All around us we see poverty although we know we could produce abundance. The socialist revolution attains the stage where it can produce sufficient for all. There will be no buying or selling. The revolution abolishes private ownership of the means of production and distribution, and with it goes capitalist business. Personal possession remains only in the things you use. Thus, your watch is your own, but the watch factory belongs to the people. Land, machinery, and all other public utilities will be common property, neither to be bought nor sold. Actual use will be considered the only title-not to ownership but to possession. The organisation of mines, for example, will be in charge of the coal miners, not as owners but as the operating agency. Similarly, will the railway workers run the trains and tracks, and so on. Common ownership, cooperatively managed in the interests of the community, will take the place of personal ownership privately conducted for profit. Money becomes redundant. When the sources of supply, the land, factories, and products become common property, socialised, you can neither buy nor sell. As money is only a medium for such transactions, it loses its usefulness. You can't get anything for it.
How about shirkers and the work-shy? A rational community will find it more practical and beneficial to treat all alike, whether one happens to work at the time or not. For if you refuse to feed a man, for whatever cause, you drive him to theft and other crimes - and thus you yourself create the necessity for courts, lawyers, judge', jails, and warders, the upkeep of whom is far more burdensome.
For this to be possible, socialism must be based on abundance. Production will be organised in such a way that there is plenty of everything for everybody: not only food, houses, railways, and so on, to satisfy material needs; but also schools and theatres, playing-fields, books and concerts so that people can lead full, physical and spiritual lives.
A socialist society must be global. It is not something that can be fully completed in one country, isolated from the rest of the world. On the contrary, it must eventually embrace all the peoples of the world; and in so doing it will put an end to war and because no wars can take place in a truly international society there will be no need for armies.
Because it will be a community of plenty, where there is enough for all and therefore no advantage can be obtained by theft or other forms of crime, all need for courts of justice and police will have disappeared. In other words, the State, which is the sum of all these institutions and organisations, will itself disappear. Instead of one section of society ruling and oppressing another, men will have grown accustomed to living together in society without fear and compulsion. Thus, for the first time, mankind will be united in a worldwide family.
Capitalism is not based on plenty. Though it has developed, for the first time in history, the possibility of providing enough for everybody, it has always condemned a great part of the people to live in poverty and insecurity. This is because capitalist society is a society divided into two main classes: the capitalists, or bourgeoisie; and the working class, or proletariat. The former owns the land, the factories and the machines, and all the means by which wealth is produced (the means of production), and are therefore the ruling class, though they do no productive work themselves. The latter though they do all the real productive work of society, own neither the means of production nor the wealth they create; and, therefore, are forced to sell to the capitalists their ability to work and produce. Numerically, the capitalists are an insignificant minority, while the workers constitute the vast majority of the people. The capitalist class, who decide what is to be produced, base their decisions not on what people need but upon how much profit they will make when the goods are sold in the market. Capitalist society is not a peaceful, harmonious society, but, on the contrary, nationalist in a narrow, selfish way. Just as within each capitalist country the various capitalists and groups of capitalists compete with each other in order to sell their goods at a greater profit, so capitalist countries as a whole enter into competition with other capitalist countries. This competition Inevitably leads to wars: on the one hand to enslave more backward countries; and on the other, to redivide the countries which have been enslaved between the different capitalist countries. Such wars are not in the interests of the working class, but only of the capitalists.
Under capitalism human society is condemned to a series of bitter struggles; class against class, nation against nation, and individual against individual. Inevitably, therefore, the great majority of the people, instead of being inspired by a common social purpose, are forced to struggle for their own individual and selfish interests. Moreover, since capitalism condemns the majority of people to poverty or insecurity, there is a continual waste of human talent and ability.
The first and fundamental contrast between socialist and capitalist society is that with socialism all the means of production and exchange—the land, factories, machines and banks—are owned in common. Thus the exploitation of one class by another is ended. Production is organised to meet the needs of the people and not to provide profit for a single class. It will therefore be possible to plan production, and so to increase enormously the amount produced.