Communism is a political and economic doctrine, the aim of which is to abolish private ownership of property and for-profit enterprise and to replace these with public ownership and control of industry, agriculture, and natural resources. According to the doctrine, labor and resources are organized so as to benefit all members of society equally. The end-state is a society free of class distinctions based on wealth, property, and political power. Although the word possibly dates as far back as eighteenth-century French, it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that a theory of communism, and the evolution of economic and social reform that it entailed, began to spread throughout Europe. In 1848, Karl Marx, a German-born political theorist, provided the foundation...

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