C1 Dialog #56 Talking about socialism

Today we are going to talk about socialism. As always you can read the text in the PDF which you can find in the description. Follow our podcasts on iTunes and Yandex Music. For more new dialogs subscribe to our channel.

How to work with the dialog?

  1. Listen to the dialog and read the PDF transcript. Turn on subtitles if necessary.
  2. Listen to the dialog again, repeating the questions and answers aloud (!!!).
  3. Come up with your own answers to the questions. Use PDF vocabulary if needed.
  4. Listen to the questions and answer them aloud (!!!), with a correct intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.
  5. Go back to the video from time to time and repeat the exercise.

Talking about socialism in English

(1) What is socialism?

Socialism is an economic and political system where the community or state owns the general means of production.

(2) Why is socialism not so popular today?

Because we live in a capitalist world. Nobody talks about socialism as much as about capitalism. 

(3)      What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘socialism’?

I think about social fairness. But I understand that it’s something that is not going to come true. Human nature denies socialism. 

(4) What do you know about socialism?

Socialism stays opposite to capitalism. It’s the alternative system of social relationships between citizens and government.

(5) What experiences has your country had with socialism?

Russia was a socialist country in the time of the Soviet Union. It had a lot of good things like low prices, good education and healthcare for everyone and so on. But at the same time, there were a lot of problems which led the Soviet Union to crash. I am really sorry we lost the country. 

(6) What are the differences between socialism and capitalism?

Capitalism is about free market relationships. Socialism is more difficult, because the government controls most of the economy and shares everything equally among people. That’s why capitalism is much more attractive.

(7) What are the differences between socialism and communism?

As far as I know, socialism is the first stage of communism. Communism is the highest level of socialism.  

(8) Do you know of any countries where socialism works well?

No I don’t. China is considered to be a communist country, but even there there is no socialism as it is supposed to be. Chinese government is combining a socialist approach to the economy with a free market. They are quite successful at this. 

(9) Are people more equal under socialism?

Yes. But anyway people can’t be 100% percent equal, because we are not equal from nature. That’s one of the problems of socialism. 

(10) Why is socialism and revolution often used in the same sentence? – Почему социализм и революция часто употребляются в одном и том же предложении?

I think it’s because of the Russian revolution in October 1917, when the capitalist government had to leave and socialists started ruling the country. Nowadays many people think that socialism is possible only through a revolution. 

(11) Winston Churchill said: “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Do you agree?

No, I don’t think so. The idea of socialism is good. The problem is that people can’t build it, because it’s too difficult for such a weak creation like a human. 

Part 2. Talking about socialism

(1) Are people happier under socialism?

It depends on what happiness is. If it’s about money and overconsumption, socialism won’t make you happy. That’s for sure.

(2) Why is socialism red?

The oldest symbol of socialism is the Red Flag, which comes from French Revolution in the 18th century. The colour red was chosen to represent the blood of the workers who died in the struggle against capitalism.

(3) Do you think socialism is dead in the world’s leading economies?

It depends on the country. In the USA it’s dead. In Germany there are a lot of social laws, which are still very strong.

(4) How does socialism affect the rich and poor?

People are pretty much equal under socialism. There is not a big difference in salaries and quality of life. 

(5) What does socialism do for entrepreneurs and companies?

I think that taxes are not very high, which is good for business. 

(6) How would the world economy change if all countries were socialist?

It’s a good question, but difficult. Some people say that the economy is not so effective in socialism. But I think that it would be more stable and we would have less crises and wars. 

(7) Tony Benn said: “Socialism is the flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world.” Do you agree?

Yes, I do agree. 

(8) Someone once said: “He who is not a socialist at 19, has no heart. He who is still a socialist at 30, has no brain.” What do you think of this quote?

I don’t quite understand this quote. I think that young people don’t think about socialism at all, because they grow up in a capitalist world.