Socialism portrayed itself as a system that ensured social justice and equality. The Party-State would secure full employment and take care of the population’s basic needs by providing universal education, health care, subsidized housing, and cultural goods (Kornai 1992). Whereas actual socialist systems did not erase inequalities (Szelényi 1978), scholars overwhelmingly agree that social inequality was substantially lower during socialism than inequality in other systems at comparable levels of industrial development (Boswell and Chase-Dunn 2000, Heyns 2005). Indeed, one of the very few quantitative cross-national studies of income inequality that includes socialist countries fi nds that the presence of a Marxist/Leninist regime signifi cantly reduces inequality (Alderson and Nielsen 1999).