With the appearance of posters cropping up in odd places around Los Angeles depicting President Obama as the joker with a single word under the picture “socialism” (view photo here) I thought it worthy to review definitions according to my hard-bound Webster’s dictionary.
Capitalism: the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution, as land, factories, railroads, etc., are privately owned and operated for profit, originally under fully competitive conditions: it has been generally characterized by a tendency toward concentration of wealth, and, in it’s later phase, by the grown of great corporations, increased governmental control, etc.
Capitalism: the principles, methods, interests, power, influence, etc. of capitalists, especially of those with large holdings.
Socialism: any of various theories of systems of the ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of society or the community sharing in the work and the products.
Socialism: the stage of society, in Marxist doctrine, coming between the capitalist stage and the communist stage, in which private ownership of the means of production and distribution has been eliminated.
Communism: any economic theory or system based on the ownership of all property by the community as a whole.
Communism: a hypothetical stage of socialism, as formulated by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and others, to be characterized by a classless and stateless society and the equal distribution of economic goods, and to be achieved by revolutionary and dictatorial, rather than gradualistic, means.
Communism: the form of government in the USSR, China, and other socialist states, professing to be working toward this stage by means of state planning and control of the economy, a one-party political structure, and an emphasis on the requirements of the state rather than on individual liberties
I leave it to your interpretation to decide where we are in history and where we’re going.