The Socialist Party is frequently criticised for not commenting at length about how a socialist economy would operate. We think it would be essentially speculative. Nevertheless, the Socialist Party is able to broadly outline some generalisations about socialism. It will be an economic system based upon conscious planning of production by associated producers (not by the State), made possible by the abolition of private property of the means of production. As soon as that private property is completely abolished, goods produced cease to be commodities. Value and exchange value disappear. Production becomes production for use, for the satisfaction of needs, determined by the conscious choice of the associated producers themselves. No incentive will be needed anymore to induce people to work. ‘Labour’ will have transformed itself into meaningful many-fold activity, making possible all-round development of each individual. The division of labour between manual and intellectual labour, the separation of town and countryside, will wither away. Humankind will be organised into a free federations of communes.
The world to-day is in the hands of billionaires and CEOs of the biggest corporations, the biggest banks, the biggest hi-tech companies; in short, owners or controllers of Big Business. These billionaire capitalists, not only own or control the chief means whereby we work and live but, in fact, control the whole governing machine. They pull the strings, and politicians are their puppets. And they use their power to make themselves richer and richer at our expense. They hire workers to make profit out of their labour; their capitalist production is for profit, not for use: and to get more profit they slash wages, carry through speed-ups and worsen conditions. This mad race for profit always ends in an economic crisis, and then they pass the burden to try to get out of the crisis on to us.
Poverty, insecurity and hunger make their inroads in the homes of millions of workers: low wages, intensified work to the point of physical and mental exhaustion, is the lot of the workers increases in the number of industrial accidents, more sickness and a lower life-expectancy amongst working people. This is the world to-day for working men, women and their families.
But this is not all. Capitalist war is the attempt of each national capitalist group—British, Russian, French, American, Chinese, etc. to beat its competitors on the world market and to win bigger and bigger profits for its own ruling class. Commercial rivalry becomes fiercer and fiercer and this competitive struggle is carried out, firstly by economic measures, and then finally by war. For capitalism war is inevitable.
There is no need for a single worker to be overworked or in dread of losing his or her job; no reason why a worker should lack the necessities of life. All over the world millions of workers are year by year coming to realise these facts and to see that nothing except the existence of capitalism prevents them from building up for themselves a decent and secure world. Everywhere the workers are becoming less and less willing to put up with an entirely unnecessary state of scarcity and deprivation. They are showing themselves more and more determined to insist upon their right to food, housing and healthcare for themselves and their families. But to get this, capitalism must be overthrown. To get this is only possible by the building up of socialism, giving peace and prosperity, happiness and new life to the whole working population.
It will mean that the capitalists will be deprived of their ownership and control of the factories and land, mills and mines, communications and transport. All these means of production which they have used and misused only to pile up profits for themselves and poverty for the workers will be taken from them. Socialism will end production for profit and will carry on production for use. The needs of all will be met, and new needs and pleasures now denied to the people will be created and satisfied by a socialist organisation and extension of production. All production and distribution as well as the development of all social services will be organised on a definite plan. A thorough-going reorganisation of our entire economic and social life on a new basis will be required.
We have to-day ample resources for producing all the things we need. Today we are both unemployed and unable to get the things we need. The two things go together. For we are unemployed because the capitalists want to have their profits and will not let us produce what we need. Destitution and unemployment can only be cured simultaneously by taking over and running the industries. The workers will naturally produce far better and more willingly under their own management than they do now. For the first time, the workers will know that greater productivity of the new advanced technologies will no longer be a threat to their livelihood but will make it possible to raise the whole standard of living and shorten the hours of labour. Not only economic security, not only ever increasing comfort and leisure, not only the day’s labour turned from useless grinding toil into useful work—but a far wider prospect is opened up. These new material conditions will be but the basis for the most rapid intellectual and cultural development of the whole population.
This will be a new world and it is for us to bring this new world into being.