尽管这些术语有时可以互换使用，而共产主义和社会主义是相关的概念，但这两个系统在关键方面是不同的。然而，共产主义和社会主义都是为了应对工业革命而产生的，在工业革命期间，资本主义工厂所有者通过剥削工人而变得极其富裕。工业早期，工人在困难和不安全的条件下劳作，通常每天工作12到14个小时，每周工作6天，没有用餐时间。工人包括年仅6岁的孩子，他们的价值很高，因为他们的小手和敏捷的手指可能会进入机器内进行修理或清除堵塞。工厂通常光线不足，没有通风系统，设计危险或设计不良的机器经常致残或杀死工人。为了应对这些条件，德国理论家卡尔·马克思（1818-1883）和弗里德里希·恩格斯（1820-1895）创造了另一种经济和政治体系，即共产主义。马克思和恩格斯在他们的着作“英国工人阶级的状况”，“共产党宣言”和“资本论”中谴责资本主义制度中工人的滥用，并提出了一个乌托邦的替代方案。在共产主义下，没有一种“生产资料” – 例如工厂和土地 – 都归个人所有。相反，政府控制着生产资料，所有人都在一起工作。所产生的财富是根据人们的需求而不是他们对工作的贡献在人民之间分享的。理论上，结果是一个无阶级社会，财产是公共的，而不是私人的。根据马克思主义理论，要实现这个共产主义工人的天堂，必须通过暴力革命摧毁资本主义制度。马克思和恩格斯认为，工业工人（“无产阶级”）会在世界各地兴起并推翻中产阶级（“资产阶级”）。一旦共产主义体系建立起来，政府将不再需要，因为每个人都为了共同利益而共同努力。
Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and communism and socialism are related concepts, the two systems are different in crucial ways. However, both communism and socialism arose in response to the Industrial Revolution, during which capitalist factory owners grew extremely wealthy by exploiting their workers. Early in the industrial period, workers toiled under difficult and unsafe conditions, often working 12 to 14 hours per day, six days per week, without meal breaks. Workers included children as young as 6, who were valued because their small hands and nimble fingers could get inside the machinery to repair it or clear blockages. The factories often were poorly lit and had no ventilation systems, and dangerous or poorly designed machinery frequently maimed or killed the workers. In reaction to these conditions, German theorists Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) created an alternative economic and political system called communism. In their books, “The Condition of the Working Class in England,” “The Communist Manifesto,” and “Das Kapital,” Marx and Engels decried the abuse of workers in the capitalist system and laid out a utopian alternative. Under communism, none of the “means of production”—such as factories and land—are owned by individuals. Instead, the government controls the means of production, and all people work together. The wealth produced is shared among the people based on their needs rather than on their contribution to the work. The result, in theory, is a classless society where property is public, rather than private. To achieve this communist workers’ paradise, the capitalist system must be destroyed through violent revolution, according to Marxist theory. Marx and Engels believed that industrial workers (the “proletariat”) would rise up around the world and overthrow the middle class (the “bourgeoisie”). Once the communist system was established, governments would cease to be necessary, as everyone toiled together for the common good.