50 Years Ago: Distribution in Socialist Society

Dear Sir,

Will you kindly supply me with an answer to the following question?

In a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control and distributing wealth should the remuneration of each member of society be determined by the social labour time (accepting skilled labour as a multiple of unskilled labour) given in the service of the community, or should the total social product be equally divided among all the members of the community?
Hoping you will find room to reply to this (to me) most important question.

I remain

L. Thompson.

Under Socialism, neither of the methods of ‘remuneration’ given by Mr. Thompson would prevail. The immense powers of production existing today would, if socially owned, provide plenty for all. When Socialism is established those powers will have reached a much higher degree of proficiency, and the best method of distribution will be to allow each as much as he or she desires of the social products. Each would contribute to the social production according to his capacity, and it would be a waste of time and energy to measure out what each should have. Today. for illustration, many municipalities supply water to their citizens on a ‘rate’ and find it more economical to let them take what they require for domestic purposes than to charge accordingly to quantity used.

Editorial Committee. 


[Socialist Standard, October 1920].