Different people mean different things when they use the word "socialism". The same word describes a welfare state for some, and pure communism for others.

In classic socialism private property is abolished and the economy is somehow directed by the vague if lofty principles of social justice, need and ability. Commissars replace markets. In the 30's both Communism and Facism both embraced national socialism.

In "fuzzy" socialism, appropriation of private goods is not necessary or even considered to be good form. We are a democracy after all.

Instead of confiscation, today's socialist is happy to have complete regulatory control over property and assets and leave it at that. Its' cleaner, easier, less expensive in the long run(for administrators at least) and creates fewer hard feelings. Best of all, it can be applied gradually - (it's the old "frog-in-slowly-heating-water" trick!).

Some of the more recognizable elements of modern socialism include management of health care procedures and prices, the bankrupt Social Security system, massive welfare for citizens, massive corporate welfare for patrons, wage and price controls, trade regulations, manipulation of currency through a central authority.

Today, while the US and Europe continue to embrace socialist policies and economics, former socialist economies - especially China - are experiencing unprecedented liberties and economic strengthening by allowing western free market conditions to flourish.

Free Markets and the West.
Some things need to plainly stated:
We do not have "capitalism" in the US today, we have mercantilism, the marriage of government and business. Mercantilism is a form of Facism, the difference being whether business or government holds the whip hand over the other. For most citizens, which one is on top is not terribly important; in either case, government and business work in concert for their own aims.

We also do not have "Free markets" but rather a plethora of regulations, entry barriers, licensing, oversight, officially sanctioned monopolies and outright control of financial and business matters.

The fundamental control of the US economy by the Federal Reserve, and the detrimental wealth-transfering effects of a deliberate policy of inflation and devaluation that benefit only a limited number of economic sectors, is yet another indication of the distance we have come from actual free market conditions.