I'm asking in the ideal sense of the words. I don't believe either ideal is practical because of human nature. I have a strong preference towards one ideal though. And I know those with the preference towards the other ideal will hold me back and vice versa. So I'm not asking which you think we should try to implement. I'm asking which society would be better off in the long run, in your opinion, between these two philosophies if they were able to be implemented in their ideal states.
So to better explain each (though I feel I understand it better than I can explain it, I'll attempt to):
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need: This would mean that all people produce at a level that they are able. That in the ideal world, all people are working and taking back from society what they need. If society produces a surplus to make life more luxurious, all people get a fair share in those extras. Because each job is crucial for society to continue and each life is to be valued equally, the work therefore rewarded equally. The school janitor gets as much from society as the brain surgeon.
The ideal supported by this philosophy is everyone contributing as much as they can to society and everyone is rewarded equally by society, but it does restrict society from valuing the worth of the services or goods received (no premiums or discounts) and it does restrict the individual from producing less than they want to if they should choose to. They lose that freedom
From each according to his ability and choice to act upon that ability, to each according to his production: You choose to work if you want. You choose what job you take, often times based on your ability, but if you choose to, you can work under your qualifications and therefore receive less too. If you aren't able to work in a job that pays more than $10/hour (or choose to work in that job even if you could be doing more), then you don't get the extra luxuries because the value you add to society simply isn't as much as a doctor (for example) who would get those extras. So in this case, society decides your worth and you also have a choice of your worth. So if you produce in a way that society rewards you with $500k/year, then so be it (assuming no corruption, etc. - speaking in strict ideals)
The ideal supported by this philosophy is freedom of choice, by society and the individual, but it does restrict the individual by his ability.
I ask because I truly think people are leaning towards the Marxist ideal if it were truly possible. But I'm not sure. Maybe that's just the way that it feels. PersonallyI would much rather restrict a person by his ability (and therefore societal reward) and give him the freedom to make a (sometimes limited) choice rather than restrict a person's and society's choice to how much each person receives.
But it all comes down to what you prioritize more.
Please note!: I am not asking which is more practical. Or which will solve our nation's problems. I'm asking which is the 'better' society if they were both implemented ideally. This is a true hypothetical as neither can be implemented ideally.