Ownership of means of production was a an outdated concept when Marx was writing about it (I am aware that socialism pre-dates Marx).Gary Childress wrote: On paper the above sounds much better than a single person (a virtual monarch in all but name) having complete authority over the means of a community's production. You would think that most ordinary people would be in favor of socialism over the private ownership of the economy. After all, in a democracy a million votes from ordinary workers should outweigh a handful of votes from a few wealthy business owners. But in practice none of this seems to be the case, (at least not in the US). In a sense it really does seem odd.
The primary role in adding value (wealth creation) has long since passed to designers, R&D chappies, entrepreneurial types and bean counters.
The sweat of manual labour and low skilled inputs only adds significant value in a handful of industries such as garment manufacture and food service - and in most cases that won't last many more decades either.
Whether income or consumption distribution seems fair or not, the US economy has grown to be something like 12 times as productive today as it was in the late 30s and by most reckoning every sector of society has benefited (unevenly, and with some omissions that strike the rest of the world as fairly barbaric).
There's a cut off point in economic development, before it, you can achieve wealth creation by building more factories (means of production). But once you have plenty of steel mills, building more of them has bad consequences as resources that could have gone elsewhere are wasted, and then you have to keep them open to pour steel that nobody needs.
It's when you hit that cut off point that things get tricky. The Soviet Union hit it in the mid 50s. They had plenty of factories, and all the people they needed to work them. But they never made the factories better at making stuff, they just set quotas for how much stuff to make. If they'd had a mechanism to promote Total Factor Productivity, their factories would have been upgraded, their washing machines and cars would have been workable, useful and maybe even desirable objects. And they might still be in business.
In recent times the best performing version of socialism (although one unworthy of the title in many eyes) is the Social Democracy practised in Scandinavia. But they are realists who seldom try to socialise the means of production (Norway's Statoil being the obvious exception). They let Nokia and Saab face the music for bad business decisions whereas socialists in most other countries would have demanded nationalisation. Taxes in the region are eye-wateringly high, but the public services are amazing (it's important that are also far from wasteful - otherwise there would be backlash tbh). Workers who lose their jobs get great retraining, and they never go on strike to prevent job losses the way British, French and American workers so often do.