A communist state is a system of government whereby wealth is distributed to the people based on need. Production resources are owned and controlled by the government. The government, in turn, is expected to operate for the benefit of the working class.
Although a communist state may allow for the existence of multiple political parties, it is dominated by the Communist Party. There is no meaningful separation of powers between branches of government, and a small group of important Communist Party members operates as the head of state. Because a communist state claims to act on behalf of the people as a whole, dissent is rarely tolerated and can even be viewed as treason. The resulting lack of open political debate, as well as a history of scandal-laden elections, has prompted many historians to view communist states as little more than thinly veiled dictatorships. While economic markets may be allowed to manage themselves to a limited extent, a communist state normally advocates a carefully planned and controlled economy. In theory, maintaining control over the economy limits the extreme greed and exploitation of workers that is prevalent in capitalism. The communist ideal is that everyone works together for the common good.