What is the significance of Socialism?

Socialism essentially means the government is responsible for the peoples well being. The most extreme form of socialism is communism, However most advanced societies, be it republics or democracies, have some degree of socialism in there structure. i.e. medicare or welfare in the United States. (Public schools, US postal service, interstate highway construction, and just recently the Public healthcare option)

The problem many people have with the possibility of too much socialism is the fear that there would be less independence and freedom to excel in such a regulated market. so no invisible hand, or "laissez-faire" free market. People also fear that pure socialism curbs ingenuity because there is less motive to be entrepreneurial if you are being taken care of by the government, or if you do not profit from being entrepreneurial.