Sigh. "Socialism in particular fails because the only motivation is to improve the lives of others."
You need to go talk to people who work in a co-op business. A co-op is The People Owning The Means Of Production. Socialism. And it's awesome. It's not about making life better for others. It's about making life better for YOU. Imagine if you can, owning part of your workplace. Being able to have a say in how it's run. Being able to share in the gains. That's a LOT better (and a little riskier) than being a wage slave like you are now. It's also Totally Worth It.
I hate it when people make sweeping generalizations about something they have no practical knowledge of. Slashdot Armchair Philosophers, oh, socialism fails... You should go experience it and see just how awesome it can be.
Also, socialism isn't the best way. Neither is pure capitalism. The countries that have the happiest people in the world are mixed economies, and embrace that idea. Anyway.... I just wanted to gripe.