Fascism Vs Socialism

Updated on May 3, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between Fascism and Socialism

Fascism is a dictatorial form of political ideology. Socialism, on the other hand, is an ideology where individuals of a society own the means of production. A fascist ruler wields supreme power and authority over a country. In contrast, rulers of socialist nations distribute power and authority among the states.

A dictator does not tolerate any criticism, opposition, or rebellion; freedom of speech takes a back seat. Compared to fascist regimes, socialist states allow more freedom of speech. Dictators control industries; but in socialist states, the ownership of the means of production lies with the public sector.

Fascism vs Socialism – Comparative Table

Let us look at the fascism Vs socialism comparative table to understand their characteristics. Despite sharing a common anti-capitalist philosophy, these ideologies contradict each other. Fascism Vs. Socialism differences are as follows:

Fascism Vs Socialism

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DefinitionFascism is a system where a single individual reigns supreme. The fascist dictator controls the conduct of people, society, and industries.Socialism is a political ideology where public welfare comes first. All the means of production are owned by the government or the public.
IdeologyIt is run with a dictatorship or authoritarian political agenda.It is an ideology where the public owns the factors of production.
OriginThe concept of fascism originated after World War I when Benito Mussolini formed a one-party fascist state in Italy.The socialist ideology was introduced by Marx and Engels against the 19th-century industrial revolution in Italy.
ControlIt has an authoritarian rule where the control lies in the hands of the ruling person.Power and control are decentralized—distributed among the states.
FocusIt aims to make the nation strong and prosperous.Public welfare and the eradication of poverty are the objectives.
Individual FreedomIt doesn’t allow any freedom of speech to individuals and critics. Individuals do not have the freedom to own the means of production.
Democracy ComparisonsIt is the polar opposite of democracy.It blends with democratic principles to promote democratic socialism.
Free HealthcareThe free healthcare facility is provided to selective people who meet the criteria based on citizenship, nationality, and race.The central government provides free healthcare to all citizens.
Social ClassIt believes that preserving social hierarchy is good for society.It strongly emphasizes the abolishment of social class.
Private OwnershipIt is restrictively permitted—only state benefits.Industries are owned by the public or the government.
Belief in GodFascists are powerful believers in God.Socialists believe that the state is independent of religion.
Known LeadersVidkun Quisling and Francisco FrancoJacobo Árbenz, Salvador Allende and Michelle Bachelet

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What is Fascism?

Fascism is an ideology that supports dictatorship and authoritarian reigns. The whole nation is ruled by a single leader who has complete control over industries. Dictators permit private ownership only when it seems beneficial for the state. Under a fascist rule, people don’t have any freedom of speech—any form of criticism or rebellion is suppressed.

The origin of fascism can be traced back to 1919. After World War I, Benito Mussolini and his fascist party came to power in Italy. Mussolini believed that a fascist ruler should take firm control over the state; people should not be given the liberty to speak up.

It was a ‘nation above everything’ ideology. The primary aim of the fascist ideology is to build a strong nation by prioritizing the country over its people.

Some of the basic features of fascism are discussed below:

  • It is a dictatorial rule—run by military regulations.
  • It is a kind of authoritarian leadership that promotes nationalism or patriotism.
  • It is against democratic and capitalist ideologies.
  • It exercises firm control over the public, industries, and society.
  • It doesn’t allow any freedom or right of expression to individuals and suppresses those who raise their voices in criticism.
  • It accepts the difference in social class and doesn’t take any steps to curb this discrimination.

What is Socialism?

Socialism is a political agenda where public welfare is prioritized over everything else. Here, people own the means of production, trade, and commerce. The nation makes it a priority to ensure that no citizen is deprived of basic necessities. In a socialist country, the central government distributes power and control among the states for better governance.

In the 19th century, socialism aimed to discourage widespread industrial revolution—under the capitalist system. The industrial revolution caused widespread unemployment and exploitation of labor across Europe. In that context, socialists Marx and Engels promoted a socialist ideology across Italy. Socialists consider the social class system discriminative and try to eliminate it.

Some of the key characteristics of socialism are as follows:

  • All the production factors are government or public-owned.
  • It aims to bring equality in society by prioritizing public welfare; for instance, healthcare facilities are made free for all.
  • Socialists respect all religions and believe that the state is independent of religion.
  • The central government distributes power and responsibilities to the states—for fair governance.
  • It opposes capitalism. Parallels can be drawn between democracy and socialism.

Fascism vs Socialism – Infographics

Fascism vs Socialism - Infographics

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Now, let us look at some of fascism vs. socialism similarities. Both fascism and socialism are political ideologies followed by rulers or a ruling party. Despite the contrasts, fascism and socialism share the following similarities:

  • Significant Economic Impact: Both fascism and socialism have the potential to impact the economy significantly. The outcomes could be positive or negative.
  • Requires Strong Leadership: Both ideologies require superior leadership and governance.
  • Discourages Free Market: Fascism and socialism are both anti-capitalist in their philosophy. They are against free-market practices. Fascism restricts private ownership of industries, and socialism emphasizes public ownership of the means of production (instead of private owners).
  • Drives Social Movements: Both ideologies provoke widespread protests and resistance. Massive revolutions and activism coincide with these governance models.
  • Government Involvement: There is extreme government intervention and interference in the nation’s economic activities and social decisions—individual freedom takes a back seat.

This has been a guide to what is Fascism Vs Socialism & definitions. We discuss Fascism Vs. Socialism differences, infographics, similarities & examples. You can learn more about them from the following articles – 

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