1) Original meaning: central control of the means of production.
2) Current meaning: redistributive democracy -central ownership of the profits from individual actions.
The first It has a bad name because:
In the name of socialism nearly a hundred million people died (disruption of incentives). Because it’s economically impossible (economic calculation debate). And because it held people in poverty.
The second is just a slow means of achieving the first.
Small homogenous Germanic countries who’s strategic needs are subsidized by the united states or whose economies are subsidized by natural resources appear to be egalitarian. (It’s called ‘getting to denmark’ in political economy.) This is because they have a rigid normative structure and the different groups are not large enough to create a bloc. The usa is a large heterogeneous economy with many factions in direct opposition, and unenforced norms, racial and cultural conflicts, facing both internal and external strategic threats that subsidizes much of the world, and where access to government allows access to power over other groups. The USA also has dramatic redistribution through inefficient benefit programs rather than directly via money. People are not charitable to others who they feel they are in competition with.
(And before you get too impressed with those countries go live there for a year. It is extremely expensive and you will be able to consume only a fraction of what you do in the states.)
It is entirely possible to have a great deal of redistribution if norms are consistent and there is no access to poliitcal power. But that means ‘small is good’. And ‘small is good’ is what you should learn from the nordic countries.