I keep reading all the time about people confusing social programs with socialism and/or communism.
Capitalist countries with social programs have nothing to do with socialism as implemented in a “dictatorship by the proletariat”.
What is Socialism and Communism?
In a pure socialist structure the government owns all means of production.
“In a purely socialist system, all legal production and distribution decisions are made by the government, and individuals rely on the state for everything from food to healthcare. The government determines the output and pricing levels of these goods and services. “
Theoretically no social classes exist in socialist country. But of course classes will form in any society. So, in a socialist country there is a ruling Communist party, then the bureaucracy, then upper management of industry, then the intelligentsia, and lastly the workers.
Any private enterprise is illegal and is punished by law. It is called “dictatorship by the proletariat workers”. So by definition this social system is a dictatorship. There are plenty of examples of countries with a socialism system, and most of them have fallen apart. There are a still a few remnants of this dying system: Cuba, N. Korea, Venezuela. All of them are disastrous dictatorships.
The main principle of Socialism is: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody according to their work.”
Communism theoretically is the next evolutionary step, with the motto: “from everybody according to their abilities, to everybody by their needs.” There has never been a country with a true communist system.
But socialist countries are ruled by a communist party. The main goal of communist’s is to firmly establish communism everywhere on the planet.
So, to summarize, “social programs” do not mean socialism.