You must have come across the terms communism and socialism. What do they mean? First, it is worth noting that they are two schools of thought referring to the same thing – the economy. They are both against capitalism, which advocates for private ownership of capital goods.
Communism, for one, suggests an economic environment where the production goods are owned communally. Socialism is more or less similar, but the differences come in how the two are implemented. In a socialist country, people have a say in the distribution of goods as they elect the governing body. Communism, however, is authoritarian, and the citizens do not have much say in the implementation process.
Nonetheless, both types advocate for equal sharing of resources. Communism and capitalism is a story for another day. In this piece, we will go through some of the famous socialist countries in the world. So, without any further ado, let us get down to business.
List of Socialist Countries
1. The People’s Republic of China
China has become one of the superpowers in the 21st century due to its growing economy and military power. The country’s economy is majorly dependent on the co-existence of private capitalists and entrepreneurs. However, that doesn’t make China a capitalist country.
By definition, socialism demands that an elected government take control over the production resources. Inasmuch as there are some signs of capitalism in China, the Communist Party of China is still in control of the country’s course towards socialist development.
2. Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam is another socialist country that has upheld socialist traditions for several decades. The country exercises Marxism-Leninism type of socialism, and the ruling party insists that this will always be the country’s tradition. The Communist Party of Vietnam suggests that this can only be achieved once material conditions have been adequately met to favor a socialist economy.
When the Communist Party of Vietnam first came to life, it was criticized for promoting a capitalist economy. However, it later became clear that this phase was necessary to build the much-needed socialist state. Private enterprises are allowed to run, provided they have a positive impact on the nation’s economic goals.
3. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Lao People’s Democratic Republic, or famously Laos, is a state in Southeast Asia. It is the only landlocked country in the region, but that’s not the only unique thing about this country. Laos is known as one of the few socialist countries that publicly endorse communism.
It is a one-party state that exercises Marxism-Leninism through its governing party, the Laos People’s Revolutionary Party. This type of economy has proven fruitful for Laos over the years. Since 1991, this socalist country has recorded a medium development rate with reference to other states worldwide. It is, however, one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia.
One may argue that the likes of China and the former Soviet Union were/are not socialistic in nature. Well, that’s a debate for another day, but Cuba is definitely a socialist country. In fact, this is the only country that has officially enforced socialist laws through its government.
Cuba’s economy is dominated by state-owned enterprises. The governing body is elected by the people to run the production process and ensure equal distribution. Unlike most countries where almost half of the industries are privately-owned, the government of Cuba runs a large percentage of factories. As such, nearly all employees are employed and paid by the state.
5. North Korea
North Korea is definitely one of the names you’d expect on this list, but is it entirely socialist? Well, North Korea’s economy is quite complex if you take into consideration all the definitions of capitalism and socialism. Nonetheless, it remains a prominent example of a socialist state.
The country’s economy is almost entirely state-controlled with social regulations put forth to ensure equal distribution of resources. In the mid-20th-century, the North Korean economy grew at a faster rate than China’s. However, due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and sanctions endorsed by other countries, North Korea has experienced a significant drop in the past few decades. So, can we categorize it among the failed socialist countries? I’ll let you ponder on that.
6. People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
Algeria is a rich country, yet so poor. For a country that ranks as the fourth largest exporter of gas worldwide, you’d expect more. On the contrary, the people of Algeria are very, and the unemployment rate is standing at 11.1%. But this is a discussion for another day. So, which type of economy is implemented in Algeria?
Like most countries on this list, Algeria’s economy is divided between capitalism and socialism. However, since the 1960s, Algeria has been advocating for Arab socialism, and that doesn’t seem to have changed since then. In this article, we define Algeria as a socialist country.
7. Co-operative Republic of Guyana
If history is not your potion, then you might not be fully aware of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. It is a socialist country in South America defined by the dense rainforest covering a huge area of its landmass. Burnham swore to lead the country towards socialism after his election in 1968. The current economy of the country may spark questions, but Guyana is still one of the existing nations that practice socialism partly.
Although a socialist economy has many positive impacts, that has not been the order of the day in all countries. In fact, there are huge states that have fallen despite going the route of socialism. The most famous victim in this regard is the Soviet Union, which was dissolved in 1991.
Each country has its way of implementing this rule, and perhaps that’s what separates successful ones from the failures. Most states today are neither exclusively socialist nor capitalist. As such, private enterprises may exist, but a large percentage of resources are owned communally.
I hope that this article on socialist countries in the world was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Rankings Page!