Political spectrum

Left wing:

- believes the role of the state is to intervene in social and economic policy

-believes in the nationalisation of industries

-believes people need assistance- for example welfare state and redistribution of wealth 

-extreme example = Communism (e.g. Stalinist Russia)

-moderate left social policy is described as socialist

Right wing:

-believes the role of the state is not to intervene in social or economic policy

-believes in the independence of business and free market- a laissez-faire ("let them do what they like"), unregulated approach to business

-believes in the "self-made man" - that people should not be assisted and that wealth should not be redistributed

-is often linked to nationalist ideals- the supremacy of the nation above others and a distrust of foreigners (xenophobia)

-extreme example = Fascism (e.g. Mussolini's Italy)

-the free-market economic policy of the right is often described as capitalist

Modern politics:

-modern political parties fit along a scale of left to right, with few in the Western world being at either extreme end

-in the US, the Republicans are more right wing than the Democrats, but both parties are more right wing than the UK Conservative party

- in the UK, from right to left, the order is: UKIP->Conservatives->Lib Dem->Labour->Green->Socialist

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