Monday, November 28, 2022

An Ownerless World


We live in a society in which almost everything we need is owned by someone else. It is their property. We must buy it from them. we are taught from a very age certain basic concepts: theirs; ours; yours; mine; "Don't touch, it doesn't belong to you.", “private property, do not trespass. 

We learn early about ownership. It is time for common property. Or. as a logical consequence, no property. A propertyless society: common ownership — no ownership.

A society of free access to whatever people need is readily achievable by replacing today’s capitalism with a new system where we all collectively and directly own and democratically control the means of production and distribution (i.e., farmland, factories, raw materials, power stations, water supply, roads, railways etc). 

The case for a class-free society, in which production is geared to satisfying human needs, and in which production for sale and the market economy are abolished, is underlined by the fact that modern industry and technology have now been developed to the stage where they could provide an abundance of consumer goods and services for all the people of the world. The problem of production — of how to produce enough for everybody — has been solved. 

If we all directly own and control these assets – rather than them being owned by private individuals and, or, the state – then we will also collectively own all that they provide, resulting in free access to all goods and services. People don’t have to buy what’s jointly theirs already.

Nothing will have a monetary cost with real socialism. In fact, money, having no function at all, will be redundant. People will still work, but the purpose will then be for meeting society’s needs – not making profits for, and rewarding, a tiny minority class who have taken possession of the vital resources and machinery that make life possible.

A society of abundance is not an extension of today’s so-called “consumer society” with its enormous waste of resources. It does not mean people will come to acquire more and more useless and wasteful gadgets. It simply means that people’s material needs, both as individuals and as a community, will be fully satisfied in a rational way.

Contrary to what is popular wisdom and carefully cultivated by the defenders of capitalism, people are not inherently greedy; human needs are not limitless. From a material point of view, human beings need a certain amount and variety of food, clothing and shelter; what this is in individual cases can soon be discovered by the individual self — and would be if there were free access to consumer goods and services.

But, it may be objected, with free access wouldn’t people take more than they needed? But why should they if they can be certain (as they would be given the productive power of modern industry and the common ownership of the means of production) that there would always be enough to go around? When all goods and services are freely available people can be expected to take only as much food, clothing etc. as they feel they need. To take any more would be abnormal and pointless.

Modern industry really can supply enough for everybody to have free access to consumer goods and services.  Capitalism wastes resources.

First, there are the armed forces and armament manufacturing.

Second, there are all the people, buildings and equipment involved with the market and money economy generally: banking, insurance, government pension and tax departments, salesmen, ticket collectors, accountants, cashiers etc. Indeed, it might e said that under capitalism well over half the population are engaged in such unproductive activities.

Third, there is planned obsolescence, the deliberate manufacture of shoddy goods made to break down or wear out after a comparatively short period of time. In a rationally organised society, consumer goods could be made to last; this would mean an immense saving of resources.

With the elimination of these three sources of waste that are inherent in capitalism, enough to adequately feed and house everybody could easily be produced.

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