No Shortage of Water – Only a Shortage of Greedy People!
There are three common myths advanced by opponents of our proposal for free access to all that is produced by society. These are:
That there is a limited amount of wealth or ‘cake’ which can be divided up between society. As a result:
Socialism means the division into equal shares of this cake, and
since man is inherently greedy he will naturally want more than his “share.”
These arguments can be shown to be fallacious by looking at them in the context of the current water “shortage”. The word shortage is deliberately placed in inverted commas since, whilst there is a shortage of water compared to previous years, the present problem is merely one of collecting it. In a recent Guardian Special Report (30th July 1976) it was pointed out that an average six times the amount of water consumed, falls on the British Isles. And, as with everything under capitalism, the consideration is one of cost or profit. (A new reservoir scheme in Northumberland alone will cost £60 million.)
To return to myth number one. It is true that under capitalism the amount of wealth produced — be it water, houses or food — is restricted to what the market can afford. But in a Socialist society without money these things will be produced to meet the needs, not of a market, but of society. And since, contrary to myth number two, Socialism does not mean sharing the existing “cake” but taking according to one’s needs, the needs of society will be determined by the needs of the people who make up society.
The third myth, that man is inherently greedy, can be exposed by looking at the results of the emergency water cuts in one of the worst affected areas, south Wales, where a daily 13 hour (7 p.m. to 8 a.m.) cut has been introduced. The Sunday Times (8th August 1976) reported that during the first two days of the cuts, ” . . . consumption went up with a bang because people filled their baths and every tin they could put their hands on every night.”
But: “On the third day demand dropped when people realised they were not using the stored water and began to syphon off a more realistic amount to see them through the night. After three weeks the saving has risen to 30 per cent.” It would seem therefore that the only shortage is a shortage of greedy people!
In a world where enough wealth can and will be produced to satisfy everyone’s needs people will take what they require as easily, freely and unconsciously as they (normally) take a glass of water.