Capitalism thrives on exploitation. Its logic is that of profit. Its morality is that of self-interest. Socialism, on the other hand, stresses the cooperative rather than the selfish nature of human beings by eliminating the conditions that promote the self-centered thirst for property. The primary contradiction of any capitalist order is between the social character of production and the private appropriation of surplus. Socialism resolves this contradiction through the socialisation of the ownership of the means of production and the development of the productive forces so as to accomplish the eradication of both poverty and inequality. Without a vision of a better world and the organisation that goes with it, the movement of working people will likely go nowhere.
Since private ownership of property produces inequality and feeds on the exploitation of the majority, a socialist society must be based on common ownership of the means of productive property, the operation of which required collective labour power. Hence, under the regime of private ownership, it serves as a means for exploiting others. This concept extended to land and natural resources, the private appropriation of which deprive others of their means to life. Social ownership of the means of social production does not mean no personal possessions or having to share each other’s toothbrush. Personal property is respected, but not ownership of property that is used to exploit others. The goal of socialism is to enable everyone to have access to more personal property such as food, housing, clothing, books and leisure. But to accomplish this, the ownership and control by a few over the means of production must be eliminated.
In such a society, production would be basically oriented to need, not to market demand. This can only be accomplished through rational social planning. A planned economy requires the identification of basic need that must be met, and an efficient distribution system. These can only be achieved through the effective participation of people in the determination of individual needs, In such a society, production would be basically oriented to need, not to market demand.
This can only be accomplished through rational social planning. A planned economy requires the identification of basic need that must be met, and an efficient distribution system. These can only be achieved through the effective participation of people in the determination of needs. Democratic social planning is thus in complete contrast to the anarchy of capitalism where surplus is expropriated from those who produce by the social classes the own the means of production. Under capitalism, control is purely in the hands of the owners of the means of social production.
A socialist society can only be sustained through a stable and adequate resource base. Hence the conservation of natural resources and the maintenance of ecological balance must be integral principles of socialism.
Socialism is aimed at the fullest development if each individual. Socialism having removed unacceptable inequalities, and having removed the greatest barriers to mutual respect and understanding ie private property in the means of production and the wage labour market, a society in which people are motivated for the common good will develop. Socialism, for Marx, is a society which serves the needs of humanity. No one will need to, nor be able to, sell their labour power. This is the minimum criterion for a socialist society, since selling one’s labour power makes it (and its products) into commodities with exchange value. People will nonetheless work, not out of a need to get pay in order to live but to keep society running smoothly.
The capitalist system is irreparable. The capitalist runs the factory to provide himself with profits. This leads to fiercer exploitation of the mass of workers on the one side; and a sharper aggravation of the capitalists’ own problems on the other, it leads to economic crashes, recessions and wars. Socialism is an entirely different system. The workers run the factories themselves. By doing so, they produce useful things instead of profits. They put an end to their own status as commodities. They are no longer bought and sold. And their aim is no longer to produce a surplus value above their own wages. Everything they produce now belongs to all the world. A society of human harmony, freedom, peace, that is socialism. It will eliminate all the narrowness and conflict that now saps mankind’s potentialities. All will gain.
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