Collectivism is a political and economic system in which the means of production and distribution are owned collectively and are used for the benefit of the community as a whole. Most collectivist societies are based either upon a desire for economic equality or upon religious principles.
Collectivist societies have existed since ancient times, usually on a small scale. A monastery is an example of a collectivist community. Collectivism on a national scale in modern times is based either upon the socialist theory of the moderate Second International, to which the Socialist parties of western Europe belong, or upon the revolutionary theories of the Third (Communist) International, which incorporated the ideas of Karl Marx.