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The Pronk Pops Show 1261, May 21, 2019, Story 1: Do Not Believe The Poll That 43% of Americans Believe That Socialism Would Be A Good Thing — More Capitalism and Less Socialism Would Be Excellent –Videos — Story 2: Progressive Socialist Democrats Want To Impeach Trump — Please Do and Lose — From Collusion Delusion To Obstruction Delusion To Democrats Destruction — Game Set Match — Videos

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Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism

Capitalism vs. Socialism

How Socialism Ruined My Country

Is Denmark Socialist?

Socialists and Other Grotesque Ingrates | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Socialism Makes People Selfish

Free Market Masters: Ludwig von Mises

Hayek on Socialism

Ludwig von Mises Speaks: Socialism versus Free Market Exchange (1970)

The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism

Ten Things Millennials Should Know About Socialism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

 

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country
  • 51% believe socialism would be a bad thing for the country
  • Americans split on viewing economy as free market or government controlled

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.

More Americans Now See Socialism as a Good Thing for the Country
Would some form of socialism be a good thing or a bad thing for the country as a whole?
1942 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Good thing 25 43 +18
Bad thing 40 51 +11
No opinion 34 6 -28
Net “good thing” -15 -8 +7
Note: 1942 data gathered by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
GALLUP

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup’s update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

Previous Gallup research shows that Americans’ definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018.

Outlook on Socialism Around the World

The April 17-30 survey also updates another historical question on socialism. Gallup first asked Americans in 1949 about their outlook on the spread of democracy over the next 50 years. At that time, seven in 10 Americans (72%) predicted that most countries in the world would have a democratic government. It’s important to note that in much of the political rhetoric of the time, the terms democracy and capitalism were more intimately intertwined than they are today, perhaps synonymous to many.

Americans’ Views on Future of Democracy and Socialism Globally
During the next 50 years, do you think most of the nations of the world will have a democratic government, a communist government or a socialist government?
1949 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Democratic 72 57 -15
Socialist 14 29 +15
Communist 9 6 -3
No opinion 5 8 +3
GALLUP

The current update on this question finds a marked increase in the percentage saying that most countries during the next 50 years will have a socialist government (29%). It is unclear whether this is due to the flourishing of democracies — particularly in Europe and Latin America — led by what are often described as social democrats, or whether a fundamental shift is taking place among some Americans in their views of socialism.

Government vs. Free Market

In the same April survey, Gallup asked Americans whether they would prefer mostly free market or government control over several economic and societal activities. Americans are most likely to prefer free market control in the areas of technological innovation and the distribution of wealth. Majorities also want the free market to drive the economy overall, wages, higher education and healthcare.

Preference for the government to serve as the primarily responsible actor only garners majority support for protecting online consumer privacy and the environment.

Majority Want Free Market to Lead on Many Fronts
Would you prefer to have the free market or the government be primarily responsible for what happens in each of the following areas?
Free market Government Net “free market”
% % pct. pts.
Technological innovation 75 19 +56
The distribution of wealth 68 28 +40
The economy overall 62 33 +29
Wages 62 35 +27
Higher education 56 41 +15
Healthcare 53 44 +9
Protecting consumers’ privacy online 40 57 -17
Environmental protection 30 66 -36
GALLUP, APRIL 17-30, 2019

Notably, more Americans favor free market than government control over healthcare and higher education, two areas in which Democratic politicians have made proposals to greatly expand government involvement. But at least four in 10 Americans appear sympathetic to policies that would increase the government’s role in those areas.

While there is ample support for a market-driven approach to many of the issues cited above, Americans are divided on how they describe the current state of the U.S. economy. When asked whether they think the U.S. economy leans more toward free market control or toward government control, 40% say it leans more toward government control while fewer say it leans toward free market control (34%). One in four describe it as an equal mix.

Stacked bar graph. Americans’ views of the current state of free market versus government control of the economy.

Bottom Line

Americans’ views on socialism are complex. While some recent data can easily lend to overstated conclusions, there are marked changes in Americans’ views of socialism when taking a longer, more historical look at the data. However, exactly what Americans mean by the term is nuanced and multifaceted. While half of Americans consider socialism as bad for the country, nearly two-thirds say that the U.S. economy is more influenced by the government than the free market, or that it reflects an equal mix of the two.

Additionally, while a majority of Democrats view socialism positively, that is not a major change in the eight years Gallup has tracked this metric. The major shift over this time has been the reduced rate of Democrats who now view capitalism positively (47%).

These data alone make it hard to generalize a simplistic conclusion about Americans’ opinions of, and willingness to entertain, socialism. But there are a few clear takeaways. About four in 10 Americans are accepting of some form of socialism or socialist policies, and Democrats currently have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism. In addition, the April survey found that 47% of Americans say they would vote for a socialist candidate for president. While that figure represents nearly half of the U.S. adult population, even higher percentages say they would vote for an atheist (58%) or Muslim (60%) presidential candidate.

However, when they are asked what role they would like to see the government play in certain areas of society, Americans continue to endorse the free market.

Shifting attitudes about socialism, capitalism, and the current economic and political systems in America — as well as what alternatives many see as solutions for current shortcomings — will continue to be a major focus for Gallup.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends

Capitalism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.[1][2][3][4] Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.[5][6] In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.[7][8]

Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership,[9] obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism.[10][11] The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.[12]

Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times, places and cultures. Modern capitalist societies—marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a consistently large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, and a capitalist class which owns the means of production—developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Over time, capitalist countries have experienced consistent economic growth and an increase in the standard of living.

Critics of capitalism argue that it establishes power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of the majority working class and their labor; prioritizes profit over social good, natural resources and the environment; and is an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instabilities. Supporters argue that it provides better products and innovation through competition, disperses wealth to all productive people, promotes pluralism and decentralization of power, creates strong economic growth, and yields productivity and prosperity that greatly benefit society.

Contents

Etymology

Other terms sometimes used for capitalism:

The term “capitalist”, meaning an owner of capital, appears earlier than the term “capitalism” and it dates back to the mid-17th century. “Capitalism” is derived from capital, which evolved from capitale, a late Latin word based on caput, meaning “head”—also the origin of “chattel” and “cattle” in the sense of movable property (only much later to refer only to livestock). Capitale emerged in the 12th to 13th centuries in the sense of referring to funds, stock of merchandise, sum of money or money carrying interest.[24]:232[25][26] By 1283, it was used in the sense of the capital assets of a trading firm and it was frequently interchanged with a number of other words—wealth, money, funds, goods, assets, property and so on.[24]:233

The Hollandische Mercurius uses “capitalists” in 1633 and 1654 to refer to owners of capital.[24]:234 In French, Étienne Clavier referred to capitalistes in 1788,[27] six years before its first recorded English usage by Arthur Young in his work Travels in France (1792).[26][28] In his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), David Ricardo referred to “the capitalist” many times.[29] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, used “capitalist” in his work Table Talk (1823).[30] Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used the term “capitalist” in his first work, What is Property? (1840), to refer to the owners of capital. Benjamin Disraeli used the term “capitalist” in his 1845 work Sybil.[26]

The initial usage of the term “capitalism” in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 (“What I call ‘capitalism’ that is to say the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others”) and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861 (“Economic and social regime in which capital, the source of income, does not generally belong to those who make it work through their labour”).[24]:237 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to the “capitalistic system”[31][32] and to the “capitalist mode of production” in Capital (1867).[33] The use of the word “capitalism” in reference to an economic system appears twice in Volume I of Capital, p. 124 (German edition) and in Theories of Surplus Value, tome II, p. 493 (German edition). Marx did not extensively use the form capitalism, but instead those of capitalist and capitalist mode of production, which appear more than 2,600 times in the trilogy The Capital. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term “capitalism” first appeared in English in 1854 in the novel The Newcomes by novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, where he meant “having ownership of capital”.[34] Also according to the OED, Carl Adolph Douai, a German American socialist and abolitionist, used the phrase “private capitalism” in 1863.

History

Capitalism in its modern form can be traced to the emergence of agrarian capitalism and mercantilism in the early Renaissance, in city states like Florence.[35] Capital has existed incipiently on a small scale for centuries[36] in the form of merchant, renting and lending activities and occasionally as small-scale industry with some wage labour. Simple commodity exchange and consequently simple commodity production, which are the initial basis for the growth of capital from trade, have a very long history. Classical Islam promulgated capitalist economic policies such as free trade and banking. Their use of Indo-Arabic numerals facilitated bookkeeping. These innovations migrated to Europe through trade partners in cities such as Venice and Pisa. The Italian mathematician Fibonacci traveled the Mediterranean talking to Arab traders, and returned to popularize the use of Indo-Arabic numerals in Europe.[37]

Capital and commercial trade thus existed for much of history, but it did not lead to industrialisation or dominate the production process of society. That required a set of conditions, including specific technologies of mass production, the ability to independently and privately own and trade in means of production, a class of workers willing to sell their labour power for a living, a legal framework promoting commerce, a physical infrastructure allowing the circulation of goods on a large scale and security for private accumulation. Many of these conditions do not currently exist in many Third World countries, although there is plenty of capital and labour. The obstacles for the development of capitalist markets are therefore less technical and more social, cultural and political.

Agrarian capitalism

The economic foundations of the feudal agricultural system began to shift substantially in 16th-century England as the manorial system had broken down and land began to become concentrated in the hands of fewer landlords with increasingly large estates. Instead of a serf-based system of labor, workers were increasingly employed as part of a broader and expanding money-based economy. The system put pressure on both landlords and tenants to increase the productivity of agriculture to make profit; the weakened coercive power of the aristocracy to extract peasant surpluses encouraged them to try better methods; and the tenants also had incentive to improve their methods in order to flourish in a competitive labor market. Terms of rent for land were becoming subject to economic market forces rather than to the previous stagnant system of custom and feudal obligation.[38][39]

By the early 17th century, England was a centralized state in which much of the feudal order of Medieval Europe had been swept away. This centralization was strengthened by a good system of roads and by a disproportionately large capital city, London. The capital acted as a central market hub for the entire country, creating a very large internal market for goods, contrasting with the fragmented feudal holdings that prevailed in most parts of the Continent.

Mercantilism

A painting of a French seaport from 1638 at the height of mercantilism

The economic doctrine prevailing from the 16th to the 18th centuries is commonly called mercantilism.[40][41] This period, the Age of Discovery, was associated with the geographic exploration of the foreign lands by merchant traders, especially from England and the Low Countries. Mercantilism was a system of trade for profit, although commodities were still largely produced by non-capitalist methods.[42] Most scholars consider the era of merchant capitalism and mercantilism as the origin of modern capitalism,[43][44] although Karl Polanyi argued that the hallmark of capitalism is the establishment of generalized markets for what he called the “fictitious commodities”, i.e. land, labor and money. Accordingly, he argued that “not until 1834 was a competitive labor market established in England, hence industrial capitalism as a social system cannot be said to have existed before that date”.[45]

Robert Clive after the Battle of Plassey, which began East India Company rule in India

England began a large-scale and integrative approach to mercantilism during the Elizabethan Era (1558–1603). A systematic and coherent explanation of balance of trade was made public through Thomas Mun‘s argument England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade, or the Balance of our Forraign Trade is The Rule of Our Treasure. It was written in the 1620s and published in 1664.[46]

European merchants, backed by state controls, subsidies and monopolies, made most of their profits by buying and selling goods. In the words of Francis Bacon, the purpose of mercantilism was “the opening and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufacturers; the banishing of idleness; the repressing of waste and excess by sumptuary laws; the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the regulation of prices…”.[47]

The British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company inaugurated an expansive era of commerce and trade.[48][49] These companies were characterized by their colonial and expansionary powers given to them by nation-states.[48] During this era, merchants, who had traded under the previous stage of mercantilism, invested capital in the East India Companies and other colonies, seeking a return on investment.

Industrial capitalism

A Watt steam engine: the steam engine fuelled primarily by coal propelled the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain[50]

In the mid-18th century, a new group of economic theorists, led by David Hume[51] and Adam Smith, challenged fundamental mercantilist doctrines such as the belief that the world’s wealth remained constant and that a state could only increase its wealth at the expense of another state.

During the Industrial Revolution, industrialists replaced merchants as a dominant factor in the capitalist system and affected the decline of the traditional handicraft skills of artisans, guilds and journeymen. Also during this period, the surplus generated by the rise of commercial agriculture encouraged increased mechanization of agriculture. Industrial capitalism marked the development of the factory system of manufacturing, characterized by a complex division of labor between and within work process and the routine of work tasks; and finally established the global domination of the capitalist mode of production.[41]

Britain also abandoned its protectionist policy as embraced by mercantilism. In the 19th century, Richard Cobden and John Bright, who based their beliefs on the Manchester School, initiated a movement to lower tariffs.[52] In the 1840s, Britain adopted a less protectionist policy, with the repeal of the Corn Laws and the Navigation Acts.[41] Britain reduced tariffs and quotas, in line with David Ricardo’s advocacy for free trade.

Modern capitalism

The gold standard formed the financial basis of the international economy from 1870 to 1914

Capitalism was carried across the world by broader processes of globalization and by the beginning of the nineteenth century a series of loosely connected market systems had come together as a relatively integrated global system, in turn intensifying processes of economic and other globalization.[53][page needed] Later in the 20th century, capitalism overcame a challenge by centrally-planned economies and is now the encompassing system worldwide,[16][54] with the mixed economy being its dominant form in the industrialized Western world.

Industrialization allowed cheap production of household items using economies of scale while rapid population growth created sustained demand for commodities. Globalization in this period was decisively shaped by 18th-century imperialism.[53][page needed]

After the First and Second Opium Wars and the completion of British conquest of India, vast populations of these regions became ready consumers of European exports. Also in this period, areas of sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific islands were colonised. The conquest of new parts of the globe, notably sub-Saharan Africa, by Europeans yielded valuable natural resources such as rubber, diamonds and coal and helped fuel trade and investment between the European imperial powers, their colonies and the United States:

The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea, the various products of the whole earth, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep. Militarism and imperialism of racial and cultural rivalries were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper. What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man was that age which came to an end in August 1914.[55]

In this period, the global financial system was mainly tied to the gold standard. The United Kingdom first formally adopted this standard in 1821. Soon to follow were Canada in 1853, Newfoundland in 1865, the United States and Germany (de jure) in 1873. New technologies, such as the telegraph, the transatlantic cable, the radiotelephone, the steamship and railway allowed goods and information to move around the world at an unprecedented degree.[56]

The New York stock exchange traders’ floor (1963)

In the period following the global depression of the 1930s, the state played an increasingly prominent role in the capitalistic system throughout much of the world. The postwar boom ended in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the situation was worsened by the rise of stagflation.[57] Monetarism, a modification of Keynesianism that is more compatible with laissez-faire, gained increasing prominence in the capitalist world, especially under the leadership of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. Public and political interest began shifting away from the so-called collectivist concerns of Keynes’s managed capitalism to a focus on individual choice, called “remarketized capitalism”.[58]

According to Harvard academic Shoshana Zuboff, a new genus of capitalism, surveillance capitalism, monetizes data acquired through surveillance.[59][60][61] She states it was first discovered and consolidated at Google, emerged due to the “coupling of the vast powers of the digital with the radical indifference and intrinsic narcissism of the financial capitalism and its neoliberal vision that have dominated commerce for at least three decades, especially in the Anglo economies”[60] and depends on the global architecture of computer mediation which produces a distributed and largely uncontested new expression of power she calls “Big Other”.[62]

Relationship to democracy

Many analysts[who?] assert that China is one of the main examples of state capitalism in the 21st century

The relationship between democracy and capitalism is a contentious area in theory and in popular political movements. The extension of universal adult male suffrage in 19th-century Britain occurred along with the development of industrial capitalism and democracy became widespread at the same time as capitalism, leading capitalists to posit a causal or mutual relationship between them.[63] However, according to some authors in the 20th-century, capitalism also accompanied a variety of political formations quite distinct from liberal democracies, including fascist regimes, absolute monarchies and single-party states.[41] Democratic peace theory asserts that democracies seldom fight other democracies, but critics of that theory suggest that this may be because of political similarity or stability rather than because they are democratic or capitalist. Moderate critics argue that though economic growth under capitalism has led to democracy in the past, it may not do so in the future as authoritarian regimes have been able to manage economic growth without making concessions to greater political freedom.[64][65]

Milton Friedman, one of the biggest supporters of the idea that capitalism promotes political freedom, argued that competitive capitalism allows economic and political power to be separate, ensuring that they do not clash with one another. Moderate critics have recently challenged this, stating that the current influence lobbying groups have had on policy in the United States is a contradiction, given the approval of Citizens United. This has led people to question the idea that competitive capitalism promotes political freedom. The ruling on Citizens United allows corporations to spend undisclosed and unregulated amounts of money on political campaigns, shifting outcomes to the interests and undermining true democracy. As explained in Robin Hahnel’s writings, the centerpiece of the ideological defense of the free market system is the concept of economic freedom and that supporters equate economic democracy with economic freedom and claim that only the free market system can provide economic freedom. According to Hahnel, there are a few objections to the premise that capitalism offers freedom through economic freedom. These objections are guided by critical questions about who or what decides whose freedoms are more protected. Often, the question of inequality is brought up when discussing how well capitalism promotes democracy. An argument that could stand is that economic growth can lead to inequality given that capital can be acquired at different rates by different people. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics asserts that inequality is the inevitable consequence of economic growth in a capitalist economy and the resulting concentration of wealth can destabilize democratic societies and undermine the ideals of social justice upon which they are built.[66]

States with capitalistic economic systems have thrived under political regimes deemed to be authoritarian or oppressive. Singapore has a successful open market economy as a result of its competitive, business-friendly climate and robust rule of law. Nonetheless, it often comes under fire for its brand of government which though democratic and consistently one of the least corrupt[67] it also operates largely under a one-party rule and does not vigorously defend freedom of expression given its government-regulated press as well as penchant for upholding laws protecting ethnic and religious harmony, judicial dignity and personal reputation. The private (capitalist) sector in the People’s Republic of China has grown exponentially and thrived since its inception, despite having an authoritarian government. Augusto Pinochet‘s rule in Chile led to economic growth and high levels of inequality[68] by using authoritarian means to create a safe environment for investment and capitalism. Similarly, Suharto‘s authoritarian reign and extirpation of the Communist Party of Indonesia allowed for the expansion of capitalism in Indonesia.[69][70]

Varieties of capitalism

Peter A. Hall and David Soskice argued that modern economies have developed two different forms of capitalism: liberal market economies (or LME) (e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland) and coordinated market economies (CME) (e.g. Germany, Japan, Sweden and Austria). Those two types can be distinguished by the primary way in which firms coordinate with each other and other actors, such as trade unions. In LMEs, firms primarily coordinate their endeavors by way of hierarchies and market mechanisms. Coordinated market economies more heavily rely on non-market forms of interaction in the coordination of their relationship with other actors (for a detailed description see Varieties of Capitalism). These two forms of capitalisms developed different industrial relations, vocational training and education, corporate governance, inter-firm relations and relations with employees. The existence of these different forms of capitalism has important societal effects, especially in periods of crisis and instability. Since the early 2000s, the number of labor market outsiders has rapidly grown in Europe, especially among the youth, potentially influencing social and political participation. Using varieties of capitalism theory, it is possible to disentangle the different effects on social and political participation that an increase of labor market outsiders has in liberal and coordinated market economies (Ferragina et al., 2016).[71] The social and political disaffection, especially among the youth, seems to be more pronounced in liberal than coordinated market economies. This signals an important problem for liberal market economies in a period of crisis. If the market does not provide consistent job opportunities (as it has in previous decades), the shortcomings of liberal social security systems may depress social and political participation even further than in other capitalist economies.

Characteristics

In general, capitalism as an economic system and mode of production can be summarised by the following:[72]

The market

The price (P) of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply, S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand, D): this results in a market equilibrium, with a given quantity (Q) sold of the product, whereas a rise in demand would result in an increase in price and an increase in output

In free market and laissez-faire forms of capitalism, markets are used most extensively with minimal or no regulation over the pricing mechanism. In mixed economies, which are almost universal today,[80] markets continue to play a dominant role, but they are regulated to some extent by the state in order to correct market failures, promote social welfare, conserve natural resources, fund defense and public safety or other rationale. In state capitalist systems, markets are relied upon the least, with the state relying heavily on state-owned enterprises or indirect economic planning to accumulate capital.

Supply is the amount of a good or service that is available for purchase or sale. Demand is the measure of value for a good that people are willing to buy at a given time. Prices tend to rise when demand for an available resource increases or its supply diminishes and fall with demand or when supply increases.

Competition arises when more than one producer is trying to sell the same or similar products to the same buyers. In capitalist theory, competition leads to innovation and more affordable prices. Without competition, a monopoly or cartel may develop. A monopoly occurs when a firm is granted exclusivity over a market. Hence the firm can engage in rent seeking behaviors such as limiting output and raising prices because it has no fear of competition. A cartel is a group of firms that act together in a monopolistic manner to control output and prices.

Governments have implemented legislation for the purpose of preventing the creation of monopolies and cartels. In 1890, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act became the first legislation passed by the United States Congress to limit monopolies.[81]

Profit motive

The profit motive, in the theory in capitalism, is the desire to earn income in the form of profit. Stated differently, the reason for a business’s existence is to turn a profit. The profit motive functions according to rational choice theory, or the theory that individuals tend to pursue what is in their own best interests. Accordingly, businesses seek to benefit themselves and/or their shareholders by maximizing profit.

In capitalist theoretics, the profit motive is said to ensure that resources are being allocated efficiently. For instance, Austrian economist Henry Hazlitt explains: “If there is no profit in making an article, it is a sign that the labor and capital devoted to its production are misdirected: the value of the resources that must be used up in making the article is greater than the value of the article itself”.[82] In other words, profits let companies know whether an item is worth producing. Theoretically, in free and competitive markets maximising profit ensures that resources are not wasted.

Private property

The relationship between the state, its formal mechanisms and capitalist societies has been debated in many fields of social and political theory, with active discussion since the 19th century. Hernando de Soto is a contemporary Peruvian economist who has argued that an important characteristic of capitalism is the functioning state protection of property rights in a formal property system where ownership and transactions are clearly recorded.[83]

According to de Soto, this is the process by which physical assets are transformed into capital, which in turn may be used in many more ways and much more efficiently in the market economy. A number of Marxian economists have argued that the Enclosure Acts in England and similar legislation elsewhere were an integral part of capitalist primitive accumulation and that specific legal frameworks of private land ownership have been integral to the development of capitalism.[84][85]

Market competition

In capitalist economics, market competition is the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution and promotion. Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as “the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favourable terms”.[86] It was described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1776) and later economists as allocating productive resources to their most highly valued uses[87] and encouraging efficiency. Smith and other classical economists before Antoine Augustine Cournot were referring to price and non-price rivalry among producers to sell their goods on best terms by bidding of buyers, not necessarily to a large number of sellers nor to a market in final equilibrium.[88] Competition is widespread throughout the market process. It is a condition where “buyers tend to compete with other buyers, and sellers tend to compete with other sellers”.[89] In offering goods for exchange, buyers competitively bid to purchase specific quantities of specific goods which are available, or might be available if sellers were to choose to offer such goods. Similarly, sellers bid against other sellers in offering goods on the market, competing for the attention and exchange resources of buyers. Competition results from scarcity—there is never enough to satisfy all conceivable human wants—and occurs “when people strive to meet the criteria that are being used to determine who gets what”.[89]

Economic growth

World’s GDP per capita shows exponential growth since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution[90]

Capitalism and the economy of the People’s Republic of China

Historically, capitalism has an ability to promote economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), capacity utilization or standard of living. This argument was central, for example, to Adam Smith’s advocacy of letting a free market control production and price and allocate resources. Many theorists have noted that this increase in global GDP over time coincides with the emergence of the modern world capitalist system.[91][92]

Between 1000 and 1820, the world economy grew sixfold, a faster rate than the population growth, so individuals enjoyed, on average, a 50% increase in income. Between 1820 and 1998, world economy grew 50-fold, a much faster rate than the population growth, so individuals enjoyed on average a 9-fold increase in income.[93] Over this period, in Europe, North America and Australasia the economy grew 19-fold per person, even though these regions already had a higher starting level; and in Japan, which was poor in 1820, the increase per person was 31-fold. In the Third World, there was an increase, but only 5-fold per person.[93]

As a mode of production

The capitalist mode of production refers to the systems of organising production and distribution within capitalist societies. Private money-making in various forms (renting, banking, merchant trade, production for profit and so on) preceded the development of the capitalist mode of production as such. The capitalist mode of production proper based on wage-labour and private ownership of the means of production and on industrial technology began to grow rapidly in Western Europe from the Industrial Revolution, later extending to most of the world.[citation needed]

The term capitalist mode of production is defined by private ownership of the means of production, extraction of surplus value by the owning class for the purpose of capital accumulation, wage-based labour and at least as far as commodities are concerned being market-based.[94]

Capitalism in the form of money-making activity has existed in the shape of merchants and money-lenders who acted as intermediaries between consumers and producers engaging in simple commodity production (hence the reference to “merchant capitalism“) since the beginnings of civilisation. What is specific about the “capitalist mode of production” is that most of the inputs and outputs of production are supplied through the market (i.e. they are commodities) and essentially all production is in this mode.[10] For example, in flourishing feudalism most or all of the factors of production including labour are owned by the feudal ruling class outright and the products may also be consumed without a market of any kind, it is production for use within the feudal social unit and for limited trade.[73] This has the important consequence that the whole organisation of the production process is reshaped and re-organised to conform with economic rationality as bounded by capitalism, which is expressed in price relationships between inputs and outputs (wages, non-labour factor costs, sales and profits) rather than the larger rational context faced by society overall—that is, the whole process is organised and re-shaped in order to conform to “commercial logic”. Essentially, capital accumulation comes to define economic rationality in capitalist production.[74]

A society, region or nation is capitalist if the predominant source of incomes and products being distributed is capitalist activity, but even so this does not yet mean necessarily that the capitalist mode of production is dominant in that society.

Supply and demand

The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D): the diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product

In capitalist economic structures, supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at the current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at the current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity.

The four basic laws of supply and demand are:[95]:37

  1. If demand increases (demand curve shifts to the right) and supply remains unchanged, then a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
  2. If demand decreases (demand curve shifts to the left) and supply remains unchanged, then a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  3. If demand remains unchanged and supply increases (supply curve shifts to the right), then a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  4. If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases (supply curve shifts to the left), then a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.

Graphical representation of supply and demand

Although it is normal to regard the quantity demanded and the quantity supplied as functions of the price of the goods, the standard graphical representation, usually attributed to Alfred Marshall, has price on the vertical axis and quantity on the horizontal axis, the opposite of the standard convention for the representation of a mathematical function.

Since determinants of supply and demand other than the price of the goods in question are not explicitly represented in the supply-demand diagram, changes in the values of these variables are represented by moving the supply and demand curves (often described as “shifts” in the curves). By contrast, responses to changes in the price of the good are represented as movements along unchanged supply and demand curves.

Supply schedule

A supply schedule is a table that shows the relationship between the price of a good and the quantity supplied. Under the assumption of perfect competition, supply is determined by marginal cost. That is: firms will produce additional output while the cost of producing an extra unit of output is less than the price they would receive.

A hike in the cost of raw goods would decrease supply and shifting costs up while a discount would increase supply, shifting costs down and hurting producers as producer surplus decreases.

By its very nature, conceptualising a supply curve requires the firm to be a perfect competitor (i.e. to have no influence over the market price). This is true because each point on the supply curve is the answer to the question “If this firm is faced with this potential price, how much output will it be able to and willing to sell?”. If a firm has market power, its decision of how much output to provide to the market influences the market price, therefore the firm is not “faced with” any price and the question becomes less relevant.

Economists distinguish between the supply curve of an individual firm and between the market supply curve. The market supply curve is obtained by summing the quantities supplied by all suppliers at each potential price, thus in the graph of the supply curve individual firms’ supply curves are added horizontally to obtain the market supply curve.

Economists also distinguish the short-run market supply curve from the long-run market supply curve. In this context, two things are assumed constant by definition of the short run: the availability of one or more fixed inputs (typically physical capital) and the number of firms in the industry. In the long-run, firms can adjust their holdings of physical capital, enabling them to better adjust their quantity supplied at any given price. Furthermore, in the long-run potential competitors can enter or exit the industry in response to market conditions. For both of these reasons, long-run market supply curves are generally flatter than their short-run counterparts.

The determinants of supply are:

  1. Production costs: how much a goods costs to be produced. Production costs are the cost of the inputs; primarily labor, capital, energy and materials. They depend on the technology used in production and/or technological advances. See productivity.
  2. Firms’ expectations about future prices.
  3. Number of suppliers.

Demand schedule

A demand schedule, depicted graphically as the demand curve, represents the amount of some goods that buyers are willing and able to purchase at various prices, assuming all determinants of demand other than the price of the good in question, such as income, tastes and preferences, the price of substitute goods and the price of complementary goods, remain the same. According to the law of demand, the demand curve is almost always represented as downward-sloping, meaning that as price decreases, consumers will buy more of the good.[96]

Just like the supply curves reflect marginal cost curves, demand curves are determined by marginal utility curves.[97] Consumers will be willing to buy a given quantity of a good at a given price, if the marginal utility of additional consumption is equal to the opportunity cost determined by the price—that is, the marginal utility of alternative consumption choices. The demand schedule is defined as the willingness and ability of a consumer to purchase a given product in a given frame of time.

While the aforementioned demand curve is generally downward-sloping, there may be rare examples of goods that have upward-sloping demand curves. Two different hypothetical types of goods with upward-sloping demand curves are Giffen goods (an inferior, but staple good) and Veblen goods (goods made more fashionable by a higher price).

By its very nature, conceptualising a demand curve requires that the purchaser be a perfect competitor—that is, that the purchaser has no influence over the market price. This is true because each point on the demand curve is the answer to the question “If this buyer is faced with this potential price, how much of the product will it purchase?”. If a buyer has market power, so its decision of how much to buy influences the market price, then the buyer is not “faced with” any price and the question is meaningless.

Like with supply curves, economists distinguish between the demand curve of an individual and the market demand curve. The market demand curve is obtained by summing the quantities demanded by all consumers at each potential price, thus in the graph of the demand curve individuals’ demand curves are added horizontally to obtain the market demand curve.

The determinants of demand are:

  1. Income.
  2. Tastes and preferences.
  3. Prices of related goods and services.
  4. Consumers’ expectations about future prices and incomes that can be checked.
  5. Number of potential consumers.

Equilibrium

In the context of supply and demand, economic equilibrium refers to a state where economic forces such as supply and demand are balanced and in the absence of external influences the (equilibrium) values of economic variables will not change. For example, in the standard text-book model of perfect competition equilibrium occurs at the point at which quantity demanded and quantity supplied are equal.[98] Market equilibrium in this case refers to a condition where a market price is established through competition such that the amount of goods or services sought by buyers is equal to the amount of goods or services produced by sellers. This price is often called the competitive price or market clearing price and will tend not to change unless demand or supply changes and the quantity is called “competitive quantity” or market clearing quantity.

Partial equilibrium

Partial equilibrium, as the name suggests, takes into consideration only a part of the market to attain equilibrium.

Jain proposes (attributed to George Stigler): “A partial equilibrium is one which is based on only a restricted range of data, a standard example is price of a single product, the prices of all other products being held fixed during the analysis”.[99]

The supply and demand model is a partial equilibrium model of economic equilibrium, where the clearance on the market of some specific goods is obtained independently from prices and quantities in other markets. In other words, the prices of all substitutes and complements as well as income levels of consumers are constant. This makes analysis much simpler than in a general equilibrium model which includes an entire economy.

Here the dynamic process is that prices adjust until supply equals demand. It is a powerfully simple technique that allows one to study equilibrium, efficiency and comparative statics. The stringency of the simplifying assumptions inherent in this approach make the model considerably more tractable, but it may produce results which while seemingly precise do not effectively model real world economic phenomena.

Partial equilibrium analysis examines the effects of policy action in creating equilibrium only in that particular sector or market which is directly affected, ignoring its effect in any other market or industry assuming that they being small will have little impact if any.

Hence this analysis is considered to be useful in constricted markets.

Léon Walras first formalised the idea of a one-period economic equilibrium of the general economic system, but it was French economist Antoine Augustin Cournot and English political economist Alfred Marshall who developed tractable models to analyse an economic system.

Empirical estimation

Demand and supply relations in a market can be statistically estimated from price, quantity and other data with sufficient information in the model. This can be done with simultaneous-equation methods of estimation in econometrics. Such methods allow solving for the model-relevant “structural coefficients”, the estimated algebraic counterparts of the theory. The parameter identification problem is a common issue in “structural estimation”. Typically, data on exogenous variables (that is, variables other than price and quantity, both of which are endogenous variables) are needed to perform such an estimation. An alternative to “structural estimation” is reduced-form estimation, which regresses each of the endogenous variables on the respective exogenous variables.

Macroeconomic uses of demand and supply

Demand and supply have also been generalised to explain macroeconomic variables in a market economy, including the quantity of total output and the general price level. The Aggregate Demand–Aggregate Supply model may be the most direct application of supply and demand to macroeconomics, but other macroeconomic models also use supply and demand. Compared to microeconomic uses of demand and supply, different (and more controversial) theoretical considerations apply to such macroeconomic counterparts as aggregate demand and aggregate supply. Demand and supply are also used in macroeconomic theory to relate money supply and money demand to interest rates and to relate labor supply and labor demand to wage rates.

History

According to Hamid S. Hosseini, the power of supply and demand was understood to some extent by several early Muslim scholars, such as fourteenth-century Mamluk scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, who wrote: “If desire for goods increases while its availability decreases, its price rises. On the other hand, if availability of the good increases and the desire for it decreases, the price comes down”.[100]

John Locke‘s 1691 work Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money[101] includes an early and clear description of supply and demand and their relationship. In this description, demand is rent: “The price of any commodity rises or falls by the proportion of the number of buyer and sellers” and “that which regulates the price… [of goods] is nothing else but their quantity in proportion to their rent”.

The phrase “supply and demand” was first used by James Denham-Steuart in his Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, published in 1767. Adam Smith used the phrase in his 1776 book The Wealth of Nations, and David Ricardo titled one chapter of his 1817 work Principles of Political Economy and Taxation “On the Influence of Demand and Supply on Price”.[102]

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith generally assumed that the supply price was fixed, but that its “merit” (value) would decrease as its “scarcity” increased, in effect what was later called the law of demand also. In Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Ricardo more rigorously laid down the idea of the assumptions that were used to build his ideas of supply and demand. Antoine Augustin Cournot first developed a mathematical model of supply and demand in his 1838 Researches into the Mathematical Principles of Wealth, including diagrams.

During the late 19th century, the marginalist school of thought emerged. This field mainly was started by Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger and Léon Walras. The key idea was that the price was set by the most expensive price—that is, the price at the margin. This was a substantial change from Adam Smith’s thoughts on determining the supply price.

In his 1870 essay “On the Graphical Representation of Supply and Demand”, Fleeming Jenkin in the course of “introduc[ing] the diagrammatic method into the English economic literature” published the first drawing of supply and demand curves therein,[103] including comparative statics from a shift of supply or demand and application to the labor market.[104] The model was further developed and popularized by Alfred Marshall in the 1890 textbook Principles of Economics.[102]

Role of government

In a capitalist system, the government does not prohibit private property or prevent individuals from working where they please. The government does not prevent firms from determining what wages they will pay and what prices they will charge for their products. However, many countries have minimum wage laws and minimum safety standards.

Under some versions of capitalism, the government carries out a number of economic functions, such as issuing money, supervising public utilities and enforcing private contracts. Many countries have competition laws that prohibit monopolies and cartels from forming. Despite anti-monopoly laws, large corporations can form near-monopolies in some industries. Such firms can temporarily drop prices and accept losses to prevent competition from entering the market and then raise them again once the threat of entry is reduced. In many countries, public utilities (e.g. electricity, heating fuel and communications) are able to operate as a monopoly under government regulation due to high economies of scale.

Government agencies regulate the standards of service in many industries, such as airlines and broadcasting as well as financing a wide range of programs. In addition, the government regulates the flow of capital and uses financial tools such as the interest rate to control factors such as inflation and unemployment.[105]

Relationship to political freedom

In his book The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek asserts that the economic freedom of capitalism is a requisite of political freedom. He argues that the market mechanism is the only way of deciding what to produce and how to distribute the items without using coercion. Milton Friedman, Andrew Brennan and Ronald Reagan also promoted this view. Friedman claimed that centralized economic operations are always accompanied by political repression. In his view, transactions in a market economy are voluntary and that the wide diversity that voluntary activity permits is a fundamental threat to repressive political leaders and greatly diminish their power to coerce. Some of Friedman’s views were shared by John Maynard Keynes, who believed that capitalism is vital for freedom to survive and thrive.[106][107] Freedom House, an American think tank that conducts international research on and advocates for, democracy, political freedom and human rights, has argued “there is a high and statistically significant correlation between the level of political freedom as measured by Freedom House and economic freedom as measured by the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation survey“.[108]

Types of capitalism

There are many variants of capitalism in existence that differ according to country and region. They vary in their institutional makeup and by their economic policies. The common features among all the different forms of capitalism is that they are based on the production of goods and services for profit, predominantly market-based allocation of resources and they are structured upon the accumulation of capital. The major forms of capitalism are listed hereafter:

Advanced capitalism

Advanced capitalism is the situation that pertains to a society in which the capitalist model has been integrated and developed deeply and extensively for a prolonged period. Various writers identify Antonio Gramsci as an influential early theorist of advanced capitalism, even if he did not use the term himself. In his writings, Gramsci sought to explain how capitalism had adapted to avoid the revolutionary overthrow that had seemed inevitable in the 19th century. At the heart of his explanation was the decline of raw coercion as a tool of class power, replaced by use of civil society institutions to manipulate public ideology in the capitalists’ favour.[109][110][111]

Jürgen Habermas has been a major contributor to the analysis of advanced-capitalistic societies. Habermas observed four general features that characterise advanced capitalism:

  • Concentration of industrial activity in a few large firms.
  • Constant reliance on the state to stabilise the economic system.
  • A formally democratic government that legitimises the activities of the state and dissipates opposition to the system.
  • The use of nominal wage increases to pacify the most restless segments of the work force.[112]

Finance capitalism

In their critique of capitalism, Marxism and Leninism both emphasise the role of “finance capital” as the determining and ruling-class interest in capitalist society, particularly in the latter stages.[113][114]

Rudolf Hilferding is credited[by whom?] with first bringing the term “finance capitalism” into prominence through Finance Capital, his 1910 study of the links between German trusts, banks and monopolies—a study subsumed by Vladimir Lenin into Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), his analysis of the imperialist relations of the great world powers.[115] Lenin concluded that the banks at that time operated as “the chief nerve centres of the whole capitalist system of national economy”.[116] For the Comintern (founded in 1919), the phrase “dictatorship of finance capitalism”[117] became a regular one.

Fernnand Braudel would later point to two earlier periods when finance capitalism had emerged in human history—with the Genoese in the 16th century and with the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries—although at those points it developed from commercial capitalism.[118][need quotation to verify] Giovanni Arrighi extended Braudel’s analysis to suggest that a predominance of finance capitalism is a recurring, long-term phenomenon, whenever a previous phase of commercial/industrial capitalist expansion reaches a plateau.[119]

Mercantilism

The subscription room at Lloyd’s of London in the early 19th century

Mercantilism is a nationalist form of early capitalism that came into existence approximately in the late 16th century. It is characterized by the intertwining of national business interests to state-interest and imperialism; and consequently, the state apparatus is utilized to advance national business interests abroad. An example of this is colonists living in America who were only allowed to trade with and purchase goods from their respective mother countries (e.g. Britain, Portugal and France). Mercantilism was driven by the belief that the wealth of a nation is increased through a positive balance of trade with other nations—it corresponds to the phase of capitalist development sometimes called the primitive accumulation of capital.

Free market economy

Free market economy refers to a capitalist economic system where prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy. It typically entails support for highly competitive markets and private ownership of productive enterprises. Laissez-faire is a more extensive form of free market economy where the role of the state is limited to protecting property rights, or for plumbline anarcho-capitalists, property rights are protected by private firms and market-generated law.

Social market economy

A social market economy is a nominally free market system where government intervention in price formation is kept to a minimum, but the state provides significant services in the area of social security, unemployment benefits and recognition of labor rights through national collective bargaining arrangements. This model is prominent in Western and Northern European countries as well as Japan, albeit in slightly different configurations. The vast majority of enterprises are privately owned in this economic model.

Rhine capitalism refers to the contemporary model of capitalism and adaptation of the social market model that exists in continental Western Europe today.

State capitalism

State capitalism is a capitalist market economy dominated by state-owned enterprises, where the state enterprises are organized as commercial, profit-seeking businesses. The designation has been used broadly throughout the 20th century to designate a number of different economic forms, ranging from state-ownership in market economies to the command economies of the former Eastern Bloc. According to Aldo Musacchio, a professor at Harvard Business School, state capitalism is a system in which governments, whether democratic or autocratic, exercise a widespread influence on the economy either through direct ownership or various subsidies. Musacchio notes a number of differences between today’s state capitalism and its predecessors. In his opinion, gone are the days when governments appointed bureaucrats to run companies: the world’s largest state-owned enterprises are now traded on the public markets and kept in good health by large institutional investors. Contemporary state capitalism is associated with the East Asian model of capitalism, dirigisme and the economy of Norway.[120] Alternatively, Merriam-Webster defines state capitalism as “an economic system in which private capitalism is modified by a varying degree of government ownership and control”.[121]

In Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Friedrich Engels argued that state-owned enterprises would characterize the final stage of capitalism, consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[122] In his writings, Vladimir Lenin characterized the economy of Soviet Russia as state capitalist, believing state capitalism to be an early step toward the development of socialism.[123][124]

Some economists and left-wing academics including Richard D. Wolff and Noam Chomsky argue that the economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc represented a form of state capitalism because their internal organization within enterprises and the system of wage labor remained intact.[125][126][127]

The term is not used by Austrian School economists to describe state ownership of the means of production. The economist Ludwig von Mises argued that the designation of “state capitalism” was simply a new label for the old labels of “state socialism” and “planned economy” and differed only in non-essentials from these earlier designations.[128]

The debate between proponents of private versus state capitalism is centered around questions of managerial efficacy, productive efficiency and fair distribution of wealth.

Corporate capitalism

Corporate capitalism is a free or mixed-market economy characterized by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations.

Mixed economy

A mixed economy is a largely market-based economy consisting of both private and public ownership of the means of production and economic interventionism through macroeconomic policies intended to correct market failures, reduce unemployment and keep inflation low. The degree of intervention in markets varies among different countries. Some mixed economies, such as France under dirigisme, also featured a degree of indirect economic planning over a largely capitalist-based economy.

Most modern capitalist economies are defined as “mixed economies” to some degree.[citation needed]

Others

Other variants of capitalism include:

Capital accumulation

The accumulation of capital is the process of “making money”, or growing an initial sum of money through investment in production. Capitalism is based on the accumulation of capital, whereby financial capital is invested in order to make a profit and then reinvested into further production in a continuous process of accumulation. In Marxian economic theory, this dynamic is called the law of value. Capital accumulation forms the basis of capitalism, where economic activity is structured around the accumulation of capital, defined as investment in order to realize a financial profit.[129] In this context, “capital” is defined as money or a financial asset invested for the purpose of making more money (whether in the form of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return).[130]

In mainstream economics, accounting and Marxian economics, capital accumulation is often equated with investment of profit income or saving, especially in real capital goods. The concentration and centralisation of capital are two of the results of such accumulation. In modern macroeconomics and econometrics, the phrase “capital formation” is often used in preference to “accumulation”, though the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) refers nowadays to “accumulation”. The term “accumulation” is occasionally used in national accounts.

Background

Accumulation can be measured as the monetary value of investments, the amount of income that is reinvested, or as the change in the value of assets owned (the increase in the value of the capital stock). Using company balance sheets, tax data and direct surveys as a basis, government statisticians estimate total investments and assets for the purpose of national accounts, national balance of payments and flow of funds statistics. The Reserve Banks and the Treasury usually provide interpretations and analysis of this data. Standard indicators include capital formation, gross fixed capital formation, fixed capital, household asset wealth and foreign direct investment.

Organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the UNCTAD, the World Bank Group, the OECD and the Bank for International Settlements used national investment data to estimate world trends. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, Eurostat and the Japan Statistical Office provide data on the United States, Europe and Japan respectively. Other useful sources of investment information are business magazines such as Fortune, Forbes, The Economist, Business Week and so on as well as various corporate “watchdog” organisations and non-governmental organisation publications. A reputable scientific journal is the Review of Income & Wealth. In the case of the United States, the “Analytical Perspectives” document (an annex to the yearly budget) provides useful wealth and capital estimates applying to the whole country.

In Karl Marx‘ economic theory, capital accumulation refers to the operation whereby profits are reinvested increasing the total quantity of capital. Capital is viewed by Marx as expanding value, that is, in other terms, as a sum of capital, usually expressed in money, that is transformed through human labor into a larger value, extracted as profits and expressed as money. Here, capital is defined essentially as economic or commercial asset value in search of additional value or surplus-value. This requires property relations which enable objects of value to be appropriated and owned, and trading rights to be established. Capital accumulation has a double origin, namely in trade and in expropriation, both of a legal or illegal kind. The reason is that a stock of capital can be increased through a process of exchange or “trading up”, but also through directly taking an asset or resource from someone else without compensation. David Harvey calls this accumulation by dispossession.

The continuation and progress of capital accumulation depends on the removal of obstacles to the expansion of trade and this has historically often been a violent process. As markets expand, more and more new opportunities develop for accumulating capital because more and more types of goods and services can be traded in. However, capital accumulation may also confront resistance when people refuse to sell, or refuse to buy (for example a strike by investors or workers, or consumer resistance).

Concentration and centralisation

According to Marx, capital has the tendency for concentration and centralization in the hands of the wealthy. Marx explains: “It is concentration of capitals already formed, destruction of their individual independence, expropriation of capitalist by capitalist, transformation of many small into few large capitals. […] Capital grows in one place to a huge mass in a single hand, because it has in another place been lost by many. […] The battle of competition is fought by cheapening of commodities. The cheapness of commodities demands, caeteris paribus, on the productiveness of labour, and this again on the scale of production. Therefore, the larger capitals beat the smaller. It will further be remembered that, with the development of the capitalist mode of production, there is an increase in the minimum amount of individual capital necessary to carry on a business under its normal conditions. The smaller capitals, therefore, crowd into spheres of production which Modern Industry has only sporadically or incompletely got hold of. Here competition rages […] It always ends in the ruin of many small capitalists, whose capitals partly pass into the hands of their conquerors, partly vanish”.[131]

The rate of accumulation

In Marxian economics, the rate of accumulation is defined as (1) the value of the real net increase in the stock of capital in an accounting period; and (2) the proportion of realised surplus-value or profit-income which is reinvested, rather than consumed. This rate can be expressed by means of various ratios between the original capital outlay, the realised turnover, surplus-value or profit and reinvestments (e.g. the writings of the economist Michał Kalecki).

Other things being equal, the greater the amount of profit-income that is disbursed as personal earnings and used for consumptive purposes, the lower the savings rate and the lower the rate of accumulation is likely to be. However, earnings spent on consumption can also stimulate market demand and higher investment. This is the cause of endless controversies in economic theory about “how much to spend, and how much to save”.

In a boom period of capitalism, the growth of investments is cumulative, i.e. one investment leads to another, leading to a constantly expanding market, an expanding labor force and an increase in the standard of living for the majority of the people.[citation needed]

In a stagnating, decadent capitalism, the accumulation process is increasingly oriented towards investment on military and security forces, real estate, financial speculation and luxury consumption. In that case, income from value-adding production will decline in favour of interest, rent and tax income, with as a corollary an increase in the level of permanent unemployment. The more capital one owns, the more capital one can also borrow. The inverse is also true and this is one factor in the widening gap between the rich and the poor.[citation needed]

Ernest Mandel emphasised that the rhythm of capital accumulation and growth depended critically on (1) the division of a society’s social product between “necessary product” and “surplus product“; and (2) the division of the surplus product between investment and consumption. In turn, this allocation pattern reflected the outcome of competition among capitalists, competition between capitalists and workers and competition between workers. The pattern of capital accumulation can therefore never be simply explained by commercial factors as it also involved social factors and power relationships.

The circuit of capital accumulation from production

Strictly speaking, capital has accumulated only when realised profit income has been reinvested in capital assets. As suggested in the first volume of Marx’ Das Kapital, the process of capital accumulation in production has at least seven distinct but linked moments:

  • The initial investment of capital (which could be borrowed capital) in means of production and labor power.
  • The command over surplus-labour and its appropriation.
  • The valorisation (increase in value) of capital through production of new outputs.
  • The appropriation of the new output produced by employees, containing the added value.
  • The realisation of surplus-value through output sales.
  • The appropriation of realised surplus-value as (profit) income after deduction of costs.
  • The reinvestment of profit income in production.

All of these moments do not refer simply to an “economic” or commercial process. Rather, they assume the existence of legal, social, cultural and economic power conditions, without which creation, distribution and circulation of the new wealth could not occur. This becomes especially clear when the attempt is made to create a market where none exists, or where people refuse to trade.

Simple and expanded reproduction

In the second volume of Das Kapital, Marx continues the story and shows that with the aid of bank credit capital in search of growth can more or less smoothly mutate from one form to another, alternately taking the form of money capital (liquid deposits, securities and so on), commodity capital (tradable products, real estate and the like), or production capital (means of production and labor power).

His discussion of the simple and expanded reproduction of the conditions of production offers a more sophisticated model of the parameters of the accumulation process as a whole. At simple reproduction, a sufficient amount is produced to sustain society at the given living standard; the stock of capital stays constant. At expanded reproduction, more product-value is produced than is necessary to sustain society at a given living standard (a surplus product); the additional product-value is available for investments which enlarge the scale and variety of production.

The bourgeois claim there is no economic law according to which capital is necessarily re-invested in the expansion of production, that such depends on anticipated profitability, market expectations and perceptions of investment risk. Such statements only explain the subjective experiences of investors and ignore the objective realities which would influence such opinions. As Marx states in the second volume of Das Kapital, simple reproduction only exists if the variable and surplus capital realised by Dept. 1—producers of means of production—exactly equals that of the constant capital of Dept. 2, producers of articles of consumption (p. 524). Such equilibrium rests on various assumptions, such as a constant labor supply (no population growth). Accumulation does not imply a necessary change in total magnitude of value produced, but can simply refer to a change in the composition of an industry (p. 514).

Ernest Mandel introduced the additional concept of contracted economic reproduction, i.e. reduced accumulation where business operating at a loss outnumbers growing business, or economic reproduction on a decreasing scale, for example due to wars, natural disasters or devalorisation.

Balanced economic growth requires that different factors in the accumulation process expand in appropriate proportions. However, markets themselves cannot spontaneously create that balance and in fact what drives business activity is precisely the imbalances between supply and demand: inequality is the motor of growth. This partly explains why the worldwide pattern of economic growth is very uneven and unequal, even although markets have existed almost everywhere for a very long-time. Some people argue that it also explains government regulation of market trade and protectionism.

Capital accumulation as social relation

“Accumulation of capital” sometimes also refers in Marxist writings to the reproduction of capitalist social relations (institutions) on a larger scale over time, i.e. the expansion of the size of the proletariat and of the wealth owned by the bourgeoisie.

This interpretation emphasises that capital ownership, predicated on command over labor, is a social relation: the growth of capital implies the growth of the working class (a “law of accumulation“). In the first volume of Das Kapital, Marx had illustrated this idea with reference to Edward Gibbon Wakefield‘s theory of colonisation:

Wakefield discovered that in the Colonies, property in money, means of subsistence, machines, and other means of production, does not as yet stamp a man as a capitalist if there be wanting the correlative—the wage-worker, the other man who is compelled to sell himself of his own free-will. He discovered that capital is not a thing, but a social relation between persons, established by the instrumentality of things. Mr. Peel, he moans, took with him from England to Swan River, West Australia, means of subsistence and of production to the amount of £50,000. Mr. Peel had the foresight to bring with him, besides, 3,000 persons of the working-class, men, women, and children. Once arrived at his destination, ‘Mr. Peel was left without a servant to make his bed or fetch him water from the river.’ Unhappy Mr. Peel, who provided for everything except the export of English modes of production to Swan River!

— Das Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 33

In the third volume of Das Kapital, Marx refers to the “fetishism of capital” reaching its highest point with interest-bearing capital because now capital seems to grow of its own accord without anybody doing anything:

The relations of capital assume their most externalised and most fetish-like form in interest-bearing capital. We have here M − M ′ {\displaystyle M-M’} , money creating more money, self-expanding value, without the process that effectuates these two extremes. In merchant’s capital, M − C − M ′ {\displaystyle M-C-M’} , there is at least the general form of the capitalistic movement, although it confines itself solely to the sphere of circulation, so that profit appears merely as profit derived from alienation; but it is at least seen to be the product of a social relation, not the product of a mere thing. […] This is obliterated in M − M ′ {\displaystyle M-M’} , the form of interest-bearing capital. […] The thing (money, commodity, value) is now capital even as a mere thing, and capital appears as a mere thing. The result of the entire process of reproduction appears as a property inherent in the thing itself. It depends on the owner of the money, i.e., of the commodity in its continually exchangeable form, whether he wants to spend it as money or loan it out as capital. In interest-bearing capital, therefore, this automatic fetish, self-expanding value, money generating money, are brought out in their pure state and in this form it no longer bears the birth-marks of its origin. The social relation is consummated in the relation of a thing, of money, to itself. Instead of the actual transformation of money into capital, we see here only form without content.

— Das Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 24

Wage labour

An industrial worker amidst heavy steel semi-products (Kinex Bearings, Bytča, Slovakia, c. 1995–2000)

Wage labour refers to the sale of labour under a formal or informal employment contract to an employer.[132] These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined.[133] Individuals who possess and supply financial capital or labor to productive ventures often become owners, either jointly (as shareholders) or individually. In Marxist economics, these owners of the means of production and suppliers of capital are generally called capitalists. The description of the role of the capitalist has shifted, first referring to a useless intermediary between producers to an employer of producers and eventually came to refer to owners of the means of production.[134] Labor includes all physical and mental human resources, including entrepreneurial capacity and management skills, which are needed to produce products and services. Production is the act of making goods or services by applying labor power.[135][136]

Critics of the capitalist mode of production see wage labour as a major, if not defining, aspect of hierarchical industrial systems. Most opponents of the institution support worker self-management and economic democracy as alternatives to both wage labour and to capitalism. While most opponents of the wage system blame the capitalist owners of the means of production for its existence, most anarchists and other libertarian socialists also hold the state as equally responsible as it exists as a tool utilised by capitalists to subsidise themselves and protect the institution of private ownership of the means of production. As some opponents of wage labour take influence from Marxist propositions, many are opposed to private property, but maintain respect for personal property.

Types

The most common form of wage labour currently is ordinary direct, or “full-time”, employment in which a free worker sells his or her labour for an indeterminate time (from a few years to the entire career of the worker) in return for a money-wage or salary and a continuing relationship with the employer which it does not in general offer contractors or other irregular staff. However, wage labour takes many other forms and explicit as opposed to implicit (i.e. conditioned by local labour and tax law) contracts are not uncommon. Economic history shows a great variety of ways in which labour is traded and exchanged. The differences show up in the form of:

  • Employment status: a worker could be employed full-time, part-time, or on a casual basis. He or she could be employed for example temporarily for a specific project only, or on a permanent basis. Part-time wage labour could combine with part-time self-employment. The worker could be employed also as an apprentice.
  • Civil (legal) status: the worker could for example be a free citizen, an indentured labourer, the subject of forced labour (including some prison or army labour); a worker could be assigned by the political authorities to a task, they could be a semi-slave or a serf bound to the land who is hired out part of the time. So the labour might be performed on a more or less voluntary basis, or on a more or less involuntary basis, in which there are many gradations.
  • Method of payment (remuneration or compensation): the work done could be paid “in cash” (a money-wage) or “in kind” (through receiving goods and/or services), or in the form of “piece rates” where the wage is directly dependent on how much the worker produces. In some cases, the worker might be paid in the form of credit used to buy goods and services, or in the form of stock options or shares in an enterprise.
  • Method of hiring: the worker might engage in a labour-contract on his or her own initiative, or he or she might hire out their labour as part of a group. However, he or she may also hire out their labour via an intermediary (such as an employment agency) to a third party. In this case, he or she is paid by the intermediary, but works for a third party which pays the intermediary. In some cases, labour is subcontracted several times, with several intermediaries. Another possibility is that the worker is assigned or posted to a job by a political authority, or that an agency hires out a worker to an enterprise together with the means of production.

Effects of war

The common view among economic historians is that the Great Depression ended with the advent of World War II (assembling the North American B-25 Mitchell at Kansas City, 1942)

War typically causes the diversion, destruction and creation of capital assets as capital assets are both destroyed or consumed and diverted to types of production needed to fight the war. Many assets are wasted and in some few cases created specifically to fight a war. War driven demands may be a powerful stimulus for the accumulation of capital and production capability in limited areas and market expansion outside the immediate theatre of war. Often this has induced laws against perceived and real war profiteering.

The total hours worked in the United States rose by 34 percent during World War II, even though the military draft reduced the civilian labor force by 11 percent.[137]

War destruction can be illustrated by looking at World War II. Industrial war damage was heaviest in Japan, where 1/4 of factory buildings and 1/3 of plant and equipment were destroyed; 1/7 of electric power-generating capacity was destroyed and 6/7 of oil refining capacity. The Japanese merchant fleet lost 80% of their ships. In Germany in 1944, when air attacks were heaviest, 6.5% of machine tools were damaged or destroyed, but around 90% were later repaired. About 10% of steel production capacity was lost. In Europe, the United States and the Soviet Union enormous resources were accumulated and ultimately dissipated as planes, ships, tanks and so on were built and then lost or destroyed.

Germany’s total war damage was estimated at about 17.5% of the pre-war total capital stock by value, i.e. about 1/6. In the Berlin area alone, there were 8 million refugees lacking basic necessities. In 1945, less than 10% of the railways were still operating. 2,395 rail bridges were destroyed and a total of 7,500 bridges, 10,000 locomotives and more than 100,000 goods wagons were destroyed. Less than 40% of the remaining locomotives were operational.

However, by the first quarter of 1946 European rail traffic, which was given assistance and preferences (by Western appointed military governors) for resources and material as an essential asset, regained its prewar operational level. At the end of the year, 90% of Germany’s railway lines were operating again. In retrospect, the rapidity of infrastructure reconstruction appears astonishing.

Initially, in May 1945 newly installed United States president Harry S. Truman‘s directive had been that no steps would be taken towards economic rehabilitation of Germany. In fact, the initial industry plan of 1946 prohibited production in excess of half of the 1938 level; the iron and steel industry was allowed to produce only less than a third of pre-war output. These plans were rapidly revised and better plans were instituted. In 1946, over 10% of Germany’s physical capital stock (plant and equipment) was also dismantled and confiscated, most of it going to the Soviet Union. By 1947, industrial production in Germany was at 1/3 of the 1938 level and industrial investment at about 1/2 the 1938 level.

The first big strike-wave in the Ruhr occurred in early 1947—it was about food rations and housing, but soon there were demands for nationalisation. However, the United States appointed military governor (Newman) stated at the time that he had the power to break strikes by withholding food rations. The clear message was “no work, no eat”. As the military controls in Western Germany were nearly all relinquished and the Germans were allowed to rebuild their own economy with Marshall Plan aid things rapidly improved. By 1951, German industrial production had overtaken the prewar level. The Marshall Aid funds were important, but after the currency reform (which permitted German capitalists to revalue their assets) and the establishment of a new political system much more important was the commitment of the United States to rebuilding German capitalism and establishing a free market economy and government, rather than keeping Germany in a weak position. Initially, average real wages remained low, lower even than in 1938, until the early 1950s while profitability was unusually high. So the total investment fund, aided by credits, was also high, resulting in a high rate of capital accumulation which was nearly all reinvested in new construction or new tools. This was called the German economic miracle or Wirtschaftswunder.[138]

In Italy, the victorious Allies did three things in 1945: they imposed their absolute military authority; they quickly disarmed the Italian partisans from a very large stock of weapons; and they agreed to a state guarantee of wage payments as well as a veto on all sackings of workers from their jobs.[139] Although the Italian Communist Party grew very large immediately after the war ended—it achieved a membership of 1.7 million people in a population of 45 million—it was outmaneuvered through a complicated political battle by the Christian Democrats after three years.[140] In the 1950s, an economic boom began in Italy, at first fueled by internal demand and then also by exports.[141]

In modern times, it has often been possible to rebuild physical capital assets destroyed in wars completely within the space of about 10 years, except in cases of severe pollution by chemical warfare or other kinds of irreparable devastation. However, damage to human capital has been much more devastating in terms of fatalities (in the case of World War II, about 55 million deaths), permanent physical disability, enduring ethnic hostility and psychological injuries which have effects for at least several generations.

Criticism

Critics of capitalism associate the economic system with social inequality; unfair distribution of wealth and power; materialism; repression of workers and trade unionists; social alienation; economic inequality; unemployment; and economic instability. Many socialists consider capitalism to be irrational in that production and the direction of the economy are unplanned, creating many inconsistencies and internal contradictions.[142] Capitalism and individual property rights have been associated with the tragedy of the anticommons where owners are unable to agree. Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff postulates that capitalist economies prioritize profits and capital accumulation over the social needs of communities and capitalist enterprises rarely include the workers in the basic decisions of the enterprise.[143] Democratic socialists argue that the role of the state in a capitalist society is to defend the interests of the bourgeoisie.[144] These states take actions to implement such things as unified national markets, national currencies and customs system.[144] Capitalism and capitalist governments have also been criticized as oligarchic in nature[145][146][147] due to the inevitable inequality[148][149] characteristic of economic progress.[150][151]

Some labor historians and scholars have argued that unfree labor—by slaves, indentured servants, prisoners or other coerced persons—is compatible with capitalist relations. Tom Brass argued that unfree labor is acceptable to capital.[152][153] Historian Greg Grandin argues that capitalism has its origins in slavery, saying that “[w]hen historians talk about the Atlantic market revolution, they are talking about capitalism. And when they are talking about capitalism, they are talking about slavery.”[154] Some historians, including Edward E. Baptist and Sven Beckert, assert that slavery was an integral component in the violent development of American and global capitalism.[155][156] The Slovenian continental philosopher Slavoj Žižek posits that the new era of global capitalism has ushered in new forms of contemporary slavery, including migrant workers deprived of basic civil rights on the Arabian Peninsula, the total control of workers in Asian sweatshops, and the use of forced labor in the exploitation of natural resources in Central Africa.[157]

According to Immanuel Wallerstein, institutional racism has been “one of the most significant pillars” of the capitalist system and serves as “the ideological justification for the hierarchization of the work-force and its highly unequal distributions of reward”.[158]

Many aspects of capitalism have come under attack from the anti-globalization movement, which is primarily opposed to corporate capitalism. Environmentalists have argued that capitalism requires continual economic growth and that it will inevitably deplete the finite natural resources of Earth and cause mass extinctions of animal and plant life.[159][160][161] Such critics argue that while neoliberalism, the ideological backbone of contemporary globalized capitalism, has indeed increased global trade, it has also destroyed traditional ways of life, exacerbated inequality and increased global poverty—with more living today in abject poverty than before neoliberalism and that environmental indicators indicate massive environmental degradation since the late 1970s.[22][162][163][164]

Some scholars blame the financial crisis of 2007–2008 on the neoliberal capitalist model.[171] Following the banking crisis of 2007, Alan Greenspan told the United States Congress on 23 October 2008 that “[t]his modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades. The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year”,[172] and that “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in firms […] I was shocked”.[173]

Many religions have criticized or opposed specific elements of capitalism. Traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam forbid lending money at interest,[174][175] although alternative methods of banking have been developed. Some Christians have criticized capitalism for its materialist aspects and its inability to account for the wellbeing of all people.[176] Many of Jesus’ parables deal with economic concerns: farming, shepherding, being in debt, doing hard labor, being excluded from banquets and the houses of the rich and have implications for wealth and power distribution.[177][178] Catholic scholars and clergy have often criticized capitalism because of its disenfranchisement of the poor, often promoting distributism as an alternative. In his 84-page apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, Catholic Pope Francis described unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny” and called on world leaders to fight rising poverty and inequality:[179]

Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.[180]

Proponents of capitalism argue that it creates more prosperity than any other economic system and that its benefits are mainly to the ordinary person.[181] Critics of capitalism variously associate it with economic instability,[182] an inability to provide for the well-being of all people[183] and an unsustainable danger to the natural environment.[159] Socialists maintain that although capitalism is superior to all previously existing economic systems (such as feudalism or slavery), the contradiction between class interests will only be resolved by advancing into a completely new social system of production and distribution in which all persons have an equal relationship to the means of production.[184]

The term capitalism in its modern sense is often attributed to Karl Marx.[42][185] In his Das Kapital, Marx analyzed the “capitalist mode of production” using a method of understanding today known as Marxism. However, Marx himself rarely used the term “capitalism” while it was used twice in the more political interpretations of his work, primarily authored by his collaborator Friedrich Engels. In the 20th century, defenders of the capitalist system often replaced the term capitalism with phrases such as free enterprise and private enterprise and replaced capitalist with rentier and investor in reaction to the negative connotations associated with capitalism.[134]

The profit motive

The majority of criticisms against the profit motive centre on the idea that the profit motive encourages selfishness and greed, rather than serve the public good or necessarily creating an increase in net wealth. Critics of the profit motive contend that companies disregard morals or public safety in the pursuit of profits.[186][187][188][189]

Free market economists counter that the profit motive, coupled with competition, actually reduces the final price of an item for consumption, rather than raising it. They argue that businesses profit by selling a good at a lower price and at a greater volume than the competition. Economist Thomas Sowell uses supermarkets as an example to illustrate this point: “It has been estimated that a supermarket makes a clear profit of about a penny on a dollar of sales. If that sounds pretty skimpy, remember that it is collecting that penny on every dollar at several cash registers simultaneously and, in many cases, around the clock”.[190]

American economist Milton Friedman has argued that greed and self-interest are universal human traits. On a 1979 episode of The Phil Donahue Show, Friedman states: “The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests”. He continues by explaining that only in capitalist countries, where individuals can pursue their own self-interest, people have been able to escape from “grinding poverty”.[191]

Comparison to slavery

Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884

Wage labor has long been compared to slavery.[192][193][194][195] As a result, the phrase “wage slavery” is often utilized as a pejorative for wage labor.[196] Similarly, advocates of slavery looked upon the “comparative evils of Slave Society and of Free Society, of slavery to human Masters and slavery to Capital”[197] and proceeded to argue that wage slavery was actually worse than chattel slavery.[198] Slavery apologists like George Fitzhugh contended that workers only accepted wage labor with the passage of time as they became “familiarised and inattentive to the infected social atmosphere they continually inhale”.[197] Scholars have debated the exact relationship between wage labor, slavery, and capitalism at length, especially for the Antebellum South.[199]

Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome, such as in De Officiis.[200] With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, thinkers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use[201][202] while Luddites emphasized the dehumanisation brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North.[203][204] The United States abolished slavery during the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age “references abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labour leader without the phrase”.[205]

The slave, together with his labour-power, was sold to his owner once for all. […] The [wage] labourer, on the other hand, sells his very self, and that by fractions. […] He [belongs] to the capitalist class; and it is for him […] to find a buyer in this capitalist class.[206]

Karl Marx

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the laborer works under external control, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is”.[207] Both the Milgram and Stanford experiments have been found useful in the psychological study of wage-based workplace relations.[208] Additionally, as per anthropologist David Graeber, the earliest wage labor contracts we know about were in fact contracts for the rental of chattel slaves (usually the owner would receive a share of the money and the slave another, with which to maintain his or her living expenses). According to Graeber, such arrangements were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or Brazil.[209] C. L. R. James argued in The Black Jacobins that most of the techniques of human organisation employed on factory workers during the Industrial Revolution were first developed on slave plantations.[210]

Girl pulling a coal tub in mine, from official report of the British parliamentary commission in the mid 19th century[211]

Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry,[212][213] educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment[214] and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory:

Adam Smith noted that employers often conspire together to keep wages low:[215]

The interest of the dealers… in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public… [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public… We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.

Aristotle made the statement that “the citizens must not live a mechanic or a mercantile life (for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue), nor yet must those who are to be citizens in the best state be tillers of the soil (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics)”,[216] often paraphrased as “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind”.[217] Cicero wrote in 44 BC that “vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery”.[218] Somewhat similar criticisms have also been expressed by some proponents of liberalism, like Henry George,[219][220] Silvio Gesell and Thomas Paine[221] as well as the Distributist school of thought within the Roman Catholic Church.

To Marxist and anarchist thinkers like Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation rested primarily on:

  1. The existence of property not intended for active use.
  2. The concentration of ownership in few hands.
  3. The lack of direct access by workers to the means of production and consumption goods.
  4. The perpetuation of a reserve army of unemployed workers.

For Marxists, labor as commodity, which is how they regard wage labor,[222] provides a fundamental point of attack against capitalism.[223] “It can be persuasively argued”, noted one concerned philosopher, “that the conception of the worker’s labour as a commodity confirms Marx’s stigmatization of the wage system of private capitalism as ‘wage-slavery;’ that is, as an instrument of the capitalist’s for reducing the worker’s condition to that of a slave, if not below it”.[224] That this objection is fundamental follows immediately from Marx’s conclusion that wage labor is the very foundation of capitalism: “Without a class dependent on wages, the moment individuals confront each other as free persons, there can be no production of surplus value; without the production of surplus-value there can be no capitalist production, and hence no capital and no capitalist!”.[225]

Marxian responses

Marx considered capitalism to be a historically specific mode of production (the way in which the productive property is owned and controlled, combined with the corresponding social relations between individuals based on their connection with the process of production).[41]

The “capitalistic era” according to Karl Marx dates from 16th-century merchants and small urban workshops.[40] Marx knew that wage labour existed on a modest scale for centuries before capitalist industry. For Marx, the capitalist stage of development or “bourgeois society” represented the most advanced form of social organization to date, but he also thought that the working classes would come to power in a worldwide socialist or communist transformation of human society as the end of the series of first aristocratic, then capitalist and finally working class rule was reached.[226][227]

Following Adam Smith, Marx distinguished the use value of commodities from their exchange value in the market. According to Marx, capital is created with the purchase of commodities for the purpose of creating new commodities with an exchange value higher than the sum of the original purchases. For Marx, the use of labor power had itself become a commodity under capitalism and the exchange value of labor power, as reflected in the wage, is less than the value it produces for the capitalist.

This difference in values, he argues, constitutes surplus value, which the capitalists extract and accumulate. In his book Capital, Marx argues that the capitalist mode of production is distinguished by how the owners of capital extract this surplus from workers—all prior class societies had extracted surplus labor, but capitalism was new in doing so via the sale-value of produced commodities.[228] He argues that a core requirement of a capitalist society is that a large portion of the population must not possess sources of self-sustenance that would allow them to be independent and are instead forced to sell their labor for a wage.[229][230][231]

In conjunction with his criticism of capitalism was Marx’s belief that the working class, due to its relationship to the means of production and numerical superiority under capitalism, would be the driving force behind the socialist revolution.[232] This argument is intertwined with Marx’ version of the labor theory of value arguing that labor is the source of all value and thus of profit.

In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), Vladimir Lenin further developed Marxist theory and argued that capitalism necessarily led to monopoly capitalism and the export of capital—which he also called “imperialism”—to find new markets and resources, representing the last and highest stage of capitalism.[233] Some 20th century Marxian economists consider capitalism to be a social formation where capitalist class processes dominate, but are not exclusive.[234]

To these thinkers, capitalist class processes are simply those in which surplus labor takes the form of surplus value, usable as capital; other tendencies for utilization of labor nonetheless exist simultaneously in existing societies where capitalist processes predominate. However, other late Marxian thinkers argue that a social formation as a whole may be classed as capitalist if capitalism is the mode by which a surplus is extracted, even if this surplus is not produced by capitalist activity as when an absolute majority of the population is engaged in non-capitalist economic activity.[235]

In Limits to Capital (1982), David Harvey outlines an overdetermined, “spatially restless” capitalism coupled with the spatiality of crisis formation and resolution.[236] Harvey used Marx’s theory of crisis to aid his argument that capitalism must have its “fixes”, but that we cannot predetermine what fixes will be implemented, nor in what form they will be. His work on contractions of capital accumulation and international movements of capitalist modes of production and money flows has been influential.[237] According to Harvey, capitalism creates the conditions for volatile and geographically uneven development [238]

Sociologists such as Ulrich Beck envisioned the society of risk as a new cultural value which saw risk as a commodity to be exchanged in globalized economies. This theory suggested that disasters and capitalist economy were inevitably entwined. Disasters allow the introduction of economic programs which otherwise would be rejected as well as decentralizing the class structure in production.[239]

Criticisms on the environmental sustainability of capitalism

Scholars argue that the capitalist approach to environmental economics does not take into consideration the preserving of natural resources.[240] Capitalism creates three ecological problems: growth, technology, and consumption.[241] The growth problem results from the nature of capitalism, as it focuses around the accumulation of Capital.[241]  The innovation of new technologies has an impact on the environmental future as they serve as a capitalist tool in which environmental technologies can result in the expansion of the system.[242] Consumption is focused around the capital accumulation of commodities and neglects the use-value of production.[241]

Supply and demand

At least two assumptions are necessary for the validity of the standard model: first, that supply and demand are independent; and second, that supply is “constrained by a fixed resource”. If these conditions do not hold, then the Marshallian model cannot be sustained. Sraffa’s critique focused on the inconsistency (except in implausible circumstances) of partial equilibrium analysis and the rationale for the upward slope of the supply curve in a market for a produced consumption good.[243] The notability of Sraffa’s critique is also demonstrated by Paul A. Samuelson‘s comments and engagements with it over many years, for example:

What a cleaned-up version of Sraffa (1926) establishes is how nearly empty are all of Marshall’s partial equilibrium boxes. To a logical purist of Wittgenstein and Sraffa class, the Marshallian partial equilibrium box of constant cost is even more empty than the box of increasing cost.[244]

Aggregate excess demand in a market is the difference between the quantity demanded and the quantity supplied as a function of price. In the model with an upward-sloping supply curve and downward-sloping demand curve, the aggregate excess demand function only intersects the axis at one point, namely at the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. The Sonnenschein–Mantel–Debreu theorem shows that the standard model cannot be rigorously derived in general from general equilibrium theory.[245]

The model of prices being determined by supply and demand assumes perfect competition. However, “economists have no adequate model of how individuals and firms adjust prices in a competitive model. If all participants are price-takers by definition, then the actor who adjusts prices to eliminate excess demand is not specified”.[246] Goodwin, Nelson, Ackerman and Weisskopf write:

If we mistakenly confuse precision with accuracy, then we might be misled into thinking that an explanation expressed in precise mathematical or graphical terms is somehow more rigorous or useful than one that takes into account particulars of history, institutions or business strategy. This is not the case. Therefore, it is important not to put too much confidence in the apparent precision of supply and demand graphs. Supply and demand analysis is a useful precisely formulated conceptual tool that clever people have devised to help us gain an abstract understanding of a complex world. It does not—nor should it be expected to—give us in addition an accurate and complete description of any particular real world market.[247]

Externalities

Market failure occurs when an externality is present and a market will often either under-produce a product with a positive externalisation or overproduce a product that generates a negative externalisation.[citation needed] Air pollution, for instance, is a negative externalisation that cannot be easily incorporated into markets as the world’s air is not owned and then sold for use to polluters.[citation needed] So too much pollution could be emitted and people not involved in the production pay the cost of the pollution instead of the firm that initially emitted the air pollution.[citation needed] Critics of market failure theory, like Ronald Coase, Harold Demsetz and James M. Buchanan, argue that government programs and policies also fall short of absolute perfection.[citation needed] While all nations currently have some kind of market regulations, the desirable degree of regulation is disputed.[citation needed]

Counter-criticisms

Austrian School

Austrian School economists have argued that capitalism can organize itself into a complex system without an external guidance or central planning mechanism. Friedrich Hayek considered the phenomenon of self-organisation as underpinning capitalism. Prices serve as a signal as to the urgent and unfilled wants of people and the opportunity to earn profits if successful, or absorb losses if resources are used poorly or left idle, gives entrepreneurs incentive to use their knowledge and resources to satisfy those wants. Thus the activities of millions of people, each seeking his own interest, are coordinated.[248]

Ayn Rand

The novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand made positive moral defenses of laissez-faire capitalism, most notably in her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged and in her 1966 collection of essays Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. She argued that capitalism should be supported on moral grounds, not just on the basis of practical benefits.[249][250] Her ideas have had significant influence over conservative and libertarian supporters of capitalism, especially within the American Tea Party movement.[251] Rand defined capitalism as “a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned”.[252] According to Rand, the role of government in a capitalist state has three broad categories of proper functions: first, the police “to protect men from criminals”; second, the armed services “to protect men from foreign invaders”; and third, the law courts “to settle disputes among men according to objective laws”.[253]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

 

Socialism

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Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management,[10] as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.[11] Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity.[12] There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them,[13] with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.[5][14][15]

Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms.[16] Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system.[25] By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.[26][27][28] The socialist calculation debate concerns the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a socialist system.

Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions, and at other times independent and critical of unions; and present in both industrialised and developing nations.[29] Originating within the socialist movement, social democracy has embraced a mixed economy with a market that includes substantial state intervention in the form of income redistribution, regulation, and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism where there is more decentralised control of companies, currencies, investments, and natural resources.

The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social problems that were associated with capitalism.[13] By the late 19th century, after the work of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production.[30][31] By the 1920s, social democracy and communism had become the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement.[32] By this time, socialism emerged as “the most influential secular movement of the twentieth century, worldwide. It is a political ideology (or world view), a wide and divided political movement”[33] and while the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world’s first nominally socialist state led to socialism’s widespread association with the Soviet economic model, some economists and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism[34][35][36] or a non-planned administrative or command economy.[37][38] Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world. Today, some socialists have also adopted the causes of other social movements, such as environmentalism, feminism and progressivism.[39] In 21st century America, the term socialism, without clear definition, has become a pejorative used by conservatives to taint liberal and progressive policies, proposals, and public figures.[40]

Contents

Etymology

For Andrew Vincent, “[t]he word ‘socialism’ finds its root in the Latin sociare, which means to combine or to share. The related, more technical term in Roman and then medieval law was societas. This latter word could mean companionship and fellowship as well as the more legalistic idea of a consensual contract between freemen”.[41]

The term “socialism” was created by Henri de Saint-Simon, one of the founders of what would later be labelled “utopian socialism“. Simon coined the term as a contrast to the liberal doctrine of “individualism“, which stressed that people act or should act as if they are in isolation from one another.[42] The original “utopian” socialists condemned liberal individualism for failing to address social concerns during the industrial revolution, including poverty, social oppression and gross inequalities in wealth, thus viewing liberal individualism as degenerating society into supporting selfish egoism that harmed community life through promoting a society based on competition.[42] They presented socialism as an alternative to liberal individualism based on the shared ownership of resources, although their proposals for socialism differed significantly. Saint-Simon proposed economic planning, scientific administration and the application of modern scientific advancements to the organisation of society. By contrast, Robert Owen proposed the organisation of production and ownership in cooperatives.[42][43]

The term “socialism” is also attributed to Pierre Leroux[44] and to Marie Roch Louis Reybaud in France; and to Robert Owen in Britain who became one of the fathers of the cooperative movement.[45][46]

The modern definition and usage of “socialism” settled by the 1860s, becoming the predominant term among the group of words “co-operative”, “mutualist” and “associationist”, which had previously been used as synonyms. The term “communism” also fell out of use during this period, despite earlier distinctions between socialism and communism from the 1840s.[47] An early distinction between socialism and communism was that the former aimed to only socialise production while the latter aimed to socialise both production and consumption (in the form of free access to final goods).[48] However, Marxists employed the term “socialism” in place of “communism” by 1888, which had come to be considered an old-fashion synonym for socialism. It was not until 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution that “socialism” came to refer to a distinct stage between capitalism and communism, introduced by Vladimir Lenin as a means to defend the Bolshevik seizure of power against traditional Marxist criticisms that Russia’s productive forces were not sufficiently developed for socialist revolution.[49]

A distinction between “communist” and “socialist” as descriptors of political ideologies arose in 1918 after the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party renamed itself to the All-Russian Communist Party, where communist came to specifically mean socialists who supported the politics and theories of Leninism, Bolshevism and later Marxism–Leninism,[50] although communist parties continued to describe themselves as socialists dedicated to socialism.[51]

The words “socialism” and “communism” eventually accorded with the adherents’ and opponents’ cultural attitude towards religion. In Christian Europe, communism was believed to be the atheist way of life. In Protestant England, the word “communism” was too culturally and aurally close to the Roman Catholic communion rite, hence English atheists denoted themselves socialists.[52] Friedrich Engels argued that in 1848, at the time when The Communist Manifesto was published, that “socialism was respectable on the continent, while communism was not”. The Owenites in England and the Fourierists in France were considered “respectable” socialists, while working-class movements that “proclaimed the necessity of total social change” denoted themselves communists. This latter branch of socialism produced the communist work of Étienne Cabet in France and Wilhelm Weitling in Germany.[53] The British moral philosopher John Stuart Mill also came to advocate a form of economic socialism within a liberal context. In later editions of his Principles of Political Economy (1848), Mill would argue that “as far as economic theory was concerned, there is nothing in principle in economic theory that precludes an economic order based on socialist policies”.[54][55] While democrats looked to the Revolutions of 1848 as a democratic revolution, which in the long run ensured liberty, equality and fraternity, Marxists denounced 1848 as a betrayal of working-class ideals by a bourgeoisie indifferent to the legitimate demands of the proletariat.[56]

History

Early socialism

Charles Fourier, influential early French socialist thinker

Socialist models and ideas espousing common or public ownership have existed since antiquity. The economy of the 3rd century BCE Mauryan Empire of India has been described as “a socialized monarchy” and “a sort of state socialism”.[57][58] It has been claimed—though controversially—that there were elements of socialist thought in the politics of classical Greek philosophers Plato[59] and Aristotle.[60] Mazdak the Younger (died c. 524 or 528 CE), a Persian communal proto-socialist,[61] instituted communal possessions and advocated the public good. Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad, is credited by many as a principal antecedent of Islamic socialism.[62][63][64][65][66] The teachings of Jesus the messiah of the Christian religion are frequently highlighted as socialist in nature, though this is disputed.[67] Acts 4:35 records that the early church in Jerusalem ‘No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own’; however the pattern soon disappears from church history except within monasticism. Christian socialism was one of the founding threads of the UK Labour Party and is said to be a tradition going back 600 years to the uprising of Wat Tyler and John Ball.[68] In the period right after the French Revolution, activists and theorists like François-Noël Babeuf, Étienne-Gabriel Morelly, Philippe Buonarroti and Auguste Blanqui influenced the early French labour and socialist movements.[69] In Britain, Thomas Paine proposed a detailed plan to tax property owners to pay for the needs of the poor in Agrarian Justice[70] while Charles Hall wrote The Effects of Civilization on the People in European States, denouncing capitalism’s effects on the poor of his time[71] which influenced the utopian schemes of Thomas Spence.[72]

The first self-conscious socialist movements developed in the 1820s and 1830s. The Owenites, Saint-Simonians and Fourierists provided a series of coherent analyses and interpretations of society. They also, especially in the case of the Owenites, overlapped with a number of other working-class movements like the Chartists in the United Kingdom”.[73] The Chartists gathered significant numbers around the People’s Charter of 1838, which sought a number of democratic reforms focused on the extension of suffrage to all male adults. Leaders in the movement also called for a more equitable distribution of income and better living conditions for the working classes. The very first trade unions and consumers’ cooperative societies also emerged in the hinterland of the Chartist movement as a way of bolstering the fight for these demands.[74] A later important socialist thinker in France was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who proposed his philosophy of mutualism in which “everyone had an equal claim, either alone or as part of a small cooperative, to possess and use land and other resources as needed to make a living”.[75] There were also currents inspired by dissident Christianity of Christian socialism “often in Britain and then usually coming out of left liberal politics and a romantic anti-industrialism”[69] which produced theorists such as Edward Bellamy, Frederick Denison Maurice and Charles Kingsley.[76]

The first advocates of socialism favoured social levelling in order to create a meritocratic or technocratic society based on individual talent. Count Henri de Saint-Simon is regarded as the first individual to coin the term “socialism”.[77] Saint-Simon was fascinated by the enormous potential of science and technology and advocated a socialist society that would eliminate the disorderly aspects of capitalism and would be based on equal opportunities.[78][unreliable source?] He advocated the creation of a society in which each person was ranked according to his or her capacities and rewarded according to his or her work.[77] The key focus of Saint-Simon’s socialism was on administrative efficiency and industrialism and a belief that science was the key to progress.[79] This was accompanied by a desire to implement a rationally organised economy based on planning and geared towards large-scale scientific and material progress,[77] thus embodied a desire for a more directed or planned economy. Other early socialist thinkers, such as Thomas Hodgkin and Charles Hall, based their ideas on David Ricardo‘s economic theories. They reasoned that the equilibrium value of commodities approximated prices charged by the producer when those commodities were in elastic supply and that these producer prices corresponded to the embodied labour—the cost of the labour (essentially the wages paid) that was required to produce the commodities. The Ricardian socialists viewed profit, interest and rent as deductions from this exchange-value.[citation needed]

West European social critics, including Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Louis Blanc, Charles Hall, and Saint-Simon were the first modern socialists who criticised the excessive poverty and inequality of the Industrial Revolution. They advocated reform, with some such as Robert Owen advocating the transformation of society to small communities without private property. Robert Owen’s contribution to modern socialism was his understanding that actions and characteristics of individuals were largely determined by the social environment they were raised in and exposed to.[79] On the other hand, Charles Fourier advocated phalansteres which were communities that respected individual desires (including sexual preferences), affinities and creativity and saw that work has to be made enjoyable for people.[80] The ideas of Owen and Fourier were tried in practice in numerous intentional communities around Europe and the American continent in the mid-19th century.

Paris Commune

The celebration of the election of the Commune on 28 March 1871—the Paris Commune was a major early implementation of socialist ideas

The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from 18 March (more formally, from 28 March) to 28 May 1871. The Commune was the result of an uprising in Paris after France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War. The Commune elections held on 26 March elected a Commune council of 92 members, one member for each 20,000 residents.[81] Despite internal differences, the council began to organise the public services essential for a city of two million residents. It also reached a consensus on certain policies that tended towards a progressive, secular and highly democratic social democracy.

Because the Commune was only able to meet on fewer than 60 days in all, only a few decrees were actually implemented. These included the separation of church and state; the remission of rents owed for the entire period of the siege (during which payment had been suspended); the abolition of night work in the hundreds of Paris bakeries; the granting of pensions to the unmarried companions and children of National Guards killed on active service; and the free return, by the city pawnshops, of all workmen’s tools and household items valued up to 20 francs, pledged during the siege.[82] The Commune was concerned that skilled workers had been forced to pawn their tools during the war; the postponement of commercial debt obligations and the abolition of interest on the debts; and the right of employees to take over and run an enterprise if it were deserted by its owner. The Commune nonetheless recognised the previous owner’s right to compensation.[82]

First International

The International Workingmen’s Association (IWA), often called the First International, was founded in London in 1864. The International Workingmen’s Association united diverse revolutionary currents including French followers of Proudhon,[83] Blanquists, Philadelphes, English trade unionists, socialists and social democrats. The IWA held a preliminary conference in 1865 and had its first congress at Geneva in 1866. Due to the wide variety of philosophies present in the First International, there was conflict from the start. The first objections to Marx came from the mutualists who opposed communism and statism. However, shortly after Mikhail Bakunin and his followers (called collectivists while in the International) joined in 1868, the First International became polarised into two camps headed by Marx and Bakunin respectively.[84] The clearest differences between the groups emerged over their proposed strategies for achieving their visions of socialism. The First International became the first major international forum for the promulgation of socialist ideas.

The followers of Bakunin were called collectivist anarchists and sought to collectivise ownership of the means of production while retaining payment proportional to the amount and kind of labour of each individual. Like Proudhonists, they asserted the right of each individual to the product of his labour and to be remunerated for their particular contribution to production. By contrast, anarcho-communists sought collective ownership of both the means and the products of labour. Errico Malatesta put it: “[I]nstead of running the risk of making a confusion in trying to distinguish what you and I each do, let us all work and put everything in common. In this way each will give to society all that his strength permits until enough is produced for every one; and each will take all that he needs, limiting his needs only in those things of which there is not yet plenty for every one”.[85] Anarcho-communism as a coherent, modern economic-political philosophy was first formulated in the Italian section of the First International by Carlo Cafiero, Emilio Covelli, Errico Malatesta, Andrea Costa and other ex Mazzinian republicans.[86] Out of respect for Mikhail Bakunin, they did not make their differences with collectivist anarchism explicit until after Bakunin’s death.[87]

Syndicalism emerged in France inspired in part by the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and later by Fernand Pelloutier and Georges Sorel.[88] It developed at the end of the 19th century out of the French trade-union movement (syndicat is the French word for trade union). It was a significant force in Italy and Spain in the early 20th century until it was crushed by the fascist regimes in those countries. In the United States, syndicalism appeared in the guise of the Industrial Workers of the World, or “Wobblies”, founded in 1905.[88] Syndicalism is an economic system where industries are organised into confederations (syndicates)[89] and the economy is managed by negotiation between specialists and worker representatives of each field, comprising multiple non-competitive categorised units.[90] Syndicalism is thus a form of communism and economic corporatism, but also refers to the political movement and tactics used to bring about this type of system. An influential anarchist movement based on syndicalist ideas is anarcho-syndicalism.[91] The International Workers Association is an international anarcho-syndicalist federation of various labour unions from different countries.

The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation which was established with the purpose of advancing the principles of socialism via gradualist and reformist means.[92] The society laid many of the foundations of the Labour Party and subsequently affected the policies of states emerging from the decolonisation of the British Empire, most notably India and Singapore. Originally, the Fabian Society was committed to the establishment of a socialist economy, alongside a commitment to British imperialism as a progressive and modernising force.[93] Today, the society functions primarily as a think tank and is one of fifteen socialist societies affiliated with the Labour Party. Similar societies exist in Australia (the Australian Fabian Society), in Canada (the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation and the now disbanded League for Social Reconstruction) and in New Zealand.

Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers’ control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds “in an implied contractual relationship with the public”.[94] It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. Inspired by medieval guilds, theorists such as Samuel G. Hobson and G. D. H. Cole advocated the public ownership of industries and their organisation into guilds, each of which would be under the democratic control of its trade union. Guild socialists were less inclined than Fabians to invest power in a state.[88] At some point, like the American Knights of Labor, guild socialism wanted to abolish the wage system.[citation needed]

Second International

As the ideas of Marx and Engels took on flesh, particularly in central Europe, socialists sought to unite in an international organisation. In 1889 (the centennial of the French Revolution of 1789), the Second International was founded, with 384 delegates from twenty countries representing about 300 labour and socialist organisations.[95] It was termed the Socialist International and Engels was elected honorary president at the third congress in 1893. Anarchists were ejected and not allowed in, mainly due to pressure from Marxists.[96] It has been argued that at some point the Second International turned “into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only did they effectively present themselves as champions of minority rights; they also provoked the German Marxists into demonstrating a dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labour movement from following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as H. M. Hyndman“.[96]

Reformism arose as an alternative to revolution. Eduard Bernstein was a leading social democrat in Germany who proposed the concept of evolutionary socialism. Revolutionary socialists quickly targeted reformism: Rosa Luxemburg condemned Bernstein’s Evolutionary Socialism in her 1900 essay Social Reform or Revolution?. Revolutionary socialism encompasses multiple social and political movements that may define “revolution” differently from one another. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany became the largest and most powerful socialist party in Europe, despite working illegally until the anti-socialist laws were dropped in 1890. In the 1893 elections, it gained 1,787,000 votes, a quarter of the total votes cast, according to Engels. In 1895, the year of his death, Engels emphasised the Communist Manifestos emphasis on winning, as a first step, the “battle of democracy”.[97]

Early 20th century

Antonio Gramsci, member of the Italian Socialist Party and later leader and theorist of the Communist Party of Italy

In Argentina the Socialist Party of Argentina was established in the 1890s led by, among others, Juan B. Justo and Nicolás Repetto, thus becoming the first mass party in the country and in Latin America. The party affiliated itself with the Second International.[98] Between 1924 and 1940 it was a member of the Labour and Socialist International.[99] In 1904, Australians elected Chris Watson as the first Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, becoming the first democratically elected social democrat. In 1909, the first Kibbutz was established in Palestine[100] by Russian Jewish Immigrants. The Kibbutz Movement would then expand through the 20th century following a doctrine of Zionist socialism.[101] The British Labour Party first won seats in the House of Commons in 1902. The International Socialist Commission (ISC, also known as Berne International) was formed in February 1919 at a meeting in Bern by parties that wanted to resurrect the Second International.[102]

By 1917, the patriotism of World War I changed into political radicalism in most of Europe, the United States and Australia. Other socialist parties from around the world who were beginning to gain importance in their national politics in the early 20th century included the Italian Socialist Party, the French Section of the Workers’ International, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the Socialist Party of America in the United States, the Argentinian Socialist Party and the Chilean Partido Obrero Socialista.

Russian Revolution

In February 1917, revolution exploded in Russia. Workers, soldiers and peasants established soviets (councils), the monarchy fell and a provisional government convoked pending the election of a constituent assembly. In April of that year, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik faction of socialists in Russia and known for his profound and controversial expansions of Marxism, was allowed to cross Germany to return to his country from exile in Switzerland.

Lenin had published essays on his analysis of imperialism, the monopoly and globalisation phase of capitalism as predicted by Marx, as well as analyses on the social conditions of his contemporary time. He observed that as capitalism had further developed in Europe and America, the workers remained unable to gain class consciousness so long as they were too busy working and concerned with how to make ends meet. He therefore proposed that the social revolution would require the leadership of a vanguard party of class-conscious revolutionaries from the educated and politically active part of the population.[103]

Upon arriving in Petrograd, Lenin declared that the revolution in Russia was not over but had only begun, and that the next step was for the workers’ soviets to take full state authority. He issued a thesis outlining the Bolshevik’s party programme, including rejection of any legitimacy in the provisional government and advocacy for state power to be given to the peasant and working class through the soviets. The Bolsheviks became the most influential force in the soviets and on 7 November the capitol of the provisional government was stormed by Bolshevik Red Guards in what afterwards known as the “Great October Socialist Revolution“. The rule of the provisional government was ended and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic—the world’s first constitutionally socialist state—was established. On 25 January 1918 at the Petrograd Soviet, Lenin declared “Long live the world socialist revolution!”[104] and proposed an immediate armistice on all fronts and transferred the land of the landed proprietors, the crown and the monasteries to the peasant committees without compensation.[105]

The day after assuming executive power on 25 January, Lenin wrote Draft Regulations on Workers’ Control, which granted workers control of businesses with more than five workers and office employees and access to all books, documents and stocks and whose decisions were to be “binding upon the owners of the enterprises”.[106] Governing through the elected soviets and in alliance with the peasant-based Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Bolshevik government began nationalising banks and industry; and disavowed the national debts of the deposed Romanov royal régime. It sued for peace, withdrawing from World War I and convoked a Constituent Assembly in which the peasant Socialist-Revolutionary Party (SR) won a majority.[107]

The Constituent Assembly elected Socialist-Revolutionary leader Victor Chernov President of a Russian republic, but rejected the Bolshevik proposal that it endorse the Soviet decrees on land, peace and workers’ control and acknowledge the power of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The next day, the Bolsheviks declared that the assembly was elected on outdated party lists[108] and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets dissolved it.[109][110] In March 1919, world communist parties formed Comintern (also known as the Third International) at a meeting in Moscow.[111]

International Working Union of Socialist Parties

Parties which did not want to be a part of the resurrected Second International (ISC) or Comintern formed the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP, also known as Vienna International/Vienna Union/Two-and-a-Half International) on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna.[112] The ISC and the IWUSP joined to form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) in May 1923 at a meeting in Hamburg[113] Left-wing groups which did not agree to the centralisation and abandonment of the soviets by the Bolshevik Party led left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks—such groups included Socialist Revolutionaries,[114] Left Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and anarchists.[115]

Within this left-wing discontent, the most large-scale events were the worker’s Kronstadt rebellion[116][117][118] and the anarchist led Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine uprising which controlled an area known as the Free Territory.[119][120][121]

Third International

The Bolshevik Russian Revolution of January 1918 engendered communist parties worldwide and their concomitant revolutions of 1917–1923. Few communists doubted that the Russian success of socialism depended on successful, working-class socialist revolutions in developed capitalist countries.[122][123] In 1919, Lenin and Trotsky organised the world’s communist parties into a new international association of workers—the Communist International (Comintern), also called the Third International.

The Russian Revolution also influenced uprisings in other countries around this time. The German Revolution of 1918–1919 resulted in the replacing Germany’s imperial government with a republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the formal establishment of the Weimar Republic in August 1919 and included an episode known as the Bavarian Soviet Republic[124][125][126][127] and the Spartacist uprising. In Italy, the events known as the Biennio Rosso[128][129] were characterised by mass strikes, worker manifestations and self-management experiments through land and factory occupations. In Turin and Milan, workers’ councils were formed and many factory occupations took place led by anarcho-syndicalists organised around the Unione Sindacale Italiana.[130]

By 1920, the Red Army under its commander Trotsky had largely defeated the royalist White Armies. In 1921, War Communism was ended and under the New Economic Policy (NEP) private ownership was allowed for small and medium peasant enterprises. While industry remained largely state-controlled, Lenin acknowledged that the NEP was a necessary capitalist measure for a country unripe for socialism. Profiteering returned in the form of “NEP men” and rich peasants (kulaks) gained power in the countryside.[131] Nevertheless, the role of Trotsky in this episode has been questioned by other socialists, including ex Trotskyists. In the United States, Dwight Macdonald broke with Trotsky and left the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party by raising the question of the Kronstadt rebellion, which Trotsky as leader of the Soviet Red Army and the other Bolsheviks had brutally repressed. He then moved towards democratic socialism.[132] and anarchism.[133]

A similar critique of Trotsky’s role on the events around the Kronstadt rebellion was raised by the American anarchist Emma Goldman. In her essay “Trotsky Protests Too Much”, she says: “I admit, the dictatorship under Stalin’s rule has become monstrous. That does not, however, lessen the guilt of Leon Trotsky as one of the actors in the revolutionary drama of which Kronstadt was one of the bloodiest scenes”.[134]

Rosa Luxemburg, prominent Marxist revolutionary, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and martyr and leader of the German Spartacist uprising in 1919

Fourth congress

In 1922, the fourth congress of the Communist International took up the policy of the United Front, urging communists to work with rank and file Social Democrats while remaining critical of their leaders, whom they criticised for betraying the working class by supporting the war efforts of their respective capitalist classes. For their part, the social democrats pointed to the dislocation caused by revolution and later the growing authoritarianism of the communist parties. When the Communist Party of Great Britain applied to affiliate to the Labour Party in 1920, it was turned down.

On seeing the Soviet State’s growing coercive power in 1923, a dying Lenin said Russia had reverted to “a bourgeois tsarist machine… barely varnished with socialism”.[135] After Lenin’s death in January 1924, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—then increasingly under the control of Joseph Stalin—rejected the theory that socialism could not be built solely in the Soviet Union in favour of the concept of “Socialism in One Country“. Despite the marginalised Left Opposition‘s demand for the restoration of Soviet democracy, Stalin developed a bureaucratic, authoritarian government that was condemned by democratic socialists, anarchists and Trotskyists for undermining the initial socialist ideals of the Bolshevik Russian Revolution.[136][137][self-published source?][unreliable source?]

In 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was established and was ruled by the Mongolian People’s Party. The Russian Revolution and the appearance of the Soviet State motivated a worldwide current of national communist parties which ended having varying levels of political and social influence. Among these there appeared the Communist Party of France, the Communist Party USA, the Italian Communist Party, the Chinese Communist Party, the Mexican Communist Party, the Brazilian Communist Party, the Chilean Communist Party and the Communist Party of Indonesia.

Spanish Civil War

FAI militia during the Spanish Revolution in 1936

In Spain in 1936, the national anarcho-syndicalist trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) initially refused to join a popular front electoral alliance and abstention by CNT supporters led to a right-wing election victory. In 1936, the CNT changed its policy and anarchist votes helped bring the popular front back to power. Months later, the former ruling class responded with an attempted coup, sparking the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).[138]

In response to the army rebellion, an anarchist-inspired movement of peasants and workers, supported by armed militias, took control of Barcelona and of large areas of rural Spain where they collectivised the land.[139][139] The events known as the Spanish Revolution was a workers’ social revolution that began during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and resulted in the widespread implementation of anarchist and more broadly libertarian socialist organisational principles throughout various portions of the country for two to three years, primarily Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia and parts of Levante.

Much of Spain’s economy was put under worker control and in anarchist strongholds like Catalonia the figure was as high as 75%, but lower in areas with heavy Communist Party of Spain influence, as the Soviet-allied party actively resisted attempts at collectivisation enactment. Factories were run through worker committees, agrarian areas became collectivised and run as libertarian communes. Anarchist historian Sam Dolgoff estimated that about eight million people participated directly or indirectly in the Spanish Revolution.[140]

Mid-20th century

Post-World War II

Leon Trotsky‘s Fourth International was established in France in 1938 when Trotskyists argued that the Comintern or Third International had become irretrievably “lost to Stalinism” and thus incapable of leading the international working class to political power.[141] The rise of Nazism and the start of World War II led to the dissolution of the LSI in 1940. After the War, the Socialist International was formed in Frankfurt in July 1951 as a successor to the LSI.[142]

After World War II, social democratic governments introduced social reform and wealth redistribution via state welfare and taxation. Social democratic parties dominated post-war politics in countries such as France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Norway. At one point, France claimed to be the world’s most state-controlled capitalist country. The nationalised public utilities included Charbonnages de France (CDF), Electricité de France (EDF), Gaz de France (GDF), Air France, Banque de France and Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.[143]

In 1945, the British Labour Party led by Clement Attlee was elected to office based on a radical socialist programme. The Labour government nationalised major public utilities such as mines, gas, coal, electricity, rail, iron, steel and the Bank of England. British Petroleum was officially nationalised in 1951.[144] Anthony Crosland said that in 1956 25% of British industry was nationalised and that public employees, including those in nationalised industries, constituted a similar proportion of the country’s total employed population.[145] The Labour Governments of 1964–1970 and 1974–1979 intervened further.[146] It re-nationalised steel (1967, British Steel) after the Conservatives had denationalised it and nationalised car production (1976, British Leyland).[147] The National Health Service provided taxpayer-funded health care to everyone, free at the point of service.[148] Working-class housing was provided in council housing estates and university education became available via a school grant system.[149]

Nordic model

The Nordic model is a term for a form of social democracy common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland).[150][151][152] During most of the post-war era, Sweden was governed by the Swedish Social Democratic Party largely in cooperation with trade unions and industry.[153] In Sweden, the Social Democratic Party held power from 1936 to 1976, 1982 to 1991, 1994 to 2006 and 2014 to present. Tage Erlander was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and led the government from 1946 to 1969, an uninterrupted tenure of twenty-three years, one of the longest in any democracy. From 1945 to 1962, the Norwegian Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament led by Einar Gerhardsen who was Prime Minister with seventeen years in office. This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by more generous welfare states (relative to other developed countries), which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights and stabilising the economy. It is distinguished from other welfare states with similar goals by its emphasis on maximising labour force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, large magnitude of redistribution and expansionary fiscal policy.[154]

Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II.[155][156] After the war, the Soviet Union became a recognised superpower.[157] The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first spacecraft and the first astronaut. The Soviet economy was the modern world’s first centrally planned economy. It was based on a system of state ownership of industry managed through Gosplan (the State Planning Commission), Gosbank (the State Bank) and the Gossnab (State Commission for Materials and Equipment Supply).

Economic planning was conducted through a series of Five-Year Plans. The emphasis was on fast development of heavy industry and the nation became one of the world’s top manufacturers of a large number of basic and heavy industrial products, but it lagged in light industrial production and consumer durables.[citation needed] Modernisation brought about a general increase in the standard of living.[158]

The Eastern Bloc was the group of former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact[159][160][161] which included the People’s Republic of Poland, the German Democratic Republic, the People’s Republic of Hungary, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Socialist Republic of Romania, the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of the excesses of Stalin’s regime during the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 1956[162] as well as the revolt in Hungary,[163][164][165][166] produced ideological fractures and disagreements within the communist and socialist parties of Western Europe.

Third World

In the post-war years, socialism became increasingly influential throughout the so-called Third World. Embracing a new Third World socialism, countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America often nationalised industries held by foreign owners. The Chinese Kuomintang Party, the previous ruling party in Taiwan, was referred to as having a socialist ideology since Kuomintang’s revolutionary ideology in the 1920s incorporated unique Chinese socialism as part of its ideology.[167][168] The Soviet Union trained Kuomintang revolutionaries in the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. Movie theatres in the Soviet Union showed newsreels and clips of Chiang at Moscow Sun Yat-sen University portraits of Chiang were hung on the walls and in the Soviet May Day parades that year Chiang’s portrait was to be carried along with the portraits of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and other socialist leaders.[169]

The Chinese Revolution was the second stage in the Chinese Civil War which ended in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China led by the Chinese Communist Party. The term “Third World” was coined by French demographer Alfred Sauvy in 1952 on the model of the Third Estate, which according to the Abbé Sieyès represented everything, but was nothing “because at the end this ignored, exploited, scorned Third World like the Third Estate, wants to become something too”.

The emergence of this new political entity in the frame of the Cold War was complex and painful. Several tentatives were made to organise newly independent states in order to oppose a common front towards both the United States’ and the Soviet Union’s influence on them, with the consequences of the Sino-Soviet split already at works. The Non-Aligned Movement constituted itself around the main figures of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, President Sukarno of Indonesia, leader Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt who successfully opposed the French and British imperial powers during the 1956 Suez crisis. After the 1954 Geneva Conference which ended the French war against Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, the 1955 Bandung Conference gathered Nasser, Nehru, Tito, Sukarno and Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

As many African countries gained independence during the 1960s, some of them rejected capitalism in favour of a more afrocentric economic model. The main architects of African socialism were Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Léopold Senghor of Senegal, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Sékou Touré of Guinea.[170]

The Cuban Revolution (1953–1959) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro‘s 26th of July Movement and its allies against the government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The revolution began in July 1953 and finally ousted Batista on 1 January 1959, replacing his government with Castro’s revolutionary state. Castro’s government later reformed along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1965.[171]

In Indonesia, a right-wing military regime led by Suharto killed between 500,000 and one million people in 1965 and 1966, mainly to crush the growing influence of the Communist Party of Indonesia and other leftist sectors, with support from the United States government, which provided kill lists containing thousands of names of suspected high-ranking Communists.[172][173][174][175][176]

New Left

The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms on issues such as gay rights, abortion, gender roles and drugs[177] in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist approach to social justice and focused mostly on labour unionisation and questions of social class.[178][179][180] The New Left rejected involvement with the labour movement and Marxism‘s historical theory of class struggle.[181]

In the United States, the New Left was associated with the Hippie movement and anti-war college campus protest movements as well as the black liberation movements such as the Black Panther Party.[182] While initially formed in opposition to the “Old Left” Democratic Party, groups composing the New Left gradually became central players in the Democratic coalition.[177]

Protests of 1968

The protests of 1968 represented a worldwide escalation of social conflicts, predominantly characterised by popular rebellions against military, capitalist and bureaucratic elites who responded with an escalation of political repression. These protests marked a turning point for the civil rights movement in the United States, which produced revolutionary movements like the Black Panther Party; the prominent civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. organised the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic justice,[183] while personally showing sympathy with democratic socialism.[184] In reaction to the Tet Offensive, protests also sparked a broad movement in opposition to the Vietnam War all over the United States and even into London, Paris, Berlin and Rome. In 1968 in Carrara, Italy, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference held there by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.

Mass socialist or communist movements grew not only in the United States, but also in most European countries. The most spectacular manifestation of this were the May 1968 protests in France in which students linked up with strikes of up to ten million workers and for a few days the movement seemed capable of overthrowing the government.[citation needed]

In many other capitalist countries, struggles against dictatorships, state repression and colonisation were also marked by protests in 1968, such as the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City and the escalation of guerrilla warfare against the military dictatorship in Brazil. Countries governed by communist parties had protests against bureaucratic and military elites. In Eastern Europe there were widespread protests that escalated particularly in the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia. In response, Soviet Union occupied Czechoslovakia, but the occupation was denounced by the Italian and French[185] communist parties and the Communist Party of Finland. Few western European political leaders defended the occupation, among them the Portuguese communist secretary-general Álvaro Cunhal.[186] along with the Luxembourg party[185] and conservative factions of the Communist Party of Greece.[185]

In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a social-political youth movement mobilised against “bourgeois” elements which were seen to be infiltrating the government and society at large, aiming to restore capitalism. This movement motivated Maoism-inspired movements around the world in the context of the Sino-Soviet split.[citation needed]

Late 20th century

Salvador Allende, President of Chile and member of the Socialist Party of Chile, whose presidency and life was ended by a CIA-backed military coup[187]

In Latin America in the 1960s, a socialist tendency within the catholic church appeared which was called liberation theology[188][189] which motivated even the Colombian priest Camilo Torres to enter the ELN guerrilla. In Chile, Salvador Allende, a physician and candidate for the Socialist Party of Chile, was elected president through democratic elections in 1970. In 1973, his government was ousted by the United States-backed military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted until the late 1980s.[190] Pinochet’s regime was a leader of Operation Condor, a U.S.-backed campaign of repression and state terrorism carried out by the intelligence services of the Southern Cone countries of Latin America to eliminate suspected Communist subversion.[191][192][193] In Jamaica, the democratic socialist[194] Michael Manley served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. According to opinion polls, he remains one of Jamaica’s most popular Prime Ministers since independence.[195] The Nicaraguan Revolution encompassed the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to violently oust the dictatorship in 1978–1979, the subsequent efforts of the FSLN to govern Nicaragua from 1979 until 1990[196] and the socialist measures which included wide-scale agrarian reform[197][198] and educational programs.[199] The People’s Revolutionary Government was proclaimed on 13 March 1979 in Grenada which was overthrown by armed forces of the United States in 1983. The Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992) was a conflict between the military-led government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition or umbrella organisation of five socialist guerrilla groups. A coup on 15 October 1979 led to the killings of anti-coup protesters by the government as well as anti-disorder protesters by the guerrillas, and is widely seen as the tipping point towards the civil war.[200]

In Italy, Autonomia Operaia was a leftist movement particularly active from 1976 to 1978. It took an important role in the autonomist movement in the 1970s, aside earlier organisations such as Potere Operaio (created after May 1968) and Lotta Continua.[201] This experience prompted the contemporary socialist radical movement autonomism.[202] In 1982, the newly elected French socialist government of François Mitterrand made nationalisations in a few key industries, including banks and insurance companies.[203] Eurocommunism was a trend in the 1970s and 1980s in various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant for a Western European country and less aligned to the influence or control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Outside Western Europe, it is sometimes called neocommunism.[204] Some communist parties with strong popular support, notably the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) adopted Eurocommunism most enthusiastically and the Communist Party of Finland was dominated by Eurocommunists. The French Communist Party (PCF) and many smaller parties strongly opposed Eurocommunism and stayed aligned with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union until the end of the Soviet Union.

In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, the Socialist International (SI) had extensive contacts and discussion with the two powers of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union, about East-West relations and arms control. Since then, the SI has admitted as member parties the Nicaraguan FSLN, the left-wing Puerto Rican Independence Party, as well as former communist parties such as the Democratic Party of the Left of Italy and the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). The SI aided social democratic parties in re-establishing themselves when dictatorship gave way to democracy in Portugal (1974) and Spain (1975). Until its 1976 Geneva Congress, the SI had few members outside Europe and no formal involvement with Latin America.[205]

After Mao’s death in 1976 and the arrest of the faction known as the Gang of Four, who were blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping took power and led the People’s Republic of China to significant economic reforms. The Communist Party of China loosened governmental control over citizens’ personal lives and the communes were disbanded in favour of private land leases, thus China’s transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy named as “socialism with Chinese characteristics[206] which maintained state ownership rights over land, state or cooperative ownership of much of the heavy industrial and manufacturing sectors and state influence in the banking and financial sectors. China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982. President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under their administration, China’s economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%.[207][208] At the Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in December 1986, reformist politicians replaced the “old guard” government with new leadership.[209][210] The reformers were led by 71-year-old Nguyen Van Linh, who became the party’s new general secretary.[209][210] Linh and the reformers implemented a series of free market reforms—known as Đổi Mới (“Renovation”)—which carefully managed the transition from a planned economy to a “socialist-oriented market economy“.[211][212] Mikhail Gorbachev wished to move the Soviet Union towards of Nordic-style social democracy, calling it “a socialist beacon for all mankind”.[213][214] Prior to its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy in the world after the United States.[215] With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic integration of the Soviet republics was dissolved and overall industrial activity declined substantially.[216] A lasting legacy remains in the physical infrastructure created during decades of combined industrial production practices, and widespread environmental destruction.[217] The transition to capitalism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc, which was accompanied by Washington Consensus-inspired “shock therapy“,[218] resulted in a steep fall in the standard of living. The region experienced rising economic inequality and poverty[219] a surge in excess mortality[220][221] and a decline in life expectancy,[222] which was accompanied by the entrenchment of a newly established business oligarchy in the former.[219] The average post-communist country had returned to 1989 levels of per-capita GDP by 2005,[223] although some are still far behind that.[224] These developments led to increased nationalist sentiment and nostalgia for the Communist era.[225][226][227]

Many social democratic parties, particularly after the Cold War, adopted neoliberal market policies including privatisation, deregulation and financialisation. They abandoned their pursuit of moderate socialism in favour of market liberalism. By the 1980s, with the rise of conservative neoliberal politicians such as Ronald Reagan in the United States, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Brian Mulroney in Canada and Augusto Pinochet in Chile, the Western welfare state was attacked from within, but state support for the corporate sector was maintained.[228] Monetarists and neoliberals attacked social welfare systems as impediments to private entrepreneurship. In the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock made a public attack against the entryist group Militant at the 1985 Labour Party conference. The Labour Party ruled that Militant was ineligible for affiliation with the Labour Party, and the party gradually expelled Militant supporters. The Kinnock leadership had refused to support the 1984–1985 miner’s strike over pit closures, a decision that the party’s left wing and the National Union of Mineworkers blamed for the strike’s eventual defeat. In 1989 at Stockholm, the 18th Congress of the Socialist International adopted a new Declaration of Principles, saying:

Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice, and solidarity. Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where these basic values can be enhanced and where each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents, and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework of society.[229]

In the 1990s, the British Labour Party under Tony Blair enacted policies based on the free market economy to deliver public services via the private finance initiative. Influential in these policies was the idea of a “Third Way” which called for a re-evaluation of welfare state policies.[230] In 1995, the Labour Party re-defined its stance on socialism by re-wording Clause IV of its constitution, effectively rejecting socialism by removing all references to public, direct worker or municipal ownership of the means of production. The Labour Party stated: “The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create, for each of us, the means to realise our true potential, and, for all of us, a community in which power, wealth, and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few”.[231]

Contemporary socialist politics

Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and theorist of African socialism, on a Soviet Union commemorative postage stamp

Africa

African socialism has been and continues to be a major ideology around the continent. Julius Nyerere was inspired by Fabian socialist ideals.[232] He was a firm believer in rural Africans and their traditions and ujamaa, a system of collectivisation that according to Nyerere was present before European imperialism. Essentially he believed Africans were already socialists. Other African socialists include Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah. Fela Kuti was inspired by socialism and called for a democratic African republic. In South Africa the African National Congress (ANC) abandoned its partial socialist allegiances after taking power and followed a standard neoliberal route. From 2005 through to 2007, the country was wracked by many thousands of protests from poor communities. One of these gave rise to a mass movement of shack dwellers, Abahlali baseMjondolo that despite major police suppression continues to work for popular people’s planning and against the creation of a market economy in land and housing.

Asia

In Asia, states with socialist economies—such as the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam—have largely moved away from centralised economic planning in the 21st century, placing a greater emphasis on markets. Forms include the Chinese socialist market economy and the Vietnamese socialist-oriented market economy. They utilise state-owned corporate management models as opposed to modelling socialist enterprise on traditional management styles employed by government agencies. In China living standards continued to improve rapidly despite the late-2000s recession, but centralised political control remained tight.[233] Brian Reynolds Myers in his book The Cleanest Race, later supported by other academics,[234][235] dismisses the idea that Juche is North Korea’s leading ideology, regarding its public exaltation as designed to deceive foreigners and that it exists to be praised and not actually read,[236] pointing out that North Korea’s constitution of 2009 omits all mention of communism.[235]

Though the authority of the state remained unchallenged under Đổi Mới, the government of Vietnam encourages private ownership of farms and factories, economic deregulation and foreign investment, while maintaining control over strategic industries.[212] The Vietnamese economy subsequently achieved strong growth in agricultural and industrial production, construction, exports and foreign investment. However, these reforms have also caused a rise in income inequality and gender disparities.[237][238]

Elsewhere in Asia, some elected socialist parties and communist parties remain prominent, particularly in India and Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal[which?] in particular calls for multi-party democracy, social equality and economic prosperity.[239] In Singapore, a majority of the GDP is still generated from the state sector comprising government-linked companies.[240] In Japan, there has been a resurgent interest in the Japanese Communist Party among workers and youth.[241][242] In Malaysia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia got its first Member of Parliament, Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, after the 2008 general election. In 2010, there were 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Their factories and farms account for 9% of Israel’s industrial output, worth US$8 billion and 40% of its agricultural output, worth over $1.7 billion.[243] Some Kibbutzim had also developed substantial high-tech and military industries. Also in 2010, Kibbutz Sasa, containing some 200 members, generated $850 million in annual revenue from its military-plastics industry.[244]

Europe

The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark topping the list. This is at times attributed to the success of the Nordic model in the region. The Nordic countries ranked highest on the metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.[245] Indeed, the indicators of Freedom in the World have listed Scandinavian countries as ranking high on indicators such as press and economic freedom.

The objectives of the Party of European Socialists, the European Parliament’s socialist and social democratic bloc, are now “to pursue international aims in respect of the principles on which the European Union is based, namely principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy, respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and respect for the Rule of Law”. As a result, today the rallying cry of the French Revolution—Liberté, égalité, fraternité—is promoted as essential socialist values.[246] To the left of the PES at the European level is the Party of the European Left (PEL), also commonly abbreviated “European Left”), which is a political party at the European level and an association of democratic socialist, socialist[247] and communist[247] political parties in the European Union and other European countries. It was formed in January 2004 for the purposes of running in the 2004 European Parliament elections. PEL was founded on 8–9 May 2004 in Rome.[248] Elected MEPs from member parties of the European Left sit in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European parliament.

The socialist Left Party in Germany grew in popularity[249] due to dissatisfaction with the increasingly neoliberal policies of the SPD, becoming the fourth biggest party in parliament in the general election on 27 September 2009.[250] Communist candidate Dimitris Christofias won a crucial presidential runoff in Cyprus, defeating his conservative rival with a majority of 53%.[251] In Ireland, in the 2009 European election Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party took one of three seats in the capital Dublin European constituency.

In Denmark, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) more than doubled its parliamentary representation to 23 seats from 11, making it the fourth largest party.[252] In 2011, the Social Democrats, Socialist People’s Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party formed government, after a slight victory over the main rival political coalition. They were led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and had the Red-Green Alliance as a supporting party.

In Norway, the Red-Green Coalition consists of the Labour Party (Ap), the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Centre Party (Sp) and governed the country as a majority government from the 2005 general election until 2013.

In the Greek legislative election of January 2015, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) led by Alexis Tsipras won a legislative election for the first time while the Communist Party of Greece won 15 seats in parliament. SYRIZA has been characterised as an anti-establishment party,[253] whose success has sent “shock-waves across the EU”.[254]

In the United Kingdom, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers put forward a slate of candidates in the 2009 European Parliament elections under the banner of No to EU – Yes to Democracy, a broad left-wing alter-globalisation coalition involving socialist groups such as the Socialist Party, aiming to offer an alternative to the “anti-foreigner” and pro-business policies of the UK Independence Party.[255][256][257] In the following May 2010 United Kingdom general election, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, launched in January 2010[258] and backed by Bob Crow, the leader of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT), other union leaders and the Socialist Party among other socialist groups, stood against Labour in 40 constituencies.[259][260] The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition contested the 2011 local elections, having gained the endorsement of the RMT June 2010 conference, but gained no seats.[261] Left Unity was also founded in 2013 after the film director Ken Loach appealed for a new party of the left to replace the Labour Party, which he claimed had failed to oppose austerity and had shifted towards neoliberalism.[262][263][264][265] In 2015, following a defeat at the 2015 United Kingdom general election, self-described socialist Jeremy Corbyn took over from Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour Party.[266]

In France, Olivier Besancenot, the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) candidate in the 2007 presidential election, received 1,498,581 votes, 4.08%, double that of the communist candidate.[267] The LCR abolished itself in 2009 to initiate a broad anti-capitalist party, the New Anticapitalist Party, whose stated aim is to “build a new socialist, democratic perspective for the twenty-first century”.[268]

On 25 May 2014, the Spanish left-wing party Podemos entered candidates for the 2014 European parliamentary elections, some of which were unemployed. In a surprise result, it polled 7.98% of the vote and thus was awarded five seats out of 54[269][270] while the older United Left was the third largest overall force obtaining 10.03% and 5 seats, 4 more than the previous elections.[271]

The current government of Portugal was established on 26 November 2015 as a Socialist Party (PS) minority government led by prime minister António Costa. Costa succeeded in securing support for a Socialist minority government by the Left Bloc (B.E.), the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party “The Greens” (PEV).[272]

All around Europe and in some places of Latin America there exists a social centre and squatting movement mainly inspired by autonomist and anarchist ideas.[273][274]

North America

According to a 2013 article in The Guardian, “[c]ontrary to popular belief, Americans don’t have an innate allergy to socialism. Milwaukee has had several socialist mayors (Frank Zeidler, Emil Seidel and Daniel Hoan), and there is currently an independent socialist in the US Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont”.[275] Sanders, once mayor of Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, has described himself as a democratic socialist[276][277] and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy.[278][279] In 2016, Sanders made a bid for the Democratic Party presidential candidate, thereby gaining considerable popular support, particularly among the younger generation, but lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

Anti-capitalism, anarchism and the anti-globalisation movement rose to prominence through events such as protests against the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 in Seattle. Socialist-inspired groups played an important role in these movements, which nevertheless embraced much broader layers of the population and were championed by figures such as Noam Chomsky. In Canada, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the precursor to the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), had significant success in provincial politics. In 1944, the Saskatchewan CCF formed the first socialist government in North America. At the federal level, the NDP was the Official Opposition, from 2011 through 2015.[280]

Latin America and Caribbean

For the Encyclopedia Britannica, “the attempt by Salvador Allende to unite Marxists and other reformers in a socialist reconstruction of Chile is most representative of the direction that Latin American socialists have taken since the late 20th century. […] Several socialist (or socialist-leaning) leaders have followed Allende’s example in winning election to office in Latin American countries”.[75] Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa refer to their political programmes as socialist and Chávez adopted the term “socialism of the 21st century“. After winning re-election in December 2006, Chávez said: “Now more than ever, I am obliged to move Venezuela’s path towards socialism”.[281] Chávez was also reelected in October 2012 for his third six-year term as President, but he died in March 2013 from cancer. After Chávez’s death on 5 March 2013, Vice President from Chavez’s party Nicolás Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the President. A special election was held on 14 April of the same year to elect a new President, which Maduro won by a tight margin as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and he was formally inaugurated on 19 April.[282]Pink tide” is a term being used in contemporary 21st-century political analysis in the media and elsewhere to describe the perception that leftist ideology in general and left-wing politics in particular are increasingly influential in Latin America.[283][284][285]

Presidents Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela in World Social Forum for Latin America

Foro de São Paulo is a conference of leftist political parties and other organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean. It was launched by the Workers’ Party (Portuguese: Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil in 1990 in the city of São Paulo. The Forum of São Paulo was constituted in 1990 when the Brazilian Workers’ Party approached other parties and social movements of Latin America and the Caribbean with the objective of debating the new international scenario after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequences of the implementation of what were taken as neoliberal policies adopted at the time by contemporary right-leaning governments in the region, the stated main objective of the conference being to argue for alternatives to neoliberalism.[286] Among its member include current socialist and social-democratic parties currently in government in the region such as Bolivia’s Movement for Socialism, Brazil’s Workers Party, the Communist Party of Cuba, Ecuador’s PAIS Alliance, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the Socialist Party of Chile, Uruguay’s Broad Front, Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front and El Salvador’s Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.

Oceania

Australia saw an increase in interest of socialism in the early 21st century, especially amongst youth.[287] It is strongest in Victoria, where three socialist parties have merged into the Victorian Socialists, who aim to address problems in housing and public transportation.

New Zealand has a small socialist scene, mainly dominated by Trotskyist groups. The current prime minister Jacinda Ardern has publicly condemned capitalism but describes herself as a social democrat.[citation needed]

Melanesian Socialism developed in the 1980s, inspired by African Socialism. It aims to achieve full independence from Britain and France in Melanesian territories and creation of a Melanesian federal union. It is very popular with the New Caledonia independence movement.[citation needed]

International socialism

The Progressive Alliance is a political international founded on 22 May 2013 by political parties, the majority of whom are current or former members of the Socialist International. The organisation states the aim of becoming the global network of “the progressive“, democratic, social-democratic, socialist and labour movement“.[288][289]

Social and political theory

Early socialist thought took influences from a diverse range of philosophies such as civic republicanism, Enlightenment rationalism, romanticism, forms of materialism, Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), natural law and natural rights theory, utilitarianism and liberal political economy.[290] Another philosophical basis for a lot of early socialism was the emergence of positivism during the European Enlightenment. Positivism held that both the natural and social worlds could be understood through scientific knowledge and be analysed using scientific methods. This core outlook influenced early social scientists and different types of socialists ranging from anarchists like Peter Kropotkin to technocrats like Saint Simon.[291]

The fundamental objective of socialism is to attain an advanced level of material production and therefore greater productivity, efficiency and rationality as compared to capitalism and all previous systems, under the view that an expansion of human productive capability is the basis for the extension of freedom and equality in society.[292] Many forms of socialist theory hold that human behaviour is largely shaped by the social environment. In particular, socialism holds that social mores, values, cultural traits and economic practices are social creations and not the result of an immutable natural law.[293][294] The object of their critique is thus not human avarice or human consciousness, but the material conditions and man-made social systems (i.e. the economic structure of society) that gives rise to observed social problems and inefficiencies. Bertrand Russell, often considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, identified as a socialist. Russell opposed the class struggle aspects of Marxism, viewing socialism solely as an adjustment of economic relations to accommodate modern machine production to benefit all of humanity through the progressive reduction of necessary work time.[295]

Socialists view creativity as an essential aspect of human nature and define freedom as a state of being where individuals are able to express their creativity unhindered by constraints of both material scarcity and coercive social institutions.[296] The socialist concept of individuality is thus intertwined with the concept of individual creative expression. Karl Marx believed that expansion of the productive forces and technology was the basis for the expansion of human freedom and that socialism, being a system that is consistent with modern developments in technology, would enable the flourishing of “free individualities” through the progressive reduction of necessary labour time. The reduction of necessary labour time to a minimum would grant individuals the opportunity to pursue the development of their true individuality and creativity.[297]

Criticism of capitalism

Socialists argue that the accumulation of capital generates waste through externalities that require costly corrective regulatory measures. They also point out that this process generates wasteful industries and practices that exist only to generate sufficient demand for products to be sold at a profit (such as high-pressure advertisement), thereby creating rather than satisfying economic demand.[298][299]

Socialists argue that capitalism consists of irrational activity, such as the purchasing of commodities only to sell at a later time when their price appreciates, rather than for consumption, even if the commodity cannot be sold at a profit to individuals in need and therefore a crucial criticism often made by socialists is that “making money”, or accumulation of capital, does not correspond to the satisfaction of demand (the production of use-values).[300] The fundamental criterion for economic activity in capitalism is the accumulation of capital for reinvestment in production, but this spurs the development of new, non-productive industries that do not produce use-value and only exist to keep the accumulation process afloat (otherwise the system goes into crisis), such as the spread of the financial industry, contributing to the formation of economic bubbles.[301]

Socialists view private property relations as limiting the potential of productive forces in the economy. According to socialists, private property becomes obsolete when it concentrates into centralised, socialised institutions based on private appropriation of revenuebut based on cooperative work and internal planning in allocation of inputsuntil the role of the capitalist becomes redundant.[302] With no need for capital accumulation and a class of owners, private property in the means of production is perceived as being an outdated form of economic organisation that should be replaced by a free association of individuals based on public or common ownership of these socialised assets.[303][304] Private ownership imposes constraints on planning, leading to uncoordinated economic decisions that result in business fluctuations, unemployment and a tremendous waste of material resources during crisis of overproduction.[305]

Excessive disparities in income distribution lead to social instability and require costly corrective measures in the form of redistributive taxation, which incurs heavy administrative costs while weakening the incentive to work, inviting dishonesty and increasing the likelihood of tax evasion while (the corrective measures) reduce the overall efficiency of the market economy.[306] These corrective policies limit the incentive system of the market by providing things such as minimum wages, unemployment insurance, taxing profits and reducing the reserve army of labour, resulting in reduced incentives for capitalists to invest in more production. In essence, social welfare policies cripple capitalism and its incentive system and are thus unsustainable in the long-run.[307] Marxists argue that the establishment of a socialist mode of production is the only way to overcome these deficiencies. Socialists and specifically Marxian socialists argue that the inherent conflict of interests between the working class and capital prevent optimal use of available human resources and leads to contradictory interest groups (labour and business) striving to influence the state to intervene in the economy in their favour at the expense of overall economic efficiency.

Early socialists (utopian socialists and Ricardian socialists) criticised capitalism for concentrating power and wealth within a small segment of society.[308] In addition, they complained that capitalism does not utilise available technology and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public.[304]

Marxism

At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

The writings of Karl Marx provided the basis for the development of Marxist political theory and Marxian economics

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argued that socialism would emerge from historical necessity as capitalism rendered itself obsolete and unsustainable from increasing internal contradictions emerging from the development of the productive forces and technology. It was these advances in the productive forces combined with the old social relations of production of capitalism that would generate contradictions, leading to working-class consciousness.[310]

Marx and Engels held the view that the consciousness of those who earn a wage or salary (the working class in the broadest Marxist sense) would be moulded by their conditions of wage slavery, leading to a tendency to seek their freedom or emancipation by overthrowing ownership of the means of production by capitalists and consequently, overthrowing the state that upheld this economic order. For Marx and Engels, conditions determine consciousness and ending the role of the capitalist class leads eventually to a classless society in which the state would wither away. The Marxist conception of socialism is that of a specific historical phase that would displace capitalism and precede communism. The major characteristics of socialism (particularly as conceived by Marx and Engels after the Paris Commune of 1871) are that the proletariat would control the means of production through a workers’ state erected by the workers in their interests. Economic activity would still be organised through the use of incentive systems and social classes would still exist, but to a lesser and diminishing extent than under capitalism.

For orthodox Marxists, socialism is the lower stage of communism based on the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution” while upper stage communism is based on the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need“, the upper stage becoming possible only after the socialist stage further develops economic efficiency and the automation of production has led to a superabundance of goods and services.[311][312] Marx argued that the material productive forces (in industry and commerce) brought into existence by capitalism predicated a cooperative society since production had become a mass social, collective activity of the working class to create commodities but with private ownership (the relations of production or property relations). This conflict between collective effort in large factories and private ownership would bring about a conscious desire in the working class to establish collective ownership commensurate with the collective efforts their daily experience.[309]

Role of the state

Socialists have taken different perspectives on the state and the role it should play in revolutionary struggles, in constructing socialism and within an established socialist economy.

In the 19th century the philosophy of state socialism was first explicitly expounded by the German political philosopher Ferdinand Lassalle. In contrast to Karl Marx’s perspective of the state, Lassalle rejected the concept of the state as a class-based power structure whose main function was to preserve existing class structures. Thus Lassalle also rejected the Marxist view that the state was destined to “wither away”. Lassalle considered the state to be an entity independent of class allegiances and an instrument of justice that would therefore be essential for achieving socialism.[313]

Preceding the Bolshevik-led revolution in Russia, many socialists including reformists, orthodox Marxist currents such as council communism, anarchists and libertarian socialists criticised the idea of using the state to conduct central planning and own the means of production as a way to establish socialism. Following the victory of Leninism in Russia, the idea of “state socialism” spread rapidly throughout the socialist movement and eventually state socialism came to be identified with the Soviet economic model.[314]

Joseph Schumpeter rejected the association of socialism (and social ownership) with state ownership over the means of production because the state as it exists in its current form is a product of capitalist society and cannot be transplanted to a different institutional framework. Schumpeter argued that there would be different institutions within socialism than those that exist within modern capitalism, just as feudalism had its own distinct and unique institutional forms. The state, along with concepts like property and taxation, were concepts exclusive to commercial society (capitalism) and attempting to place them within the context of a future socialist society would amount to a distortion of these concepts by using them out of context.[315]

Utopian versus scientific

Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists.[316] However, visions of imaginary ideal societies, which competed with revolutionary social democratic movements, were viewed as not being grounded in the material conditions of society and as reactionary.[317] Although it is technically possible for any set of ideas or any person living at any time in history to be a utopian socialist, the term is most often applied to those socialists who lived in the first quarter of the 19th century who were ascribed the label “utopian” by later socialists as a negative term in order to imply naivete and dismiss their ideas as fanciful or unrealistic.[79]

Religious sects whose members live communally such as the Hutterites, for example, are not usually called “utopian socialists”, although their way of living is a prime example. They have been categorised as religious socialists by some. Likewise, modern intentional communities based on socialist ideas could also be categorised as “utopian socialist”.

For Marxists, the development of capitalism in Western Europe provided a material basis for the possibility of bringing about socialism because according to The Communist Manifesto “[w]hat the bourgeoisie produces above all is its own grave diggers”,[318] namely the working class, which must become conscious of the historical objectives set it by society.

Reform versus revolution

Revolutionary socialists believe that a social revolution is necessary to effect structural changes to the socioeconomic structure of society. Among revolutionary socialists there are differences in strategy, theory and the definition of “revolution”. Orthodox Marxists and left communists take an impossibilist stance, believing that revolution should be spontaneous as a result of contradictions in society due to technological changes in the productive forces. Lenin theorised that under capitalism the workers cannot achieve class consciousness beyond organising into unions and making demands of the capitalists. Therefore, Leninists advocate that it is historically necessary for a vanguard of class conscious revolutionaries to take a central role in coordinating the social revolution to overthrow the capitalist state and eventually the institution of the state altogether.[319] “Revolution” is not necessarily defined by revolutionary socialists as violent insurrection,[320] but as a complete dismantling and rapid transformation of all areas of class society led by the majority of the masses: the working class.

Reformism is generally associated with social democracy and gradualist democratic socialism. Reformism is the belief that socialists should stand in parliamentary elections within capitalist society and if elected utilise the machinery of government to pass political and social reforms for the purposes of ameliorating the instabilities and inequities of capitalism.

Economics

Socialist economics starts from the premise that “individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members”.[88]

The original conception of socialism was an economic system whereby production was organised in a way to directly produce goods and services for their utility (or use-value in classical and Marxian economics): the direct allocation of resources in terms of physical units as opposed to financial calculation and the economic laws of capitalism (see law of value), often entailing the end of capitalistic economic categories such as rent, interest, profit and money.[321] In a fully developed socialist economy, production and balancing factor inputs with outputs becomes a technical process to be undertaken by engineers.[322]

Market socialism refers to an array of different economic theories and systems that utilise the market mechanism to organise production and to allocate factor inputs among socially owned enterprises, with the economic surplus (profits) accruing to society in a social dividend as opposed to private capital owners.[323] Variations of market socialism include libertarian proposals such as mutualism, based on classical economics, and neoclassical economic models such as the Lange Model. However, some economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Mancur Olson and others not specifically advancing anti-socialists positions have shown that prevailing economic models upon which such democratic or market socialism models might be based have logical flaws or unworkable presuppositions.[324][325]

The ownership of the means of production can be based on direct ownership by the users of the productive property through worker cooperative; or commonly owned by all of society with management and control delegated to those who operate/use the means of production; or public ownership by a state apparatus. Public ownership may refer to the creation of state-owned enterprises, nationalisation, municipalisation or autonomous collective institutions. Some socialists feel that in a socialist economy, at least the “commanding heights” of the economy must be publicly owned.[326] However, economic liberals and right libertarians view private ownership of the means of production and the market exchange as natural entities or moral rights which are central to their conceptions of freedom and liberty and view the economic dynamics of capitalism as immutable and absolute, therefore they perceive public ownership of the means of production, cooperatives and economic planning as infringements upon liberty.[327][328]

Management and control over the activities of enterprises are based on self-management and self-governance, with equal power-relations in the workplace to maximise occupational autonomy. A socialist form of organisation would eliminate controlling hierarchies so that only a hierarchy based on technical knowledge in the workplace remains. Every member would have decision-making power in the firm and would be able to participate in establishing its overall policy objectives. The policies/goals would be carried out by the technical specialists that form the coordinating hierarchy of the firm, who would establish plans or directives for the work community to accomplish these goals.[329]

The role and use of money in a hypothetical socialist economy is a contested issue. According to the Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises, an economic system that does not use money, financial calculation and market pricing would be unable to effectively value capital goods and coordinate production and therefore these types of socialism are impossible because they lack the necessary information to perform economic calculation in the first place.[330][331] Socialists including Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and John Stuart Mill advocated various forms of labour vouchers or labour credits, which like money would be used to acquire articles of consumption, but unlike money they are unable to become capital and would not be used to allocate resources within the production process. Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky argued that money could not be arbitrarily abolished following a socialist revolution. Money had to exhaust its “historic mission”, meaning it would have to be used until its function became redundant, eventually being transformed into bookkeeping receipts for statisticians and only in the more distant future would money not be required for even that role.[332]

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil… I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilised in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Planned economy

A planned economy is a type of economy consisting of a mixture of public ownership of the means of production and the coordination of production and distribution through economic planning. There are two major types of planning: decentralised-planning and centralised-planning. Enrico Barone provided a comprehensive theoretical framework for a planned socialist economy. In his model, assuming perfect computation techniques, simultaneous equations relating inputs and outputs to ratios of equivalence would provide appropriate valuations in order to balance supply and demand.[334]

The most prominent example of a planned economy was the economic system of the Soviet Union and as such the centralised-planned economic model is usually associated with the communist states of the 20th century, where it was combined with a single-party political system. In a centrally planned economy, decisions regarding the quantity of goods and services to be produced are planned in advance by a planning agency (see also the analysis of Soviet-type economic planning). The economic systems of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc are further classified as “command economies”, which are defined as systems where economic coordination is undertaken by commands, directives and production targets.[335] Studies by economists of various political persuasions on the actual functioning of the Soviet economy indicate that it was not actually a planned economy. Instead of conscious planning, the Soviet economy was based on a process whereby the plan was modified by localised agents and the original plans went largely unfulfilled. Planning agencies, ministries and enterprises all adapted and bargained with each other during the formulation of the plan as opposed to following a plan passed down from a higher authority, leading some economists to suggest that planning did not actually take place within the Soviet economy and that a better description would be an “administered” or “managed” economy.[336]

Although central planning was largely supported by Marxist–Leninists, some factions within the Soviet Union before the rise of Stalinism held positions contrary to central planning. Leon Trotsky rejected central planning in favour of decentralised planning. He argued that central planners, regardless of their intellectual capacity, would be unable to coordinate effectively all economic activity within an economy because they operated without the input and tacit knowledge embodied by the participation of the millions of people in the economy. As a result, central planners would be unable to respond to local economic conditions.[337] State socialism is unfeasible in this view because information cannot be aggregated by a central body and effectively used to formulate a plan for an entire economy, because doing so would result in distorted or absent price signals.[338]

Self-managed economy

A self-managed, decentralised economy is based on autonomous self-regulating economic units and a decentralised mechanism of resource allocation and decision-making. This model has found support in notable classical and neoclassical economists including Alfred Marshall, John Stuart Mill and Jaroslav Vanek. There are numerous variations of self-management, including labour-managed firms and worker-managed firms. The goals of self-management are to eliminate exploitation and reduce alienation.[339] Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers’ control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds “in an implied contractual relationship with the public”.[340] It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century.[340] It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.

One such system is the cooperative economy, a largely free market economy in which workers manage the firms and democratically determine remuneration levels and labour divisions. Productive resources would be legally owned by the cooperative and rented to the workers, who would enjoy usufruct rights.[341] Another form of decentralised planning is the use of cybernetics, or the use of computers to manage the allocation of economic inputs. The socialist-run government of Salvador Allende in Chile experimented with Project Cybersyn, a real-time information bridge between the government, state enterprises and consumers.[342] Another, more recent variant is participatory economics, wherein the economy is planned by decentralised councils of workers and consumers. Workers would be remunerated solely according to effort and sacrifice, so that those engaged in dangerous, uncomfortable and strenuous work would receive the highest incomes and could thereby work less.[343] A contemporary model for a self-managed, non-market socialism is Pat Devine‘s model of negotiated coordination. Negotiated coordination is based upon social ownership by those affected by the use of the assets involved, with decisions made by those at the most localised level of production.[344]

Michel Bauwens identifies the emergence of the open software movement and peer-to-peer production as a new alternative mode of production to the capitalist economy and centrally planned economy that is based on collaborative self-management, common ownership of resources and the production of use-values through the free cooperation of producers who have access to distributed capital.[345]

Anarcho-communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, private property and capitalism in favour of common ownership of the means of production.[346][347] Anarcho-syndicalism was practised in Catalonia and other places in the Spanish Revolution during the Spanish Civil War. Sam Dolgoff estimated that about eight million people participated directly or at least indirectly in the Spanish Revolution.[348]

The economy of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia established a system based on market-based allocation, social ownership of the means of production and self-management within firms. This system substituted Yugoslavia’s Soviet-type central planning with a decentralised, self-managed system after reforms in 1953.[349]

The Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff argues that “re-organising production so that workers become collectively self-directed at their work-sites” not only moves society beyond both capitalism and state socialism of the last century, but would also mark another milestone in human history, similar to earlier transitions out of slavery and feudalism.[350] As an example, Wolff claims that Mondragon is “a stunningly successful alternative to the capitalist organisation of production”.[351]

State-directed economy

State socialism can be used to classify any variety of socialist philosophies that advocates the ownership of the means of production by the state apparatus, either as a transitional stage between capitalism and socialism, or as an end-goal in itself. Typically it refers to a form of technocratic management, whereby technical specialists administer or manage economic enterprises on behalf of society (and the public interest) instead of workers’ councils or workplace democracy.

A state-directed economy may refer to a type of mixed economy consisting of public ownership over large industries, as promoted by various Social democratic political parties during the 20th century. This ideology influenced the policies of the British Labour Party during Clement Attlee’s administration. In the biography of the 1945 United Kingdom Labour Party Prime Minister Clement Attlee, Francis Beckett states: “[T]he government… wanted what would become known as a mixed economy”.[352]

Nationalisation in the United Kingdom was achieved through compulsory purchase of the industry (i.e. with compensation). British Aerospace was a combination of major aircraft companies British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley and others. British Shipbuilders was a combination of the major shipbuilding companies including Cammell Laird, Govan Shipbuilders, Swan Hunter and Yarrow Shipbuilders, whereas the nationalisation of the coal mines in 1947 created a coal board charged with running the coal industry commercially so as to be able to meet the interest payable on the bonds which the former mine owners’ shares had been converted into.[353][354]

Market socialism

Market socialism consists of publicly owned or cooperatively owned enterprises operating in a market economy. It is a system that utilises the market and monetary prices for the allocation and accounting of the means of production, thereby retaining the process of capital accumulation. The profit generated would be used to directly remunerate employees, collectively sustain the enterprise or finance public institutions.[355] In state-oriented forms of market socialism, in which state enterprises attempt to maximise profit, the profits can be used to fund government programs and services through a social dividend, eliminating or greatly diminishing the need for various forms of taxation that exist in capitalist systems. Neoclassical economist Léon Walras believed that a socialist economy based on state ownership of land and natural resources would provide a means of public finance to make income taxes unnecessary.[356] Yugoslavia implemented a market socialist economy based on cooperatives and worker self-management.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, main theorist of mutualism and influential French socialist thinker

Mutualism is an economic theory and anarchist school of thought that advocates a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labour in the free market.[357] Integral to the scheme was the establishment of a mutual-credit bank that would lend to producers at a minimal interest rate, just high enough to cover administration.[358] Mutualism is based on a labour theory of value that holds that when labour or its product is sold, in exchange it ought to receive goods or services embodying “the amount of labour necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility”.[359]

The current economic system in China is formally referred to as a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics. It combines a large state sector that comprises the commanding heights of the economy, which are guaranteed their public ownership status by law,[360] with a private sector mainly engaged in commodity production and light industry responsible from anywhere between 33%[361] to over 70% of GDP generated in 2005.[362] Although there has been a rapid expansion of private-sector activity since the 1980s, privatisation of state assets was virtually halted and were partially reversed in 2005.[363] The current Chinese economy consists of 150 corporatised state-owned enterprises that report directly to China’s central government.[364] By 2008, these state-owned corporations had become increasingly dynamic and generated large increases in revenue for the state,[365][366] resulting in a state-sector led recovery during the 2009 financial crises while accounting for most of China’s economic growth.[367] However, the Chinese economic model is widely cited as a contemporary form of state capitalism, the major difference between Western capitalism and the Chinese model being the degree of state-ownership of shares in publicly listed corporations.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has adopted a similar model after the Doi Moi economic renovation, but slightly differs from the Chinese model in that the Vietnamese government retains firm control over the state sector and strategic industries, but allows for private-sector activity in commodity production.[368]

Politics

Socialists in Union Square, New York City on May Day 1912

The major socialist political movements are described below. Independent socialist theorists, utopian socialist authors and academic supporters of socialism may not be represented in these movements. Some political groups have called themselves socialist while holding views that some consider antithetical to socialism. The term “socialist” has also been used by some politicians on the political right as an epithet against certain individuals who do not consider themselves to be socialists and against policies that are not considered socialist by their proponents.

There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism. However, there have been common elements identified by scholars.[369] In his Dictionary of Socialism (1924), Angelo S. Rappoport analysed forty definitions of socialism to conclude that common elements of socialism include: general criticisms of the social effects of private ownership and control of capital—as being the cause of poverty, low wages, unemployment, economic and social inequality and a lack of economic security; a general view that the solution to these problems is a form of collective control over the means of production, distribution and exchange (the degree and means of control vary amongst socialist movements); an agreement that the outcome of this collective control should be a society based upon social justice, including social equality, economic protection of people and should provide a more satisfying life for most people.[370] In The Concepts of Socialism (1975), Bhikhu Parekh identifies four core principles of socialism and particularly socialist society: sociality, social responsibility, cooperation and planning.[371] In his study Ideologies and Political Theory (1996), Michael Freeden states that all socialists share five themes: the first is that socialism posits that society is more than a mere collection of individuals; second, that it considers human welfare a desirable objective; third, that it considers humans by nature to be active and productive; fourth, it holds the belief of human equality; and fifth, that history is progressive and will create positive change on the condition that humans work to achieve such change.[371]

Anarchism

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies often defined as self-governed voluntary institutions,[372][373][374][375] but that several authors have defined as more specific institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations.[376][377][378][379] Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary or harmful.[380][381] While anti-statism is central, some argue[382] that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of human relations including, but not limited to, the state system.[376][383][384][385][386][387][388] Mutualists advocate market socialism, collectivist anarchists workers cooperatives and salaries based on the amount of time contributed to production, anarcho-communists advocate a direct transition from capitalism to libertarian communism and a gift economy and anarcho-syndicalists worker’s direct action and the general strike.

Democratic socialism

Modern democratic socialism is a broad political movement that seeks to promote the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic system. Some democratic socialists support social democracy as a temporary measure to reform the current system while others reject reformism in favour of more revolutionary methods. Modern social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative modification of capitalism in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way. The two movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology, although there are a few key differences.

The major difference between social democracy and democratic socialism is the object of their politics: contemporary social democrats support a welfare state and unemployment insurance as a means to “humanise” capitalism, whereas democratic socialists seek to replace capitalism with a socialist economic system, arguing that any attempt to “humanise” capitalism through regulations and welfare policies would distort the market and create economic contradictions.[389]

Democratic socialism generally refers to any political movement that seeks to establish an economy based on economic democracy by and for the working class. Democratic socialism is difficult to define and groups of scholars have radically different definitions for the term. Some definitions simply refer to all forms of socialism that follow an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary one.[390]

You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.

Leninism and precedents

Blanquism refers to a conception of revolution generally attributed to Louis Auguste Blanqui which holds that socialist revolution should be carried out by a relatively small group of highly organised and secretive conspirators.[394] Having seized power, the revolutionaries would then use the power of the state to introduce socialism. It is considered a particular sort of “putschism”—that is, the view that political revolution should take the form of a putsch or coup d’état.[395] Rosa Luxemburg and Eduard Bernstein[396] have criticised Vladimir Lenin that his conception of revolution was elitist and essentially Blanquist.[397] Marxism–Leninism is a political ideology combining Marxism (the scientific socialist concepts theorised by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) and Leninism (Lenin’s theoretical expansions of Marxism which include anti-imperialism, democratic centralism and party-building principles).[398] Marxism–Leninism was the official ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of the Communist International (1919–1943) and later it became the main guiding ideology for Trotskyists, Maoists and Stalinists.

Libertarian socialism

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social and it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque,[399] the first recorded person to describe himself as “libertarian”[400]

Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism,[401][402] left-libertarianism[403][404] and socialist libertarianism)[405] is a group of anti-authoritarian[406] political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralised state ownership and control of the economy[407] including criticism of wage labour relationships within the workplace,[408] as well as the state itself.[409] It emphasises workers’ self-management of the workplace[409] and decentralised structures of political organisation,[410] asserting that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite.[411] Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralised means of direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens’ assemblies, trade unions, and workers’ councils.[412][413] Relatedly, anarcho-syndicalist Gaston Leval explained: “We therefore foresee a Society in which all activities will be coordinated, a structure that has, at the same time, sufficient flexibility to permit the greatest possible autonomy for social life, or for the life of each enterprise, and enough cohesiveness to prevent all disorder…In a well-organised society, all of these things must be systematically accomplished by means of parallel federations, vertically united at the highest levels, constituting one vast organism in which all economic functions will be performed in solidarity with all others and that will permanently preserve the necessary cohesion”. All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian[414] and voluntary human relationships[415] through the identification, criticism and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life.[420] As such, libertarian socialism within the larger socialist movement seeks to distinguish itself both from Leninism/Bolshevism and from social democracy.[421]

Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism (especially anarchist communism, anarchist collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism[422] and mutualism)[423] as well as autonomism, Communalism, participism, revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism;[424] as well as some versions of utopian socialism[425] and individualist anarchism.[426][427][428]

Religious socialism

Christian socialism is a broad concept involving an intertwining of the Christian religion with the politics and economic theories of socialism.

Islamic socialism is a term coined by various Muslim leaders to describe a more spiritual form of socialism. Muslim socialists believe that the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad are compatible with principles of equality and public ownership drawing inspiration from the early Medina welfare state established by Muhammad. Muslim socialists are more conservative than their western contemporaries and find their roots in anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and Arab nationalism. Islamic socialist leaders believe in democracy and deriving legitimacy from public mandate as opposed to religious texts.

Social democracy and liberal socialism

Social democracy is a political ideology which “is derived from a socialist tradition of political thought. Many social democrats refer to themselves as socialists or democratic socialists, and some, for example Tony Blair, use or have used these terms interchangeably.[429][430][431] Others have opined that there are clear differences between the three terms, and preferred to describe their own political beliefs by using the term ‘social democracy’ only”.[432] There are two main directions, either to establish democratic socialism, or to build a welfare state within the framework of the capitalist system. The first variant has officially its goal by establishing democratic socialism through reformist and gradualist methods.[433] In the second variant, social democracy becomes a policy regime involving a welfare state, collective bargaining schemes, support for publicly financed public services and a capitalist-based economy like a mixed economy. It is often used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in Western and Northern Europe during the later half of the 20th century.[434][435] It has been described by Jerry Mander as “hybrid” economics, an active collaboration of capitalist and socialist visions and while such systems are not perfect they tend to provide high standards of living.[436] Numerous studies and surveys indicate that people tend to live happier lives in social democratic societies rather than neoliberal ones.[437][438][439][440]

Social democrats supporting the first variant advocate for a peaceful, evolutionary transition of the economy to socialism through progressive social reform of capitalism.[441][442] It asserts that the only acceptable constitutional form of government is representative democracy under the rule of law.[443] It promotes extending democratic decision-making beyond political democracy to include economic democracy to guarantee employees and other economic stakeholders sufficient rights of co-determination.[443] It supports a mixed economy that opposes the excesses of capitalism such as inequality, poverty and oppression of various groups, while rejecting both a totally free market or a fully planned economy.[444] Common social democratic policies include advocacy of universal social rights to attain universally accessible public services such as education, health care, workers’ compensation and other services, including child care and care for the elderly.[445] Social democracy is connected with the trade union labour movement and supports collective bargaining rights for workers.[446] Most social democratic parties are affiliated with the Socialist International.[433]

Liberal socialism is a socialist political philosophy that includes liberal principles within it.[447] Liberal socialism does not have the goal of abolishing capitalism with a socialist economy,[448] instead it supports a mixed economy that includes both public and private property in capital goods.[449][450] Although liberal socialism unequivocally favours a mixed market economy, it identifies legalistic and artificial monopolies to be the fault of capitalism[451] and opposes an entirely unregulated economy.[452] It considers both liberty and equality to be compatible and mutually dependent on each other.[447] Principles that can be described as “liberal socialist” have been based upon or developed by the following philosophers: John Stuart Mill, Eduard Bernstein, John Dewey, Carlo Rosselli, Norberto Bobbio and Chantal Mouffe.[453] Other important liberal socialist figures include Guido Calogero, Piero Gobetti, Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, John Maynard Keynes and R. H. Tawney.[452] Liberal socialism has been particularly prominent in British and Italian politics.[452]

Socialism and modern progressive social movements

Socialist feminist Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg in 1910

Socialist feminism is a branch of feminism that focuses upon both the public and private spheres of a woman’s life and argues that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women’s oppression.[454] Marxist feminism‘s foundation is laid by Friedrich Engels in his analysis of gender oppression in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). August Bebel‘s Woman under Socialism (1879), the “single work dealing with sexuality most widely read by rank-and-file members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)”.[455] In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both Clara Zetkin and Eleanor Marx were against the demonisation of men and supported a proletariat revolution that would overcome as many male-female inequalities as possible.[456] As their movement already had the most radical demands in women’s equality, most Marxist leaders, including Clara Zetkin[457][458] and Alexandra Kollontai,[459][460] counterposed Marxism against liberal feminism rather than trying to combine them. Anarcha-feminism began with late 19th and early 20th century authors and theorists such as anarchist feminists Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre[461] In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres (“Free Women”) linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organised to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas.[462] In 1972, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union published “Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement”, which is believed to be the first to use the term “socialist feminism” in publication.[463]

Edward Carpenter, philosopher and activist who was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party as well as in the early LGBTI western movements

Many socialists were early advocates for LGBT rights. For early socialist Charles Fourier, true freedom could only occur without suppressing passions, as the suppression of passions is not only destructive to the individual, but to society as a whole. Writing before the advent of the term “homosexuality”, Fourier recognised that both men and women have a wide range of sexual needs and preferences which may change throughout their lives, including same-sex sexuality and androgénité. He argued that all sexual expressions should be enjoyed as long as people are not abused and that “affirming one’s difference” can actually enhance social integration.[464] In Oscar Wilde‘s The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he passionately advocates for an egalitarian society where wealth is shared by all, while warning of the dangers of social systems that crush individuality. Wilde’s libertarian socialist politics were shared by other figures who actively campaigned for homosexual emancipation in the late 19th century such as Edward Carpenter.[465] The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women was a book from 1908 and an early work arguing for gay liberation written by Edward Carpenter[466] who was also an influential personality in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. After the Russian Revolution under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the Soviet Union abolished previous laws against homosexuality.[467] Harry Hay was an early leader in the American LGBT rights movement as well as a member of the Communist Party USA. He is known for his roles in helping to found several gay organisations, including the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States which in its early days had a strong Marxist influence. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality reports that “[a]s Marxists the founders of the group believed that the injustice and oppression which they suffered stemmed from relationships deeply embedded in the structure of American society”.[468] Also emerging from a number of events, such as the May 1968 insurrection in France, the anti-Vietnam war movement in the United States and the Stonewall riots of 1969, militant gay liberation organisations began to spring up around the world. Many saw their roots in left radicalism more than in the established homophile groups of the time,[469] though the Gay Liberation Front took an anti-capitalist stance and attacked the nuclear family and traditional gender roles.[470]

Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is a political position merging aspects of Marxism, socialism and/or libertarian socialism with that of green politics, ecology and alter-globalisation. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty, war and environmental degradation through globalisation and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures.[471] Contrary to the depiction of Karl Marx by some environmentalists,[472] social ecologists[473] and fellow socialists[474] as a productivist who favoured the domination of nature, eco-socialists have revisited Marx’s writings and believe that he “was a main originator of the ecological world-view”.[475] Eco-socialist authors, like John Bellamy Foster[476] and Paul Burkett,[477] point to Marx’s discussion of a “metabolic rift” between man and nature, his statement that “private ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite absurd as private ownership of one man by another” and his observation that a society must “hand it [the planet] down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”.[478] The English socialist William Morris is largely credited with developing key principles of what was later called eco-socialism.[479] During the 1880s and 1890s, Morris promoted his eco-socialist ideas within the Social Democratic Federation and Socialist League.[480] Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden[481] and Élisée Reclus.[482][483]

In the late 19th century, there emerged anarcho-naturism as the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in France, Spain, Cuba[484] and Portugal.[485] Social ecology is closely related to the work and ideas of Murray Bookchin and influenced by anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Bookchin’s first book, Our Synthetic Environment, was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber in 1962, a few months before Rachel Carson‘s Silent Spring.[486] His groundbreaking essay “Ecology and Revolutionary Thought” introduced ecology as a concept in radical politics.[487] In the 1970s, Barry Commoner, suggesting a left-wing response to the Limits to Growth model that predicted catastrophic resource depletion and spurred environmentalism, postulated that capitalist technologies were chiefly responsible for environmental degradation as opposed to population pressures.[488] The 1990s saw the socialist feminists Mary Mellor[489] and Ariel Salleh[490] address environmental issues within an eco-socialist paradigm. With the rising profile of the anti-globalisation movement in the Global South, an “environmentalism of the poor” combining ecological awareness and social justice has also become prominent.[491] In 1994, David Pepper also released his important work, Ecosocialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice, which critiques the current approach of many within green politics, particularly deep ecologists.[492] Currently, many green parties around the world, such as the Dutch Green Left Party (GroenLinks), contain strong eco-socialist elements. Radical red-green alliances have been formed in many countries by eco-socialists, radical greens and other radical left groups. In Denmark, the Red-Green Alliance was formed as a coalition of numerous radical parties. Within the European Parliament, a number of far-left parties from Northern Europe have organised themselves into the Nordic Green Left Alliance.

Syndicalism

Syndicalism is a social movement that operates through industrial trade unions and rejects state socialism and the use of establishment politics to establish or promote socialism. They reject using state power to construct a socialist society, favouring strategies such as the general strike. Syndicalists advocate a socialist economy based on federated unions or syndicates of workers who own and manage the means of production. Some Marxist currents advocate syndicalism, such as De-Leonism. Anarcho-syndicalism is a theory of anarchism which views syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and with that control influence broader society. The Spanish Revolution largely orchestrated by the anarcho-syndicalist trade union CNT during the Spanish Civil War offers an historical example.[493] The International Workers’ Association is an international federation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions and initiatives.

Criticism

See also

Notes …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

 

 

Story 2: Progressive Socialist Democrats Want To Impeach Trump — Speaker Pelosi Calls For Meeting To Discuss Fake Impeachment Vs. Real Impreachment — Please Impeach and Lose The House By 30 Plus Seats — Videos.

Nancy Pelosi calls for special meeting with House Democrats to discuss party views on impeachment

Democrats’ Impeachment Divide Tests Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a weekly news conference on May 16 on Capitol Hill. Pelosi is dealing with rising calls for impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Updated at 4:19 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convene a meeting Wednesday morning to hear from Democrats on whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Pelosi, a public skeptic of impeachment, is confronting a rising tide of support for it among rank-and-file House Democrats and members of her own leadership team. Democrats are outraged by the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to stymie congressional oversight into the president, his administration, and the findings in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

“She’s hearing the views of the caucus, and listening to different perspectives and we’re having that debate,” said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who is running for president. Moulton supports opening an impeachment inquiry based on the argument being made by a number of Democrats that it gives the House a stronger legal hand in securing documents, testimony and cooperation from the Trump administration.

“I don’t think there’s any question but there’s a growing realization in the caucus that impeachment is inevitable. It’s not a question of if but when,” said Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., a member of the leadership’s whip team. Yarmuth said the administration’s “blanket resistance” to their oversight efforts is changing the calculation. “I think the speaker is right that these investigations need to go on. I don’t think they should go on interminably,” he said, adding that he expected a decision on impeachment to be made by the end of the summer.

Yarmuth and other top leaders have characterized those pushing for impeachment as a small but growing minority dissatisfied with Pelosi’s focus on traditional committee investigations. The group largely confined their frustrations to closed-door sessions until recently.

“I think what is happening is that the initial aim was to investigate and then see what we had. The problem is we can’t get any information. The president is blocking us,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said. “I think we’re in a position where we’re moving more and more towards [impeachment] because he’s not leaving us with any choices. You don’t have any choices.”

Cummings maintained that moving ahead with impeachment could assist their efforts. “Once you file for impeachment you’re under a whole new different set of rules. And you have a much broader opportunity to get things.”

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary Committee and party leadership who supports moving forward with impeachment, said “the principal reason” to do so was to send a message to the administration and the public. “There’s no question that opening impeachment conveys to all the relevant parties the seriousness of the inquiry. I think we still have the ability to get all the documents and the witnesses that we need under our traditional oversight responsibilities,” he said, adding, “It’s important to communicate a very strong message to the administration, and opening a formal inquiry is a good way to communicate that message.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., downplayed the internal turmoil, telling reporters Tuesday: “I disagree with the notion that a growing number of the House Democratic Caucus want to jump straight to impeachment,” he said. However, he said, Democrats have a “responsibility to serve as a check and balance on an out-of-control executive branch.”

Trump’s latest efforts to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, and McGahn’s refusal to appear, are the latest affront to Congress prompting Democrats to reconsider their strategy. “We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other,” Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said at the hearing.

Citing executive privilege, the administration has also blocked congressional demands for an unredacted copy of Mueller’s report, which Attorney General William Barr declined to deliver to the Judiciary Committee. Barr was held in contempt by the committee, but a full House vote is not yet scheduled.

On another front, the administration is refusing to comply with Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s request for six years of the president’s tax returns, which tax law gives the chairman legal authority to access.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., one of the first House Democrats to call for Trump’s impeachment, said those tactics from the administration are accelerating the impeachment push.

“I think many members are a little bit shocked and surprised that the president would be this blatant in instructing those in the administration and outside the administration not to come and testify,” Waters said. “I think what he’s trying to do and I think what they think he’s trying to do is render us toothless and say we’re not that important.”

While Democrats are waging the battle against the administration in the courts — andthe courts have historically favored Congress in these cases — it can take months or years to reach final legal conclusions, and Democrats believe Trump is using these court fights as a delaying tactic to get past the 2020 elections.

House Democrats did score a significant legal victory on Monday when federal Judge Amit Mehta ruled that an accounting company, Mazars, must comply with a subpoena issued by Cummings. Trump said hours later that there would be an appeal, and on Tuesday morning papers were filed to continue that fight.

Waters said she was pleased that the judge agreed with the Democrats’ argument in that case, but that process would be lengthy and does not absolve Congress from its responsibility to act.

Politically, Democrats remain in the same bind. Pelosi’s stated threshold for “overwhelming and bipartisan” support to move forward with impeachment hasn’t budged. While most Democrats want impeachment hearings to begin, the idea is still unpopular overall, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

“What about just doing the right thing?” Moulton said, when asked about the political calculus for Democrats.

That question is causing anxiety among some members ahead of the coming Memorial Day break. Some worry they will face angry constituents who want proof that Democrats are holding Trump accountable while still delivering on promises to create jobs and improve health care.

The tension has created a political headache for people like Cicilline, the head of the Democrats’ messaging team.

“I think delivering on those promises to improve the economic lives of the American people is our first priority,” Cicilline said. “I think Democrats are also united that we need to hold this administration accountable and that we need to demonstrate that no one in this country, including the president, is above the law. While there might be some different ideas about what’s the best vehicle to do that, we are united on those principles.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/21/725356771/democrats-impeachment-divide-tests-pelosi

 

 

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Story 1: Breaking News — Islamic Republic of Iran Don’t Mess With United States or Your Toast — Videos

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

~President Trump

The US Versus Iran

Trump: I don’t want war with Iran

Trump warns Iran not to threaten the US again

Hannah: U.S. launched a major form of economic warfare against Iran

What is going on with Iran?

Iran’s oil production cut drastically by US sanctions: Kevin Book

President Trump: Iran might be confused about U.S. military plans – ENN 2019-05-17

Iran regime is beginning to panic: National security analyst

Graham: We’re going to bring the Iranian regime down

The Heat: US-Iran sanctions

HOW THE U.S. MILITARY WOULD STRIKE IRAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW || RHINO 2019

U.S vs IRAN – WHY IRAIN WON’T LAST EVEN A FEW DAYS IN A WAR WITH THE U.S ?

US vs Iran – Strait of Hormuz

Former US official Blinken: ‘Getting out of the Iran nuclear agreement was a mistake’

Iran nuclear deal: How have US sanctions impacted the economy?

U.S. tightens sanctions on Iranian oil

US sanctions are already being felt by Iran: John Bolton

Trump clashes with EU over Iran sanctions

 

 

Reports: Iran quadruples production of enriched uranium

an hour ago
1 of 7
ADDS LOCATION – In this Sunday, May 19, 2019, photo released by the U.S. Navy, the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic transports cargo to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment-at-sea in the Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s atomic program, nuclear officials said Monday, just after President Donald Trump and Iran’s foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter.

Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what’s needed for an atomic weapon.

But by increasing production, Iran soon will go beyond the stockpile limitations set by the accord. Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Middle East already on edge. The Trump administration has deployed bombers and an aircraft carrier to the region over still-unspecified threats from Iran.

Already this month, officials in the United Arab Emirates alleged that four oil tankers were damaged in a sabotage attack; Yemeni rebels allied with Iran launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia; and U.S. diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.

A rocket landed Sunday near the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone of Iraq’s capital of Baghdad, days after nonessential U.S. staff were ordered to evacuate from diplomatic posts in the country. No one was reported injured. Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that the rocket was believed to have been fired from eastern Baghdad, an area home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.

The Iranian enrichment announcement came after local journalists traveled to Natanz in central Iran, the country’s underground enrichment facility. There, an unidentified nuclear scientist gave a statement with a surgical cap and a mask covering most of his face. No one explained his choice of outfit, although Israel is suspected of carrying out a campaign targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.

The state-run IRNA news agency later quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as acknowledging that capacity had been quadrupled. He said Iran took this step because the U.S. had ended a program allowing it to exchange enriched uranium to Russia for unprocessed yellowcake uranium, as well as ending the sale of heavy water to Oman. Heavy water helps cool reactors producing plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons.

Before Iran’s announcement, Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Trump’s remarks reflect what has been a strategy of alternating tough talk with more conciliatory statements he says is aimed at keeping Iran guessing at the administration’s intentions. He also has said he hopes Iran calls him and engages in negotiations.

He described his approach in a speech Friday, saying, “It’s probably a good thing because they’re saying, ‘Man, I don’t know where these people are coming from,’ right?”

But while Trump’s approach of flattery and threats has become a hallmark of his foreign policy, the risks have only grown in dealing with Iran, where mistrust between Tehran and Washington stretch back four decades. While both Washington and Tehran say they don’t seek war, many worry any miscalculation could spiral out of control.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif soon responded by tweeting that Trump had been “goaded” into “genocidal taunts.” Zarif referenced both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan as two historical leaders that Persia outlasted.

“Iranians have stood tall for a millennia while aggressors all gone,” he wrote. “Try respect – it works!”

Zarif also used the hashtag #NeverThreatenAnIranian, a reference to a comment he made during intense negotiations for the 2016 nuclear accord.

Trump campaigned on pulling the U.S. from the deal, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Since Trump withdrew America a year ago from the pact, the U.S. has re-imposed previous sanctions and come up with new ones, as well as warning other nations they would be subject to sanctions as well if they import Iranian oil.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told journalists in Geneva that Iran should not doubt the U.S. resolve, warning that “if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate.”

“We want the situation to de-escalate because this is a part of the world where things can get triggered accidentally,” Hunt said.

Meanwhile, Oman’s minister of state for foreign affairs made a previously unannounced visit Monday to Tehran, seeing Zarif, the state-run IRNA news agency said. The visit by Yusuf bin Alawi comes after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said last week. Oman long has served as a Western backchannel to Tehran and the sultanate hosted the secret talks between the U.S. and Iran that laid the groundwork for the nuclear deal negotiations.

In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s military intercepted two missiles fired by the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. The missiles were intercepted over the city of Taif and the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, the Saudi-owned satellite channel Al-Arabiya reported, citing witnesses. The Saudi Embassy in Washington later confirmed the interceptions.

Hundreds of rockets, mortar rounds and ballistic missiles have been fired into the kingdom by the rebels since a Saudi-led coalition declared war on the Houthis in March 2015 to support Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

The Houthis’ Al-Masirah satellite news channel denied that the rebels had any involvement with this round of rocket fire.

Between the two targeted cities is Mecca, home to the cube-shaped Kaaba that Muslims pray toward five times a day. Many religious pilgrims are in the city for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Bassem Mroue in Baghdad, Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed.

US would need ‘one million soldiers’ to invade Iran, warns Brit admiral

US FORCES would need at least one million soldiers to defeat and occupy Iran in what could be another Iraq War-style quagmire, a top Brit admiral has warned.

US would win war against Iran in ‘two strikes’ says Senator

Iran and the US have been at loggerheads in recent weeks as Washington dispatched warships and warplanes to the region citing “credible threats’” from Tehran.Admiral Lord West – the former First Sea Lord of the Royal navy – gave a dire assessment of the potential conflict as tempers flare int he Middle East.He told Daily Star Online the US would need at least one million troops to successfully pacify Iran, and a half-baked attack could throw the region further into chaos. The 50-year Royal Navy veteran warned “idiots” in both the US and Iran are dangerously hyping tensions. It comes amid disputed reports the US is dusting off Iraq War-era plans to deploy 120,000 troops to the region.He urged the West to do more to come to the table with Iran or face the possibility of a “nuclear war in the Middle East”.

Iran is restarting its missile programme in response to US sanctions would started a new arms race with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the admiral warned.

“You would need a million men”

Admiral Lord West

Admiral Lord West told Daily Star Online: “I think Donald Trump himself doesn’t want there to be a conflict – but there are powerful factions in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US who believe an attack would be a good thing.

“This includes John Bolton. They think they would destroy the Iranian armed forces, there would be regime change, and all the garden would be rosy.

“The only problem with that is – they would be completely wrong.”

He added: “They don’t want to invade Iran, they went there to be a nice fold over into a new regime.

“And if you don’t get that, then you get this hostile regime causing mayhem in the region with terrorist proxies and missiles.

“Invading Iran, taking it over, and then coercing into becoming a different sort of country, you would need a million men. “

Iranian soldiers BREAKING POINT: Iran has accused the US of waging a ‘psychological war’ on them (Pic: GETTY)
Admiral West – who was the last man to leave the sinking HMS Ardent during the Falklands War – described sabre rattling from both sides as “extremely dangerous”. US forces have sent aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a group of B-52 bombers to the Middle East as they publicly cite an imminent danger posed by Iran.British general Chris Ghika undermined the US warnings on Iran, saying there is “no increased threat” – as Washington evacuated “non-emergency” staff from its missions in Iraq. US Central Command however contradicted Major General Ghia – saying his comments “run counter to identified credible threats available to intelligence from the US and allies”.Tehran has reportedly moved missile boats in the Persian Gulf, and the US suspect the regime of being behind sabotage attacks on four oil tankers. Royal Navy hero Admiral West said while Iran is a “bloody nuisance” – US politicians are making a mistake in thinking it would a “quick war” like “lancing a boil”.
USS Abraham LincolnRING OF STEEL: USS Abraham Lincoln and her strike group have moved into the Middle East (Pic: GETTY)
https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/779762/iran-us-war-invasion-middle-east-warships-bombers-donald-trump-john-bolton-admiral-west

United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

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On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.[1][2][3][4]

Unofficially known as the “Iran Deal” or the “Iran Nuclear Deal”, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program reached in July 2015 by Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChinaFranceRussiaUnited KingdomUnited States—plus Germany)[5][6] and the European Union. In a joint statement responding to the U.S. withdrawal, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom stated that United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal remained the “binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute”.[7]

The withdrawal caused concerns in Iran due to its impact on the economy.[8] The withdrawal was praised by American conservatives in the United States, who saw the deal as weak.[9][10] Others in the US, including former president Barack Obama and his vice president Joe Biden, criticized the decision, while various European countries that were signatories, including the UK, France, and Germany, expressed regret at the decision.[11][12]

On 17 May 2018 the European Commission announced its intention to implement the blocking statute of 1996 to declare the US sanctions against Iran illegal in Europe and ban European citizens and companies from complying with them. The commission also instructed the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies’ investment in Iran.[13][14][15]

 

Background

In July 2015, an agreement was concluded with IranChinaFranceGermanyRussia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. It provided that Iran’s nuclear activities would be limited in exchange for reduced sanctions.[16] According to the JCPOA, every 90 days the President of the United States would certify, among other things, that Iran was adhering to the terms of the agreement.[17] Leading up to the United States’ withdrawal, the IAEA asserted that its inspectors had verified that Iran had implemented its nuclear-related commitments since the agreement.[18] Describing the view of the U.S. State Department, assistant secretary for legislative affairs Julia Frifield wrote, “The JCPOA is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1, and the EU.”[19]

With the conclusion of the agreement, then-candidate Donald Trump made the renegotiation of the JCPOA one of his main foreign affairs campaign promises,[20] saying at a campaign rally that “this deal, if I win, will be a totally different deal.”[21] Trump described the Iran deal as a “disaster”,[22] “the worst deal ever”,[22] and so “terrible” that could lead to “a nuclear holocaust”.[22][23]

The Trump administration certified in April 2017 and in July 2017 that Iran was complying with the deal.[24][25] On October 13, 2017, Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, on the basis that the suspension of sanctions was not “proportionate and appropriate,” but stopped short of terminating the deal.[26]

International context

The JCPOA ended some of the sanctions on Iran while suspending others, subject to waivers. These include waivers of oil sanctions implemented in January 2012, which require periodic re-certification. Throughout 2017 Trump contemplated not re-certifying, and thus effectively pulling out of the deal.[27] According to Jarrett Blanc of the Obama administration, since the JCPOA is not a treaty but an agreement between several countries, it has no formal provisions for withdrawal, but a member of the deal could stop complying with its obligations.[27]

Following Trump’s denial of the deal, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the JCPOA was a firm decision and that no single country could break it. She proposed a “collective process” to preserve the deal, saying, “This deal is not a bilateral agreement … The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place.”[28] French President Emmanuel Macron warned Trump not to withdraw from the deal, and told German magazine Der Spiegel that doing so “would open the Pandora’s box. There could be war.”[29] The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, wrote that America’s reputation as a major power would be undermined in the eyes of the world if it reneged on a deal simply because of a transition in government.[30]

Political influences and decisions

Some reports suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s “Iran Lied” presentation influenced the withdrawal.[31][32] A little more than a week after Netanyahu’s presentation, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal.[33][32] He announced the withdrawal during a speech at the White House on May 8, 2018, saying, “the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction: that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program.”[34] Trump added that there was “definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents — long concealed by Iran — conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.”[34] According to Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the agency tasked with verifying and monitoring Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, Iran has been in compliance with the JCPOA and there is no evidence otherwise.[35][36][37][38] According to David Makovsky, a Middle East scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Iran was not in compliance, because under the deal’s terms Iran was supposed to reveal all of its research into nuclear weapons, and that based on Netanyahu’s evidence, “it seems clear that they did not.”[39]

Role of George Nader

In March 2018, The New York Times reported that George Nader, a lobbyist for the UAE, turned Trump’s major fundraiser Elliott Broidy “into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates…High on the agenda of the two men…was pushing the White House to remove Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson“, a top defender of the Iran deal in the Trump administration, and “backing confrontational approaches to Iran and Qatar”.[40] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) was critical of the deal, though he later said he wanted to “save” it. A “trove of hacked emails” show that FDD was also funded by George Nader through Elliott Broidy.[41]

Announcement

Trump announces United States withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018.

At 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.[42] He called the agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”[42] and added, “[i]t didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”[42]

Reactions

Support

  •  United States:
    • The Republican Party (GOP) supported Trump’s decision to withdraw.[43]
    • US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that Trump “absolutely made the right decision”.[2]
    • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the deal was “deeply flawed” and that “Iran’s hostile actions since its signing have only reaffirmed that it remains dedicated to sowing instability in the region.” [44]
    • Senator Lindsey Graham “strongly” supported the decision, and added that Trump “made a strong and convincing case for this position.” [44]
    • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the withdrawal.[45]
    • National Security Adviser John Bolton supported the decision.[45]
    • Former Vice President Dick Cheney supported the withdrawal.[46]
  •  Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a live televised address shortly after the announcement of U.S. withdrawal, said, “Israel fully supports President Trump’s bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.”[47]

Opposition

  • Secretary-General António Guterres said he is “deeply concerned by [the] announcement that the United States will be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and will begin reinstating US sanctions”.[48]
  •  United States:
    • The Democratic Party criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw.[43]
    • Former President Barack Obama said “the deal was working and it was in US interests.”[2][49]
    • Former Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US should have preserved the deal.[2]
    • Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice said it was a “foolish decision”.[50]
    • Former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the withdrawal was a “major strategic mistake”.[51]
    • Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said the decision was “a reckless strategic mistake of immense consequence”.[51]
    • Former Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said the disavowal was “reckless and one of the most serious mistakes of his presidency”.[51]
    • Former NSA Director, Former CIA Director, retired USAF four-star General Michael Hayden said that “Iran is further away from a weapon with this deal than they would be without it”.[52]
    • Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders criticized the decision: “Trump’s speech today was the latest in a series of reckless decisions that move our country closer to conflict.”[53]
    • Harvard political scientist Gary Samore said that if “President Trump thinks he can crash the nuclear deal, reimpose international economic sanctions, and force Iran to negotiate a better deal, he is mistaken”.[51]
    • Harvard political scientist Graham T. Allison said that it was “a bad choice for the U.S. and bad choice for our ally Israel”.[51]
    • Harvard political scientist Matthew Bunn said that Trump had freed Iran to build up its ability to make nuclear bomb material.[51]
    • Harvard political scientist Stephen Walt said it was Trump’s “most consequential foreign-policy blunder”.[54]
    • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated his longstanding support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, 5/16/2018 [55]
  •  Iran: In an official statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that they were extremely concerned that the United States was repeatedly acting contrary to the opinion of the majority of states and exclusively in its own narrow-minded and opportunistic interests, in flagrant violation of international law.[56]
  •  ChinaChina’s Special Envoy on the Middle East IssueGong Xiaosheng stated that the People’s Republic of China would continue to preserve and implement the comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, saying that ‘dialogue is better than confrontation’.[56]
  •  France:
    • Former French President François Hollande said that Donald Trump’s personality was driven by “its cynicism, its vulgarity and its egocentricity” and, therefore, the only thing he wanted was “to tear up the deal”.[57]
    • The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, expressed concern about the political stability of the region, but reaffirmed that the deal was not dead despite the American withdrawal.[56]
    • Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius said the withdrawal was “extremely dangerous for the stability of the Middle East”.[58]
  •  United Kingdom:
    • Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Iran deal was “so much better” than any alternative.[59]
    • Former UK Secretary for Foreign Affairs William Hague said that leaving the Iran deal was “a great error”.[60]
  •  Israel – Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Trump’s decision made the world “more uncertain”.[61]
  •  Austria – Jan KickertAustrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, denounced as “wrong and unjustifiable” a move by the U.S. administration to decertify Iran’s compliance with the Iran deal.[62][63]

Diplomatic consequences

Supporting countries

  •  Israel‘s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the withdrawal a “brave decision and it is a ‘bold’ withdrawal from a ‘disastrous’ deal”.[64]
  •  UAE Foreign Ministry has announced support for the decision.[65]
  •  Bahrain‘s government issued a statement welcoming the withdrawal.[66]
  •  Yemen‘s government announced its full support for the decision.[67]
  •  Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry stated that “Iran used economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to continue its activities to destabilize the region, particularly by developing ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist groups in the region.”[68]
  •  Egypt also supported the withdrawal.[69]

Opposing countries

Signatories

  •  Iran‘s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, calling Trump’s words “cheap and petty”, said during a speech: “We kept saying not to trust the US and here is the result…. Aside from at least 10 obvious lies, this person -referring to Donald Trump– threatened the nation of Iran and the Islamic Republic, which I, on behalf of the nation of Iran, respond with: Like hell you will!… The persistent enmity of the US is with the nature of the [Islamic] system and the nuclear energy is nothing more than an excuse. If we go along with their wishes today, tomorrow they will bring more excuses…. Our officials and authorities tell me that they want to continue the JCPOA with these three European countries – referring to FranceGermany and the United Kingdom. I don’t trust these three countries either.”[70] President Hassan Rouhani said: “The US has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments.”[2] He stated Iran’s intention of continuing the nuclear deal, but ultimately doing what’s best for the country, “I have directed the Atomic Energy Agency to prepare for the next steps, if necessary, to begin our own industrial enrichment without restriction,” Rouhani said in a statement just minutes after Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal. “We will wait several weeks before acting on this decision. We will be consulting with friends, our allies and members who have signed on to the agreement. Everything depends on our national interests. If our nation’s interests are attained in the end, we will continue the process.”[71] He stated that the nuclear deal would continue if Iran was able to meet the demands of the Iranian people with the cooperation of five countries in a short period.[56]
  •  European Union top diplomat Federica Mogherini said the EU was “determined to preserve the deal”.[2] The EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, understand that the US does not want anymore to co-operate with other countries. According to him, the US as an international actor has lost vigour, and will lose influence in the long term.[72]
  •  France‘s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said It was “not acceptable” for the US to be the “economic policeman of the planet”.[73] Leaders of France, Germany, and the UK have jointly expressed “regret” at Trump’s decision.[74]
  •  Germany expressed “regret” at Trump’s decision.[74]
  •  United Kingdom expressed “regret” at Trump’s decision.[74]
  •  Russian Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there would be “inevitable harmful consequences to any actions towards breaking [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].”[75] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the United States, saying “once again we see that Washington is trying to revise key international agreements, this time to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Jerusalem issue and a number of other agreements.”[76]
  •  China‘s foreign ministry reiterated that all sides should continue to uphold their end of the agreement and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said many times that Iran is in compliance with the agreement.[77] Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry, said that “[a]ll sides need to continue upholding the pact.”[77][78]

Middle East[

  •  Turkey‘s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the decision by the United States to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will cause instability and new conflicts.[79]
  •  Jordan‘s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of “dangerous repercussions” and a possible arms race in the Middle East unless a political solution was found to free the region of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.[80]
  •  Syria “strongly” condemned Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.[81]

Others

  •  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that he regrets the decision.[82]
  •  Ireland‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he was “greatly disappointed by the US announcement that it is withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Iran”.[83]
  •  Italy‘s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the Iran nuclear agreement must be preserved.[84]
  •  Japan‘s foreign ministry said Japan continues to support the deal and that it “hopes for a continued constructive response from the nations involved”.[82]
  •  Netherlands‘ Deputy Vice Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge said that the Netherlands will try to keep the Iran deal intact as much as possible, and will make efforts to this end on a diplomatic level. Furthermore, he said that the Dutch government finds the decision by American President Trump to pull out of the Iran deal extremely unwise, since it will impact international security and thus also the security of the Netherlands.[85]
  •  New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the withdrawal was a step backwards.[86]
  •  Singaporen Permanent Representative to the United Nations Foo Kok Jwee urged “all relevant parties to remain committed to the JCPoA”.[87]
  •  Spain‘s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy criticized Trump’s decision to leave the Iran deal.[88]
  •   Switzerland authorities said the US withdrawal does not change their position and respect for the accord.[89]

Neutral countries

  •  Oman reiterated its friendly and cooperative relations with the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and stated that it will continue to follow-up on this development and make all possible and available efforts to maintain the security and the stability in the region. Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they value the stance of the five partners to adhere to this agreement, thus contributing to regional and international security and stability.[90]
  •  Qatar stressed that the main priority is to free the Middle East from nuclear weapons and to prevent the entry of regional powers in a nuclear arms race.[91]
  •  India called for diplomacy to resolve the dispute over the Iran nuclear deal. The foreign ministry was measured in its response: “All parties should engage constructively to address and resolve issues that have arisen with respect to the JCPOA,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.[92]

Public opinion in the United States

A majority of Americans said the United States should remain in the JCPOA.

Should the United States withdraw from the Iran deal?[93]
Stay in
63%
Leave
29%
No opinion
8%

According to the CNN poll conducted between May 2, 2018, and May 5, 2018, the strongest proponents of withdrawing from the deal were Republicans at 51%.[93]

According to the Pew Research Center, 53% of the American public and 94% of U.S. scholars in international relations disapproved of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear weapons agreement.[94][95][96]

Aftermath

Protests around former U.S. embassy in Tehran, 8 May 2018

According to Tony Blinken, a former Obama deputy secretary of state who took part in the negotiation of the original deal, the JCPOA’s future depends on Iran’s willingness to abide by it, and so on the economic benefit the deal will give Iran.[97] The Israeli military put their forces on alert. Israeli citizens living in the Golan Heights were told to prepare bomb shelters.[98]

Trade

Trump also wants to sanction European companies that trade with Tehran.[99]

After the signing of the JCPOA, in December 2016, Boeing signed a $17 billion deal with Iran and Airbus signed a $19 billion one. These deals could be canceled.[100] China is involved in a $1.5 billion deal for infrastructure, and its CITIC bank provides $10 billion lines of credit to Iranian banks. Using euros and the yuan, this bank should not be subject to US sanctions against companies that use US dollars.[101]

The French company Total S.A. won a project in the South Pars gas field that could be hit by US sanctions. In anticipation of a possible pull-out by Total, Chinese company CNPC signed a $1 billion deal giving it the option to take over Total’s commitments.[102]

  • Oil prices became unstable amid uncertainty of how President Trump’s sanctions might affect the flow of crude oil out of Iran.[103] According to some experts, oil supplies may be affected if Iran reduces its export.
  • In a phone interview with MSNBC, Former Secretary of State John Kerry said, “[Trump] has taken a situation where there was no crisis, and created crisis.”[104] “We [the United States] are in breach of the agreement,” Kerry warned.
  • On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, on the floor of the Iranian ParliamentMajlis, conservative MPs, set fire to a copy of the JCPOA amid chants of “death to America.”[105] They also set fire to a United States flag.[105] Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has attempted to moderate Iran’s response. Rouhani promised to abide by the agreement for the time being and directed his diplomats to negotiate with the deal’s remaining signatories, saying the agreement could survive without the United States.[106]
  • John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a Milpitas, California cybersecurity company, said that Iran might attempt cyberattacks on American infrastructure: “They were in some very sensitive areas of airport networks where they could conceivably cause serious disruption …but the malicious code was identified and the hackers were booted off”. He declined to identify which U.S. airports were affected, saying only that there were multiple targets.[107]
  • Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, “Trump’s decision will not have any impact on our oil export”.[108]
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “The holy system of the Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground”.[109]
  • Iran announced its readiness to enrich uranium on an “industrial scale” starting in 2025. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said in a statement, “The President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been tasked with taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions, using the results of the latest research and development of Iran’s brave nuclear scientists”.[110]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Joint_Comprehensive_Plan_of_Action

 

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location Vienna, Austria
Signatories  China
 France
 Germany
 European Union
 Iran
 Russia
 United Kingdom
 United States(withdrew)[3]
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOAPersianبرنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, romanizedbarnāmeye jāme’e eqdāme moshtarakacronymبرجام BARJAM[4][5]), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward JCPOA began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations for the next 20 months and in April 2015 agreed on a framework for the final agreement. In July 2015 Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the “Roadmap Agreement” between Iran and the IAEA.[8]

Under JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions.

On 13 October 2017 U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.[9]

IAEA inspectors spend 3,000 calendar days per year in Iran, installing tamper-proof seals and collecting surveillance camera photos, measurement data and documents for further analysis. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano stated (in March 2018) that the organization has verified that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments.[10] On 30 April 2018 the United States and Israel said that Iran had not disclosed a past covert nuclear weapons program to the IAEA, as required by the 2015 deal.[11][12]

On 8 May 2018 President Trump announced United States withdrawal from JCPOA.[13][14] Following the U.S.’s withdrawal, the EU enacted an updated blocking statute on 7 August 2018 to nullify US sanctions on countries trading with Iran.[15] In November 2018 U.S. sanctions came back into effect intended to force Iran to dramatically alter its policies, including its support for militant groups in the region and its development of ballistic missiles.[16]

In February 2019 the IAEA certified that Iran was still abiding by the deal.[17]

 

Background

nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[18][19][20] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[21] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary for nuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[22] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[20][22]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[23] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[23]

In 1979 the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[23] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[23]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khan network.[23] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment”.[23] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencies have long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[23] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[24]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanzenrichment facility.[23][25] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[23] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[25] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[25]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[23][25] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[25] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[23][25] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[23] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[23]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[25][26] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[23][25] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[23][25]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[23][25] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[25] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[25] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[25] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[25] Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[27] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[27] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[23][25] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[27][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[23] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[33] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[25]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[34] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[34] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[34]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[35] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[35]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerryshakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran’s nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[25][36] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[25][37] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[38] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[39] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[25][39] Former officials alleged that, in order to advance the deal, the Obama administration shielded Hezbollah from the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Project Cassandrainvestigation regarding drug smuggling and from the Central Intelligence Agency.[40][41] As a result of the Politico report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations.[42]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[43] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[39] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[44] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[39][44]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[45]

Negotiations

Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 nations, the European Union, and Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 24, 2014

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[46][47]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[48] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[49] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[50] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[51]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[52][53] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2015, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburglasting for seventeen days.[54] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[54] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[54] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[54]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[55] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[56]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[57][58] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[57] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[57]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system”.[59]

Signatories

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[60]

Blue: Current signatories of the JCPOA.
Red: Withdrawn signatories

Resolution

The JCPOA is part of resolution 2231 voted by every member of the UN Security Council, with following timetable:

  • 2015 July 20: Resolution voted by every member of the UN Security Council
  • Adoption Day: October 2015
  • Implementation Day: 16 January 2016: the JCPOA came into effect.
  • Transition Day: eight years from Adoption Day or upon receipt by the Security Council of the report from the IAEA stating that the IAEA has reached the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.
  • Resolution 2231 (2015) Termination Day: Ten years from Adoption Day

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[47] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[47][61][62]

Nuclear[edit]

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[63] Belfer Center[64]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained[U 1]
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg
The physical limits phase out over 10 to 15 years[64]

  1. ^ According to the JCPOA, “The sequence and milestones set forth above and in Annex V are without prejudice to the duration of JCPOA commitments stated in this JCPOA.”
  • Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium was reduced by 97 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[47][65][66][67] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[65][66][68]However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[69] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[65][66][67] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[64][70]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[47][65] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[45][66][67] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[71][72] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[65]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[45] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[65]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), is to modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[73] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[45] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[74] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[75] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[45]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[45][65][67]
  • Iran is implementing an Additional Protocol that will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[76]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[65][66][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[87] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[88] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[88][89] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[57][90] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[87]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[57]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[89] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[91] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[89] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[89] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[89] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[92][93] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[92] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[93]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[47][65][94][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[64] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[96][97] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[98]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[47][94] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[47][94] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[64]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to 16 January 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[99] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[100]

Sanctions

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[101]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[102]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[103] by presidential action or executive waiver.[104] Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[105]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[103][106][107]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[47][108]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[67][109] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[102]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[110]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[65][66][110]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[67][111] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[111] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[56][111] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[71]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[111] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[112]

15 year term

After the 15 years, the treaty will come to its term; then the extraordinary restrictions will no longer be applicable.[113]

At that time, in 2030, it is understood that people involved in the 1979 revolution will no longer be politically active.[113]

Some critics of the treaty consider as plausible that at its expiration Iran could make a bomb.[113]

In the same time, with this treaty Iran also ratified the Additional Protocol of the NPT and so, be subject to inspection and oversight by the IAEA after this delay.[113]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[114][115][116][117][118] The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II, according to BBC Persian.[119]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing country[119][120] and backs an agreement signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[119][121] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country—Iran—was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it—169617371747180318351929—without even one day of implementing them.[119] Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[119]

Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[119][122][123] All other cases have ended through either regime changewar or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[124]

Gary Sick states that during the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put such extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[125]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[126] Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[119] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[127] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[119]

Pictured here, Iranian Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquartersfor the first time.[128]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates—sometimes multiple occasions a day—and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[129] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[129][130] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General AssemblyU.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[131] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[132]

Reactions

Process

Incorporated into international law by the United Nations Security Council[edit]

As provided for in the JCPOA, the agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council,[133][134] incorporating it into international law.[135][136] There was initially disagreement on if the deal is legally binding on the United States.[e]

On 15 July 2015, the American ambassador to the UNSamantha Power, circulated a fourteen-page draft to Council members.[134] On 20 July 2015, the Security Council unanimously approved the fourteen-page resolution—United Nations Security Council resolution2231[143]—in a 15–0 vote.[136] The resolution delays its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for U.S. Congressional consideration under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.[135][136] The resolution lays out the steps for terminating sanctions imposed by seven past Security Council resolutions, but retains an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban.[133][136] The resolution also did not affect the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.[136] The resolution also codifies the “snapback” mechanism of the agreement, under which all Security Council sanctions will be automatically reimposed if Iran breaches the deal.[133]

Speaking immediately after the vote, Power told the Security Council that sanctions relief would start only when Iran “verifiably” met its obligations. Power also called upon Iran “to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans”, specifically naming Amir HekmatiSaeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, were imprisoned by Iran was detained at the time, and Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in the country.[136][144] Hekmati, Abedini, and Rezaian were subsequently released in a January 2016 prisoner exchange, which Secretary of State Kerry said had been accelerated by the nuclear agreement.[145]

Approved by European Union

On the same day that the Security Council approved a resolution, the European Union formally approved the JCPOA via a vote of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (the group of EU foreign ministers) meeting in Brussels. This sets into motion the lifting of certain EU sanctions, including those prohibiting the purchase of Iranian oil.[136][146] The EU continues its sanctions relating to human rights and its sanctions prohibiting the export of ballistic missile technology.[136] The approval by the EU was seen as a signal to the U.S. Congress.[146]

Review period in the United States Congress

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew defending the JCPOA at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July 2015

Under U.S. law, the JCPOA is a non-binding political commitment.[147][148] According to the U.S. State Department, it specifically is not an executive agreement or a treaty.[149] There are widespread incorrect reports that it is an executive agreement.[150][151] In contrast to treaties, which require two-thirds of the Senate to consent to ratification, political commitments require no congressional approval, and are not legally binding as a matter of domestic law (although in some cases they may be binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law).[150][f]

On 22 May 2015, President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law;[g] this legislation passed by the Senate in a 98-1 vote and the House in a 400-25 vote, and was approved by President Obama on 22 May 2015.[159] Under the Act, once a nuclear agreement was negotiated with Iran, Congress had sixty days in which it could pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing.[160] The Act also included additional time beyond the sixty days for the president to veto a resolution and for Congress to take a vote on whether to override or sustain the veto.[161] Republicans could only defeat the deal if they mustered the two-thirds of both houses of Congress needed to override an expected veto by Obama of any resolution of disapproval.[160][162]

On 19 July 2015, the State Department officially transmitted to Congress the JCPOA, its annexes, and related materials.[163] These documents included the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community‘s Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report.[163] The sixty-day review period began the next day, 20 July,[163][164][160] and ended 17 September.[165] Senator Ted Cruz introduced a resolutionseeking a delay in the review period, arguing that the sixty-day congressional review under the Act should not begin until the Senate obtains a copy of all bilateral Iran-IAEA documents. This resolution did not pass.[166][167]Ultimately, a resolution of disapproval was brought to the Senate floor, but failed. A resolution of approval was brought to the House floor, but it, too, failed. As a result, the agreement went into effect following congressional review period.[168]

Obama administration

The international community had long sought a landmark diplomatic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, and such an agreement was also a long-sought foreign-policy goal of the Obama administration.[169][170][171]

In comments made in the East Room of the White House on 15 July 2015, President Obama urged Congress to support the agreement, saying “If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly, for letting this moment slip away.”[172] Obama stated that the inspections regime in the agreement was among the most vigorous ever negotiated, and criticized opponents of the deal for failing to offer a viable alternative to it.[172] Obama stated: “If 99 percent of the world’s community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say ‘this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb,’ and you are arguing either that it does not … then you should have some alternative to present. And I haven’t heard that.”[173][174] The same day, Obama made a case for the deal on the agreement in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.[175] Obama stated:

With respect to Iran, it is a great civilization, but it also has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, sponsors terrorism, and there are a whole host of real profound differences that we [have with] them … [T]heir argument was, ‘We’re entitled to have a peaceful nuclear program.’ … You know, I have a lot of differences with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that [we] were able to verify an agreement that [was negotiated] with the evil empire [the Soviet Union] that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be … I had a lot of disagreements with Richard Nixon, but he understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path. You test these things, and as long as we are preserving our security capacity—as long as we are not giving away our ability to respond forcefully, militarily, where necessary to protect our friends and our allies—that is a risk we have to take. It is a practical, common-sense position. It’s not naïve; it’s a recognition that if we can in fact resolve some of these differences, without resort to force, that will be a lot better for us and the people of that region.[175]

Also on 15 July, Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, where he made a presentation on the agreement.[176]

On 18 July, Obama devoted his weekly radio address to the agreement, stating, “this deal will make America and the world safer and more secure” and rebutting “a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it”.[177] Obama stated “as commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.”[177] On 23 July, President Obama met in the White House Cabinet Room with about a dozen undecided House Democrats to speak about the agreement and seek their support.[178]

The debate over the agreement was marked by acrimony between the White House and with Republicans inside and outside of Congress. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that under the agreement “the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world.”[179] Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called the president “naive” and repeatedly invoked the Holocaust, saying that the president’s policy would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”.[180] This comparison was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and various Israeli government officials.[180][181][182] At a 27 June news conference, Obama specifically criticized Huckabee, Cruz, and Cotton, saying that such remarks were “just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad”, especially from “leaders in the Republican Party”.[179] Obama stated that “fling[ing] out ad hominem attacks like that … doesn’t help inform the American people” and stated: “This is a deal that has been endorsed by people like Brent Scowcroft and Sam Nunn … historic Democratic and Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping America safe. And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now.”[183]

On 5 August, Obama gave a speech before an audience of around 200 at American University, marking a new phase in the administration’s campaign for the agreement.[184][185] Obama stated: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”[184] In his speech, Obama also invoked a speech made by John F. Kennedy at American University in 1963 in favor of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[184] Obama also said that the opponents of the agreement were the same people who created the “drumbeat of war” that led to the Iraq War and criticized “knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision made to be a disaster, a surrender”.[184]

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a senior Democrat, made a different assessment of prospects for war by distinguishing between nuclear and non-nuclear aspects of the agreement. In each case he asked whether we are better off with the agreement or without it and his conclusion was: “… when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.” Then Schumer assessed the Iranian government, saying, “Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years? To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.” And, finally, Schumer concluded: “I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”[186]

In the same speech, Obama stated: “Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘Death to America‘ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”[185][187] This statement was criticized by congressional Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “crass political rhetoric” that was a strategy to “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get the Democrats all angry, and rally around the president.” McConnell said “This is an enormous national security debate that the president will leave behind, under the Constitution, a year and a half from now, and the rest of us will be dealing with the consequences of it. So I wish he would tone down the rhetoric and let’s talk about the facts” and promised that Republicans would discuss the agreement respectfully in September.[188][189] Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee, asserted that the president was “trying to shut down debate by saying that those who have legitimate questions, legitimate questions—are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in Iran”.[190] The president subsequently stood by his statement, with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a “statement of fact”[188] and the president saying in an interview, “Remember, what I said was that it’s the hard-liners in Iran who are most opposed to this deal. And I said, in that sense, they’re making common cause with those who are opposed to this deal here. I didn’t say that they were equivalent.”[187] In the same interview, Obama said: “A sizable proportion of the Republicans were opposed before the ink was even dry on the deal.”[187]

In comments made at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado in July 2015, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the JCPOA will improve the U.S. ability to monitor Iran, saying “[The agreement] puts us in a far better place in terms of insight and access” than no agreement.[191] While Clapper remains “concerned about compliance and deceit”, but “pointed out that during the negotiation period [Iran] complied with rules” negotiated under the interim agreement (the Joint Plan of Action).[191]

Public debate

An intense public debate in the United States took place during the congressional review period.[192] “Some of the wealthiest and most powerful donors in American politics, those for and against the accord”, became involved in the public debate,[193] although “mega-donors” opposing the agreement have contributed substantially more money than those supporting it.[194] From 2010 to early August 2015, the foundations of Sheldon AdelsonPaul Singer, and Haim Saban contributed a total of $13 million (at least $7.5 million, at least $2.6 million, and at least $2.9 million, respectively) to advocacy groups opposing an agreement with Iran.[194] On the other side, three groups lobbying in support of the agreement have received at least $803,000 from the Ploughshares Fund, at least $425,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and at least $68,500 from George Soros and his foundation.[194] Other philanthropists and donors supporting an agreement include S. Daniel AbrahamTim GillNorman LearMargery Tabankin, and Arnold Hiatt.[193]

Many Iranian Americans, even those who fled repression in Iran and oppose its government, welcomed the JCPOA as a step forward.[195] The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian American Bar Association, and other Iranian American organizations welcomed the JCPOA.[196] The NIAC released a statement saying: “Our negotiators have done their job to win a strong nuclear deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon, all the while avoiding a catastrophic war. Now is the time for Congress to do theirs. Make no mistake: if Congress rejects this good deal with Iran, there will be no better deal forthcoming and Congress will be left owning an unnecessary war.”[197] NIAC created a new group, NIAC Action, to run advertisements supporting the agreement.[194] NIAC also organized an open letter from 73 Middle East and foreign affairs scholars stating, “reactivating diplomatic channels between the United States and Iran is a necessary first step” to reduce conflict in the region, and that while “the nuclear deal will not automatically or immediately bring stability to the region … Ultimately, a Middle East where diplomacy is the norm rather than the exception will enhance U.S. national security and interests,”[198] Signatories to the letter include John EspositoEhsan YarshaterNoam ChomskyPeter BeinartJohn Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt.[198]

U.S. pro-Israel groups divided on the JCPOA.[199] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposes the agreement, and formed a new 501(c)(4) group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, to run a television advertising campaign against the JCPOA.[184][199][200][201] In August 2015, it was reported that AIPAC and Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran plan to spend between $20 million and $40 million on its campaign.[202] From mid-July to 4 August 2015, AIPAC’s Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran spent more than $11 million running network television political advertisements opposing the agreement in 23 states, spending more than $1 million in the large states of California, Florida, New York, and Texas.[202][203] In the first week of August, AIPAC said that it had 400 meetings with congressional offices as part of its campaign to defeat the agreement.[202]

In contrast to AIPAC, another pro-Israel organization, J Street, supports the agreement, and plans a $5 million advertising effort of its own to encourage Congress to support the agreement.[202][204] During the first week of August, J Street launched a $2 million, three-week ad campaign in support of the agreement, with television ads running in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.[205][206] From mid-July through early August, J Street reported having 125 meetings with congressional offices.[202] J Street has also paid to fly prominent Israelis who support the agreement (including Amram Mitzna, a retired Israeli general, member of the Knesset, and mayor of Haifa) to the United States to help persuade members of Congress to support the agreement.[202]

The group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) opposes the agreement and committed to spending more than $20 million on a national “TV, radio, print and digital campaign” against the agreement.[194][207] After UANI announced its opposition, the group’s president and co-founder, nonproliferation expert Gary Samore, announced that he had concluded “that the accord was in the United States’ interest” and supported the agreement.[194][208] Samore thus stepped down as president and was replaced by ex-Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.[208] By 20 August, UANI had released its third national television ad against the agreement.[207]

Anti-JCPOA bus advertisement in New York City. The bus ad was sponsored by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an opponent of the agreement.[209]

Various other groups that have also run ad campaigns for or against the agreement. John R. Bolton‘s Foundation for American Security and Freedom has run advertisements against the agreement, as has “Veterans Against the Deal”, a group which does not disclose its donors.[210] Various pro-agreement ads were run by MoveOn.org (which ran an ad with the title “Let Diplomacy Work” theme), Americans United for Change (which warned “They’re back—the Iraq war hawks are fighting the Iran deal, want more war” over photos of Bolton, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld), and Global Zero (which ran a humorous ad featuring actors Jack BlackMorgan Freeman, and Natasha Lyonne).[210]

The New York-based Iran Project, a nonprofit led by former high-level U.S. diplomats and funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with the United Nations Association of the United States, supports the agreement.[211] The Rockefeller fund has also supported the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, which has spent several years marshaling support for an agreement.[211]

On 17 July 2015, a bipartisan open letter endorsing the Iran agreement was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials.[212][213] The ex-ambassadors wrote: “If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. In our judgment the [plan] deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.”[212][213] Among the signatories to the letter were Daniel C. KurtzerJames R. JonesFrank E. LoyPrinceton N. LymanJack F. Matlock Jr.Donald F. McHenryThomas E. McNamara, and Thomas R. Pickering.[213]

A separate public letter to Congress in support of the agreement from five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel from administrations of both parties, and three former Under Secretaries of State was released on 26 July 2015.[214] This letter was signed by R. Nicholas BurnsJames B. CunninghamWilliam C. HarropDaniel Kurtzer, Thomas R. Pickering, Edward S. Walker Jr., and Frank G. Wisner.[215] The former officials wrote: “We are persuaded that this agreement will put in place a set of constraints and monitoring measures that will arrest Iran’s nuclear program for at least fifteen years and assure that this agreement will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next ten to fifteen years. This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically.”[215]

Another public letter to Congress urging approval of the agreement was signed by a bipartisan group of more than sixty “national-security leaders”, including politicians, retired military officers, and diplomats.[214] This letter, dated 20 July 2015, stated: “We congratulate President Obama and all the negotiators for a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. … We have followed carefully the negotiations as they have progressed and conclude that the JCPOA represents the achievement of greater security for us and our partners in the region.”[214][216] Among the Republicans who signed this letter are former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Anderson Hills, and former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum.[214] Among the Democrats who signed the letter are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Senate Majority Leaders George J. Mitchell and Tom Daschle, former Senator Carl Levin, and former Defense Secretary William Perry.[214][217]Also signing were former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; Under Secretaries of State R. Nicholas Burns and Thomas R. Pickering; U.S. Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Stuart Eizenstat; Admiral Eric T. OlsonUnder Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy; and Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn.[217]

On 8 August 2015, 29 prominent U.S. scientists, mostly physicists, published an open letter endorsing the agreement.[218][219] The letter, addressed to President Obama, says: “We congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more than Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.”[219] The letter also states that the agreement “will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements”.[218][219] The 29 signatories included “some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control”, many of whom have held Q clearances and have been longtime advisers to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.[218] The five primary authors were Richard L. Garwin (a nuclear physicist who played a key role in the development of the first hydrogen bomb and who was described by The New York Times as “among the last living physicists who helped usher in the nuclear age”); Robert J. Goldston (Director of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security and former director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory); R. Scott Kemp (an MIT professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a former science advisor for nonproliferation and arms control at the State Department); Rush D. Holt (a physicist and former U.S. Representative who is now the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science); and Frank N. von Hippel (Princeton Professor of Public Policy and former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). Six Nobel Prize in Physics laureates co-signed the letter: Philip W. Anderson of Princeton UniversityLeon N. Cooper of Brown UniversitySheldon L. Glashow of Boston UniversityDavid Gross of the University of California, Santa BarbaraBurton Richter of Stanford University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[218] Among the other scientists to sign are Siegfried S. Hecker (a Stanford physicist and the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory); Freeman Dyson (of Princeton), and Sidney Drell (of Stanford).[218]

On 11 August 2015, an open letter endorsing the agreement signed by 36 retired military generals and admirals, titled “The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security: An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals”, was released.[220][221] The letter, signed by retired officers from all five branches of the U.S. armed services, said that the agreement was “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”, and said, “If at some point it becomes necessary to consider military action against Iran, gathering sufficient international support for such an effort would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance. We must exhaust diplomatic options before moving to military ones.”[221] The signers included General James E. “Hoss” Cartwright of the Marine Corps, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Joseph P. Hoar of the Marine Corps, the former commander of the U.S. Central Command; and Generals Merrill McPeak and Lloyd W. Newton of the Air Force.[220][221] Other signers include Lieutenant Generals Robert G. Gard Jr. and Claudia J. Kennedy; Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn; Rear Admirals Garland Wright and Joseph Sestak; and Major General Paul D. Eaton.[221]

The above letter was answered on 25 August 2015, by a letter signed by more than 200 retired generals and admirals opposing the deal.[222][223][224] The letter asserted: “The agreement does not ‘cut off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it provides Iran with a legitimate pathway for doing exactly that simply by abiding by the deal. … The JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”[224][225] This letter was organized by Leon A. “Bud” Edney; other signers included Admiral James A. Lyons; Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, former vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.[223]

Retired Marine Corps General