Communism, an economic system, emerged from the writings of the German economist Karl Marx and the British economist Friedrich Engels. From the outset, scholars have debated the relationship between communism and its predecessor, socialism. One thesis holds that communism is an outgrowth of socialism. But this point seems difficult to defend given that Marx and Engels predicted that workers would overthrow capitalism and create a temporary dictatorship of the proletariat (the working class) to redistribute wealth. Such a government would eventually wither away so that communism would usher in a stateless utopia. Socialism, on the other hand, makes no pretense to disband government. In some cases, as in Scandinavia, socialist governments are democratic and make an attractive contrast with communism as it has developed. Ironically, ...

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