Showing posts with label blueprint. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blueprint. Show all posts

Monday, June 03, 2013

A New World From the Old

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.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Socialist "Blueprint" - Part Two

The Buddha said: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”


It is the main job of socialists not to theorise about the exact workings of a future economy, but to educate people on the main principles that might underpin a future communist society in its lower and higher phases, and then give them the tools - in the form of socialist democracy - to do the work themselves. Unless we say more about the goal we are striving for, we relinquish the future to those who insist that all there is an eternity of capitalism. If you dont have an alternative to capitalism you are stuck with capitalism. It is all very well to criticise capitalism - thats easy! - but the really hard thing is to put forward a viable alternative to put in its place. Its only through speculatiing about alternative in more and more details that we can begin to put more flesh on the bare bones on the idea, that we can invest with more credibility. It is important not to confuse two quite different things: 1) A basic statement of the core features of a future communist/socialist society 2) Speculative commentrary about the finer details of life inside such a society. Free access socialism  is the shortest and most effective route to meeting human needs. It immediately cuts out all the kind of work that performs no socially useful fiunction whatsoever but only keeps capitalism ticking over. If anything , given current levels of productivity, We can even envisage there being a shortage of socially useful work for people to do in free access communism. It will be able to produce so much more with so much less

Free access socialism, or higher phase communism as Marx called it, is not some futuristic science fiction scenario but has existed as a potentiality within capitalism itself from at least since the beginning of the 20th century. It is not predicated on some "super-abundance" of wealth being made available to people but rather on the very real possibilty of being able to meet our basic needs.  We dont say free access communism (socialism) will be a world without scarcities. Free access communism is not based on the assumption that we stand on the threshold of some kind of comsumerist paradise in which we can all gratify our every whim. We refer to the very real possiblity of society being able to satisfy the basic needs of individuals today, to enable us all to have a decent life. The elimination of capitalism's massive strucutural waste is the prime source of productive potential; it will make huge amounts of resources available for socially useful production in a society in which the only considertation is meeting human needs, not selling commodities on a market with a view to profit. In higher communism there is no exchange. None whatsoever. Consequently there is no "bartering" of each other's abilities or needs. You freely give according to your abilities and you freely take according to your needs. Its as a simple as that.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Socialist "Blueprint" - Part One

"When one talks to people about socialism or communism, one very frequently finds that they entirely agree with one regarding the substance of the matter and declare communism to be a very fine thing; “but”, they then say, “it is impossible ever to put such things into practice in real life” Engels


“Yes, Socialism is an excellent thing, but, alas! it is Utopia!”

Human society is a particular case in universal evolution. Nothing is eternal and unchangeable. Everything is variable. Every given social form is entirely relative, entirely conditional. Classes and systems succeed each other and differ from each other. For centuries, people have imagined utopias where advances in technology and attitudes create freedom for all. Capitalism distorts the vision of a future society. We can only see a different system in terms of our present one. The first victim of education is imagination. From a very early age every worker is taught to be “practical”, “realistic” and stop “dreaming dreams”. And yet imagination is the very act of being human. Whatever other aspects make human beings different from other animals, the human capacity to imagine is one of the most striking. The stifling of imagination is essential if the owners are to retain their class monopoly of the planet. The great revolutionary act for the working class is to imagine an alternative to present day society. Fantasy is the first act of rebellion said Freud. Let us indulge ourselves here in that most human of all pursuits – let us imagine the future.

A very natural question arises: “If one can visualise a possible future society then one should be expected to tell something of what that society will be like”. And so one should and so one can, but only within certain limits and with many reservations. In making projections into the future one should realise that one is dealing with the realm of speculation. Where a definiteness of opinion can be allowed is in the realm of the actual: what is and what has been. With the future the best we can hope for is to observe trends in the present and the creation and development of potentials, etc. These can be projected as trends into the future scene which may grow to greater potentials and into actualities that may become definite powers, agencies and institutions. Science does not deal in certainties but in high probabilities. It does not depend on clairvoyance or astrological forecasts for its findings. Nor does it admit the determinists, who tell us that this shall be and that shall not be. Yet, notwithstanding what has been stated, one must allow that Science, in its ever restless search for greater knowledge, must permit itself flights of imagination, so to speak, for lacking these it would hardly venture on those essential journeys into the future. In much the same way a socialist speaks of “visualising a future social system”. Science does create for itself what are termed “working hypotheses”; that is to say, it presumes certain things to be so, and for the purpose of establishing a point of departure for definite scientific inquiry it takes its hypothesis as established fact. Of course it recognizes that this at best is speculation but proceeds to then gather data that may prove, or disprove, such hypothesis. In the same way we permit ourselves certain speculations and in so doing “we visualise a future society which will be organised for public good”. But we must never lose sight of the fact that these are speculations, but like the “working hypotheses” of the scientist can be considered valid to the extent that such speculations arise naturally out of our knowledge of the past and the present – and in the absence of any contrary body of facts. The question is thus put “How will production and distribution be carried on in this visualised possible future society?” Socialism is often described in negative terms: a society with no money, no classes, no government, no exploitation. But it is also possible to speak of socialism from a positive viewpoint, emphasising the features it will have, as opposed to those it will not. The future always looks strange when people's minds are imprisoned within the past, but the nearer we get to the next stage in social development the less strange the idea of production for need becomes. There are thousands of workers walking around with ideas in their minds which are close or identical to those advocated by socialists; as that number grows, and as they gather into the conscious political movement for socialism, the doubts of the critics grow fainter and more absurd and what once seemed unthinkable rises to the top of the agenda of history. “Have you not heard how it has gone with many a Cause before now: First, few men heed it; Next, most men condemn it; Lastly, all men ACCEPT it - and the Cause is Won". We must not suppose that socialism is therefore destined to remain a Utopia