Difference Between Communism and Totalitarianism

Communism and Totalitarianism are two ideological principles, differing in the method of how the government is operated. Communism is a political and economic system according to which the resources should be distributed to every individual in the society as per his/her needs.

The interest of the society as a whole are considered to be the top-most priority in communism. Totalitarianism, on the other hand, is a kind of a government in which a dictator enjoys absolute powers without any kind of a restriction through law or constitution. The interest of the dictator is quite naturally the priority in totalitarianism. An individual has the authority to make all the decision in this form of government; whereas, a centralised government runs the affairs of the state in communism.


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    Communism is against the unjust exploitation of the masses through the hands of a few rich individuals. It believes that every single individual in a society is equal and everyone should have a same standard of life. The state owns everything in this form of government from production to distribution and the individuals are not allowed to have personal properties apart from their belongings like clothes or shoes.

    Every individual has to contribute and work for the betterment of the society according to his/her abilities and the government is responsible to fulfil his needs in return. Recent examples of communist regimes are Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the People's Republic of China (PRC), North Korea, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Cambodia and Laos.

    This ideology was introduced to counter capitalism. Most of the communists believe that capitalism safeguards the rights of only a few privileged ones. However, the critics of communism are of the opinion that it is not a sustainable system of government because the individuals do not have any kind of a motivation to work hard.

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    Totalitarianism is basically one person’s rule, who is neither bounded by any kind of law or a constitution nor is he/she answerable to anyone. An absolute dictator selects the officers of his choice and manages the affairs of the state. Most of the totalitarian governments in modern world emerge as a result of military dictatorship.

    There are certain limitations on media and freedom of expression in this form of government and no one is allowed to criticise the dictator.

    Image courtesy:  gettyimages.com

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