Communism and totalitarianism

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What is the difference between communism and Totalitarianism?

They are about different things. Communism is mostly about how wealth should be distributed (the government owns all means of production, controls prices and wages, etc.) Totalitarianism is mostly about abuse of political power and oppression of dissidence; the incumbent government aggressively seeks obedience and punishes disobedience. So, while most Communist states were totalitarian to a varying degree (after you gained control of the economy, shutting up those who disagree with you is easy), there were and are plenty of non-Communist totalitarian states (Italy, Germany and Japan before 1945, post-1979 Iran, and the Abacha government in Nigeria come to mind).

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