Communism vs. Socialism Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Government Models
  • 1:03 Socialism
  • 1:32 Communism
  • 1:53 Socialism vs. Communism
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Corrie Boone

Corrie holds master's in elementary education, taught elementary ESL in the public schools for 5 years, and recently was teaching EFL abroad.

Communism and socialism are two models governments all over the world use, although here in the U.S. they're often thought of negatively. Let's learn about each one so you can decide for yourself!

Government Models

Imagine you owned a farm with many cows. Some cows you sell for the profit of their meat, and some cows you keep so you can sell their milk. Either way, they're your cows, so you get to keep all the money you make. But you're also responsible for the upkeep of your farm, feeding your animals, and taking care of your family. This is capitalism, and it's how we function in the U.S.

Now imagine you had the same farm with the same number of cows, but the government took half of them and gave them to people who didn't have any cows. Now everyone would have some cows that they could use to make money and live. This is socialism.

This time, imagine the government took all your cows and promised to provide you with meat and milk from those cows so you and your family could live. But instead of just giving your family meat and milk from those cows, everyone got meat and milk from those cows, leaving only a little bit for each person. This is communism.

Universal symbols for socialism.
symbols of socialism

Let's take a closer look at socialism and communism.

Socialism

Unlike capitalism, which is based on competition, socialism is based on the idea of cooperation, sharing equally, and decisions being made by the people. Every citizen in a socialist society is equal, regardless of race, gender, religion, or nationality. Every person is guaranteed a home, food, water, clothes, adequate medical care, and a decent education. These are the foundations of socialism.

Communism

Communism is often thought of as a more intense version of socialism, but the major difference is that in communism the government owns everything and is responsible for providing equally for all; but, like socialism, every citizen is still promised a home, food, clothes, medical care, and education.

The universal symbol for communism.
symbol of communism

Socialism vs. Communism

While socialism seems like a good system, it doesn't always work out so well. Many people believe that socialism won't work because if your job is guaranteed, then you won't be a good worker. Under socialism there are no wealthy people, because the money is spread evenly, and excess money is used to provide things like healthcare for all. However, if you want to have your own things, like a home, clothes, and toys, you still must keep your job.

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