and impact.
    • Through in-depth analysis and case studies, the book explores the successes and failures of socialist movements throughout history, offering valuable insights.
    • By addressing contemporary debates and challenges, it shows the relevance and potential of socialist ideas in today's world, making it a compelling read for all.

    Who should read Socialism?

    • Anyone tired of their unstable economic condition
    • Students of politics, economics or history
    • Those who want more information on a commonly misunderstood term

    About the Author

    Michael Newman is a professor of politics at London Metropolitan University. His other books include Ralph Miliband and the Politics of the New Left and Democracy, Sovereignty and the European Union.

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    Socialism FAQs 

    What is the main message of Socialism?

    Socialism examines the complex history and various interpretations of socialism, providing an informative and balanced perspective.

    How long does it take to read Socialism?

    The estimated reading time for Socialism varies depending on the reader's speed. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Socialism a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Socialism is worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the ideology and its impact. It offers valuable insights and analysis.

    Who is the author of Socialism?

    The author of Socialism is Michael Newman.

    What to read after Socialism?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Socialism, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter
    • Populism by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • Anarchism by Colin Ward
    • Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
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