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Abolishing Economics


The motivating force of the capitalist system is the never-ending quest for profits and accumulation. It must continually expand. It impacts on every aspect of people's lives. We can’t just reform the current system. There can be no lasting solution to the world’s environmental crises as long as capitalism remains the social system on this planet.

People demanding change are not united in focusing on the political economics at the root of most global problems but they are moving in that direction. This shows that many can understand the situation. Because of the climate crisis people are actually questioning capitalism, because they’re being forced to. Capitalist "truths" are being delegitimatised by experience on the ground. People are talking, reading, and thinking. Many people understand that we have reached a critical turning point that demands radical change in how and why we produce for a ever-contracting minority which amasses incredible wealth while the vast majority are approaching poverty. How do we unite in a way where we keep the diversity of multiple movements but still work together in solidarity? The answer is a common vision. If a movement does not have some vision of what it wants to become, it cannot know whether it is heading in the right direction or not. Capitalism constantly throws up alternative futures for itself. There is so much mythologised that ignorance is more common than knowledge even among the best informed.

The science of ecology gives us powerful tools for understanding how nature functions — as interrelated, integrated ecosystems. It gives us essential insights into humanity’s impact on the environment, but it lacks a serious political social analysis. There exists a reformist fallacy that capitalists foreseeing an environmental apocalyptic future would stop investing their capital in unethical enterprises. Capitalists are the servants (“the functionaries” as Marx described them) of capital. They cannot but accumulate more and more capital: that is their function. Let us suppose that many capitalists do perceive that their interests are facing an ecological threat. What good would it do them to withdraw their capital? The capitalists are incapable of class unity, and no sooner would one withdraw investment than another would take his place as a new functionary of capital.

Socialism can make an ecologically balanced world possible, which is impossible under capitalism. The needs of people and the planet will be the driving forces of the economy, rather than profit. It will set about  restoring ecosystems and re-establishing agriculture and industry based on environmentally sound principles. The only way we can change the world is to be fighting for the goal of socialism today. The longer we take to get started, the harder it will be. We present our objective as an immediate solution to the problems of the present and not as a futuristic utopia. All serious socialists do this. What on earth would be the point of proposing an alternative to capitalism which will only be capable of liberating workers after they are dead? 

It is frequently claimed, not just by apologists for capitalism but even avowedly socialists, that it is impossible to have an economy which excludes such things as wages, prices and money, and that any society’s economy is necessarily going to include those concepts, particularly wages and prices. Regardless, it is well documented by anthropologists, that there has been many societies which has not involved a monetary economy – in fact some still exist even today in isolated parts of the world. Dollars and cents and price tags on goods are not an intrinsic part of the human essence as claimed. 

The Socialist Party desires to abolish economics. No exchange, no economy. socialism is more than just not an exchange economy; it is not an economy at all, not even a planned economy. Economics, or political economy as it was originally called, grew up as the study of the forces which came into operation when capitalism, as a system of generalised commodity production, began to become the predominant mode of producing and distributing wealth. The production of wealth under capitalism, instead of being a direct interaction between human beings and nature, in which humans change nature to provide themselves with the useful things they need to live, becomes a process of production of wealth in the form of exchange value. Under this system, production is governed by forces which operate independently of human will and which impose themselves as external, coercive laws when men and women make decisions about the production and distribution of wealth. In other words, the social process of the production and the distribution of wealth becomes under capitalism an economy governed by economic laws and studied by a special discipline, economics.

Socialism is not an economy, because, in re-establishing conscious human control over production, it would restore to the social process of wealth production its original character of simply being a direct interaction between human beings and nature. Wealth in socialism would be produced directly as such, i. e. as useful articles needed for human survival and enjoyment; resources and labour would be allocated for this purpose by conscious decisions, not through the operation of economic laws acting with the same coercive force as laws of nature. Although their effect is similar, the economic laws which come into operation in an exchange economy such as capitalism are not natural laws, since they arise out of a specific set of social relationships existing between human beings. By changing these social relationships through bringing production under conscious human control, socialism would abolish these laws and so also the economy as the field of human activity governed by their operation. Hence socialism would make economics redundant.

What we are saying, in effect, is that the term exchange economy is a tautology in that an economy only comes into existence when wealth is produced for exchange. It is now clear why the term planned economy is unacceptable as a definition of socialism. 

Socialism is not the planned production of wealth as exchange value, nor the planned production of commodities, nor the planned accumulation of capital. That is what state capitalism aims to be. Planning is indeed central to the idea of socialism, but socialism is the planned (consciously coordinated) production of useful things to satisfy human needs precisely instead of the production, planned or otherwise, of wealth as exchange value, commodities and capital. In socialism wealth would have simply a specific use value (which would be different under different conditions and for different individuals and groups of individuals) but it would not have any exchange, or economic, value.



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