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Why Are We Waiting?

Socialism is a form of society based on mutual aid, in which the peoples of the world help each other and live amicably. Capitalism is what everyone has now. Whether it is private capitalism, which rules in much of western Europe and in the United States, or state capitalism (the system they have or had in Russia, China, North Korea and Cuba), or an uneasy mixture of the two, everywhere it produces the same results. Great riches for a few, gross poverty for many, and a perpetual money-struggle for many more; along with continual international hostility, leading to wars, unrest, shortages, and occasionally outright famine.

And yet human ingenuity means that the goods which everyone requires – food, clothing, shelter – can be produced and distributed, with the aid of modern methods, in much greater quantities than ever before. So much so that the great current fear of politicians is that there will not be enough ‘work’ for everybody, and that therefore there will be vast quantities of goods which everybody wants, but for which there may not be sufficient economic demand (meaning economic activity is derailed by a slump): unemployed people don’t have enough money to buy the goods which are available.

The people who are now in charge of world affairs – the people who own the factories, the land, and all the world’s productive capacity – together with all the politicians who act for this upper class, and keep this unjust society going, realise that many of the non-owners of the world, the people who do the work, may see the enormous attractions of socialism, and will want to establish it. Some sections of the world’s upper class react to this 'danger' (from their point of view) by virulent hostility. They control virtually the whole of the complex machinery which provides the great mass of the world’s 'information' – the newspapers, the radio stations, the television, the schools, the religions, the universities. All these engines of propaganda are tirelessly working to persuade the rest of us that our present system is not only the very best which has ever existed or ever could exist, but that it is now and always will be completely inevitable.

But the reaction of other sections of the world’s upper class is much more subtle. They claim to be converted to this marvellous new system, and they then have the gall to claim that their form of capitalism – whether private or state – is actually socialism, and the workers of the world should strain all their efforts to support it.

Capitalism, of whatever variety, needs money in order to separate the great mass of people from the goods that they produce, but do not own. Socialism will not need money, nor banks, nor stock exchanges nor hedge funds, nor the financiers who spend their entire lives gambling that this or that product, or this or that country’s currency, will rise or fall in value; in fact, it will not need financial institutions of any kind. Nor will it need wage-labour, nor armies, navies and air-forces, nor police forces, nor those many jobs which simply keep a financial check on everyone else – travel inspectors, bank clerks and so on.

All those whose labour is wasted in this way will be able to join everyone else in producing food, clothing and houses. There is no point in tinkering with an economic system which benefits only the few, rather than the many. We could have a rational society tomorrow, if enough of us wanted it. Why are we waiting?