The Socialist Party is not proposing the abolition of money alone, nor suggesting a return to barter. In fact, the abolition of money alone, would solve no problems and undoubtedly create many. But what we propose is that the whole system of money and exchange, buying and selling, profit-making and wage-earning be entirely abolished and that instead the community as a whole should organise and administer the productions of goods for use only, and the free distribution of these goods to all members of the community according to each person’s needs.
Since money would not exist and wealth could not and would not be measured in terms of money, no person could say that he or she owned a share of such-and -such value in the people’s means of production. In fact all the world’s means of production such as land, factories, mines, machines, etc, would belong to the whole of the people of the world who would co-operate in using them.
The main features of socialism are really quite simple and its principles can be briefly summed by the following:-
Firstly, the new social system must be world-wide. It must be global with the world regarded as one country and humanity as one people.
Secondly, all the people will co-operate to produce and distribute all the goods and services which are needed by mankind, each person contributing willingly and freely, taking part in the way he or she feels they can do best.
Thirdly, all goods and services will be produced for use only, and having been produced, will be distributed, free, directly to the people so that each persons needs are fully satisfied.
Fourthly, all the land, the factories and their machines, the mines and mills and the roads, railwaysthat connect them, everything which humanity needs to produce the means of life, will belong to the whole people. Everybody will be the owner and so no-body will be the owner.
This new social system could start tomorrow once the majority of people have learnt what it means and what is required, and having taken the necessary action to bring it about. Everyone would carry on with their usual work as normal for the time being, except for all those whose occupations being of an unnecessary nature to the new system, who will be rendered superfluous: for example, bank staff, sales-people and accountants etc. These people would, in time, be slotted into productive occupations for which they considered themselves suitable. Insurance actuaries can put their skills to statistical analysis, for instance. People most fitted for as certain task will do it because he or she wants to and not through bureaucratic compulsion or the coercion of necessity.
There would be need for an immediate increase in the volume of production of many kinds of goods to relieve those people who were suffering from the effects of the old system and to supply the needs of those who were in the process of transferring themselves from obsolete to useful occupations. For example, it would be necessary to produce construction materials to the slum-dwellers who lack decent housing and sanitation. For the first time, the conditions would exist for turning into reality the beautiful plans for housing people in real homes instead of the ghettoes or soul-less cities which the present social system has created . These plans exist today - on paper - and will remain so as long as it is necessary to have a financial allocation to the proposals. Released from the necessity of money being apportioned, architects, builders, designers, artists, engineers, and scientists would get together to build towns, homes and work-places which would be a joy to live and work in, a job at which even today they have dreamed about doing. The agricultural parts of the world freed from the restraints of the present “money-based system” would pour out the abundance of nutritious foodstuffs to feed the hungry peoples of the world which does not happen nowadays when food is wasted, dumped and destroyed because they cannot be sold at a profit.
How long this period would last depend on the size and mess left by the obsolete system of ours. However, it shouldn’t take very long since we have seen how quickly backward countries can be developed by modern industrial methods and how a country can recover from a natural disaster or a man-made ones such as the ravages of war. It should not, therefore, take very long for to turn out enough goods to make the whole of humanity comfortable as far as the fundamental necessities of life are concerned. Once we have rid ourselves of the worst of the old order, production would then be adjusted so that enough is produced to satisfy fully the normal needs of everyone, making due provision by storage and stock-piling of reserves for the possible any natural calamities such as floods or drought.
Having produced all that is necessary, all that is now required is to distribute it to the people so that each person’s needs are fully satisfied. In the case of perishable goods it would merely be a matter of transport from factory or farm direct to the local distributing centres, and in the case of other goods to large regional, county or city warehouses. From there it is but a step to the local distributing stores which would stock the whole range of necessary goods - a kind of show-room or warehouse - and from which goods could be available for home-delivery or for collection. The daily, weekly, and monthly and annual needs of any given number of people in a district are easily calculated. Think of the ease it was to have milk delivered to your door-step, once upon a time, so it should not be very difficult to find out what stocks the local stores would require especially in these days of internet shopping and on-line ordering.
We won’t have borders and frontiers in socialism. Goods will be “distributed” not “exchanged”, neither “exported” nor “imported” but instead the whole world’s goods will be pooled together into one to be drawn upon when required. When we say that production will be planned, it is not the intention to create some huge bureaucratic organisation imposing such a plan as in the one-time command economy of the old USSR. The overriding rule will be “fitness for purpose”, and it will be solely that the individual or the community will be concerned with.
This would not be necessary as the process would be very simple. The average requirements of a person are known: say X kilos of this, Y kilos of that; multiply by the number of people in that locality concerned, and you have on an average the total amount necessary to be “shipped” to that place for local distribution. This is what is currently done but in a difficult and complicated way. The grain importer know almost exactly how much wheat they can distribute to flour mills and import accordingly. Why should things be so different in socialism?
The function of similar planning controls took place in war-time as rationing of supplies was required due to the possibility, or the actual existence of a shortage. These controls in socialism will have no need to concern itself with scarcity. Rather the reverse. Its function will be to organise production so that there is no excessive surplus and that distribution so that the demands of the people are satisfied.
Production will be planned but be planned for plenty. The food control in each region will arrange for the satisfaction of the needs of that region and will plan for distribution of its own products in excess of its needs to other regions. There will no doubt be need of a central world organisation - probably a statistical body - to control the whole output of the world, nevertheless we can foresee few difficulties in that direction since we already explained how distribution would proceed from place of production to distribution depot, and from there to local depots.
Goods not required frequently or regularly would be obtained at large warehouse outlets stores These will be placed at points in the various localities according to the needs and convenience of the local population. At these stores people will do their “shopping” without money, much as they do today with ; but of course with this difference. Whereas they would be able to obtain all their requirements without money, most people nowadays are unable to do so because their purchases are limited by the amount of money they get as wages. It is not very different technically from nowadays. Its shows quite clearly we are not planning a Utopia. We are taking the people of today and the world of today and simply changing the methods of working, the organisation - for use instead of for money-making.