Socialist ideology can be defined as a set of social institutions that promote solidarity, mutual aid, and self-interest among all people, according to a new book published by Harvard University Press.
Social Capital, by historian and New York Times best-selling author Peter Beinart, offers a detailed definition of socialism.
Socialism is defined as “the economic, political, and cultural policies that advance the interests of the working class and other oppressed groups in the socialist society.”
Beinart says socialism is not just a philosophy, but also a system of ideas.
The term “social capital” is used to describe the social infrastructure that is essential for the functioning of society, he writes.
He argues that a society that does not have a strong social capital, or social capital as it’s often called, is likely to experience economic and social ills.
Social capital, he says, includes the networks of social and economic relationships that provide the basic necessities of life for people, and is essential to sustaining economic and political stability.
Social darvinism, by contrast, is defined by Beinas “new and different conception of social capital,” he says.
This is an “ideological and social-democratic critique of the social arrangements of the past that has no clear theoretical foundation, no clear moral content, and no clear social-economic goals.”
Social darsinism advocates an economic system that provides everyone with basic necessities, such as food, shelter, medical care, education, and legal protections, and a government that would act as the guardian of the public welfare.
Social darlinism is generally associated with communist regimes, such a China, or Soviet Union, Beinarts book says.
Social Darsinists say that the benefits of socialism are not just economic, but social as well.
A society without social capital must be unable to function efficiently and effectively, he explains.
In other words, a society without a strong sense of social belonging, social solidarity, and social darvenism, and without the capacity to support its own needs, is incapable of fulfilling its basic functions and must be replaced by one based on a stateless society.
Social solidarity, which Beinast defines as “a society’s commitment to the rights and welfare of the most disadvantaged members of its own population,” is a crucial component of socialism, he argues.
It means that every person has a right to an adequate standard of living, a right that is protected by a strong state, a government, and an armed force.
Social justice, Beynart argues, is a “political philosophy” that promotes fairness and equality in the distribution of wealth, power, and resources.
It aims to build social solidarity through social justice programs, such an anti-poverty program, and programs that promote fairness and equity in the education and employment systems.
Social security, he maintains, is an essential component of a socialist society.
The government must provide for the welfare of all citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, he wrote.
Social stability, which is defined in the book as “an equitable distribution of resources, a well-functioning social order, and, above all, a social and political system that is socially and politically stable and which provides the basic services needed by all,” is the “fundamental condition of any truly socialist society,” Beinarth writes.