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Editorial: People not Profits

Things are not produced today to meet people's needs. They are produced to make a profit. And that's the cause of the problems we face.

Under the profit system profits always come first. Before providing basic services like health care and transport, before improving conditions at work, and before protecting the environment.

It’s profits first, people second.

Under the profit system production is in the hands of profit-seeking business enterprises—whether state or privately owned—all competing to maximise the rate of return on the money invested in them. Decisions as to what to produce and how much, and how and where to produce it, are not made in response to people's needs but in response to market forces.

The health and welfare of the workforce and the effects on the environment take second place. This is why at work we suffer speed-up, pain, stress, boredom, overwork and accidents. This is why we have to work long hours, shiftwork and nightwork.

This is why the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe are all polluted. This is why the Earth's non-renewable mineral and energy resources are plundered. This is why natural balances are upset and the environment destroyed.

The profit system can't help doing this. It's the only way it can work. Which is why it must go.

What's the alternative?

One thing is certain. The Tories, LibDems and Labour—and now UKIP—have nothing to offer. They all support the profit system and are only squabbling over which of them should have a go at running it.

If we are going to improve things we are going to have to act for ourselves, without professional politicians or leaders of any kind. We are going to have to organise ourselves democratically to bring about a society geared to serving human needs not profits.

Production to satisfy people's needs. That's the alternative. But this is only going to be possible if we control production and the only basis on which this can be done is common ownership and democratic control. In a word, socialism.

We are talking about a world community without frontiers. Only on this basis can world poverty, hunger and the destruction of the environment be ended.

The socialist alternative to the profit system is:

Common ownership: no individuals or groups of individuals have property rights over the natural and industrial resources needed for production.

Democratic control: everybody has an equal say in the way things are run including work, not just the limited political democracy we have today.

Production for use: goods and services produced directly to meet people's needs, not for sale on a market or for profit.

Free access: all of us have access to what we require to satisfy our needs, not rationed as today by the size of our wage packet or State handout.

To publicise the alternative to capitalism of a world socialist society is why we are contesting the European and local elections this month. Our manifestos can be found on 10 to 12 and our activities in connection with them on page 6.