Tackling objections and misconceptions about free access and a world without money

July 2024 Forums World Socialist Movement Tackling objections and misconceptions about free access and a world without money

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  • #81036
    J Surman
    Participant

    It seems particularly relevant now when so many are focussed on ‘the economy’ and all the talk about ‘austerity measures’ that we do what we can to clear up misunderstandings and counter objections which come from those misunderstandings.

    Re the impacts on the whole of the lives of our class worldwide: job cuts, pay cuts, the whole question of pensions, rising price of food etc., massive increase in costs for higher education. In general the shrinking of the weekly/monthly pay in terms of what it can provide. In a nutshell ‘more month than money’. More and more people struggle to or can’t get by because of the reduction in buying power for the world’s majority – it’s MONEY (or lack of) that’s the problem.

    I’m thinking that now is a perfect time to put together an issue of the Socialist Standard, and/or a separate booklet, approaching the subject from as many different angles as we can come up with to outline what the effects of removing money from the system will mean for us all, what a positive impact it will have.

    I’ll include a few possible categories, in no particular order:

    – the removal of pecuniary advantage achieved at a stroke

    – record unemployment turned around to include all as contributors and all the things needing to be done within our smaller/ larger and international communities

    – housing crisis solved/homelessness/empty property/

    – poverty recognised for what it is, necessary to the capitalist system but totally illogical in socialism

    – no need for pensions, benefits, contributions for health, insurance of any kind, etc.

    – climate change/use of fossil fuels/alternative energy sources – approached from the socialist angle not the entrenched must make profit angle

    – land grab, the landless and agriculture in general

    – art and culture

    – free access, in all its meanings

    With the different approach in style of our contributors, who could opt for a subject of their choice, or even several contributers submitting on the same topic, we could come up with something really positive to add to the debate that’s sorely needed. It would be great to see how long the list of topics could be. What do you think? 

    #87530
    DJP
    Participant
    J Surman wrote:
    …More and more people struggle to or can’t get by because of the reduction in buying power for the world’s majority – it’s MONEY (or lack of) that’s the problem….

    This all seems a bit cart before the horse to me. The problems you mention are the result of private ownership of the means of production and production for profit. Money is the RESULT of such an exchange economy and likewise the rendering obsolete of money will be the RESULT of common ownership and production for use.The solution is not to ‘remove money from the system’ but to transform the basis of the system itself, one of the effects of which will be the end of exchange value and money.We need to be really careful and precise in our expressions. “Abolish money” isn’t a meaningful phrase (though on the other hand “abolish the money SYSTEM” is to me ok since it emphasizes the systematic aspects of it all)

    #87531
    J Surman
    Participant

    Absolutely. I agree with you.What Im interested here though is how to demonstrate the many benefits of a socialist system, how to get across to the many who can’t or won’t contemplate how it will be without money as this seems to be a common stumbling block. I was trying to express it (it’s money, or the lack of it–) in the way that many out there see it.

    #87526
    DJP
    Participant

    OK. I’ve been having online discussions with some ‘Occupy’ people about this recently. I think the danger of saying that problems are caused by money (or the lack of it) is that that the most logical conclusion following on from this statements would be to just have more money.I agree we have to put our arguments forward in a way that can be easily understood. But over simplifying things always runs the risk of being misunderstood.

    #87527
    J Surman
    Participant

    I was hoping to attract some interest in exploring this subject. When we’re talking to anyone who is ignorant of what socialism is, or who is uninformed/misinformed it seems a good idea to try and come at it form a standpoint from which they identify. If someone suggests the answer to not enough money is to have more, there’s a way in to talking about why that isn’t logical, why that can’t work. Most people haven’t come across the concept of a moneyless world so it’s a huge shift in thinking that’s required both on their part and on ours if we’re to put it to them in a way they will want to consider it.

    #87528
    DJP
    Participant

    I’m not sure if I’ve made my mind up about this but maybe starting from the point of ‘abolishing money’ is the wrong way to go. It’s like your presenting the conclusion first when really you should be explaining the arguments that led to it.There’s a common cause to all the problems you mention, perhaps showing this in an accessible manner is the way to go. There’s a new book out called ‘The Housing Monster’ this starts from looking at the process of how houses are constructed then spreads out into a full description / critique of capitalism, now the book will have it’s faults no doubt (I’ve only read exerts as yet) but perhaps this is a good angle to adopt. Start from a commonly experienced social problem and show how the causes run back to the same thing…Anyway, just throwing some ideas around.

    #87529
    J Surman
    Participant

    If you look back I didn’t say ‘abolish’ money. I don’t promote the abolition of money but socialism is a move to a totally differently structured system/world society which will have overcome the need for money (because of common ownership etc etc etc –  don’t need to go into all that just now). So I see it more as not ‘presenting the conclusion first’ but offering ways of visualising the alternative, ie socialism. We’re often accused of spending more time criticising capitalism than laying out what socialism is and this would be one way of countering that. In explaining how , when money is not a consideration, housing will be affected, it can include all manner of arguments: the relations of building labour with capital – as covered in ‘The Housing Monster’ plus things starting from free access to housing for all, dealing with substandard housing, suitable infrastructure, discussion about urban v rural, etc etc.”Start from a commonly experienced social problem and show how the causes run back to the same thing…” you wrote – yes, this is pretty well what I was suggesting. Cause – capitalist system: effects – numerous and negative: remedy – a socialist revolution. Thanks for the ideas you were ‘just throwing around’.RE ‘The Housing Monster’ I read it soon after you’d posted about it a couple of weeks ago(?). It raises some very good points, as do the others on the site. http://prole.info/   Well worth a look as are the various other pages . I’m not good with labels and don’t like attaching them but I suppose this one is anarcho-communist. Please put me straight if I’m wrong.

    #87532
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    J Surman wrote:
    RE ‘The Housing Monster’ I read it soon after you’d posted about it a couple of weeks ago(?). It raises some very good points, as do the others on the site. http://prole.info/   Well worth a look as are the various other pages . I’m not good with labels and don’t like attaching them but I suppose this one is anarcho-communist. Please put me straight if I’m wrong.

     Not much better with links either! :)http://www.prole.info/

    #87533
    DJP
    Participant
    J Surman wrote:
    I’m not good with labels and don’t like attaching them but I suppose this one is anarcho-communist. Please put me straight if I’m wrong.

    Not sure, but you’re definitely in the right ball park. They / she / he might instead use the label ‘libertarian communist’ the site libcom.org uses artwork from the same artist, not that that necessarily means anything. The pamphlets on the site are from a variety of people / positions.

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