Letters: It is money that impedes everything
It is money that impedes everything
I have been wondering whether to renew my subscription to the Socialist Standard for the coming year, for there are many differences between your views and mine on how to achieve a just and equitable society. For instance, the expressions that you use. such as capitalists, workers, class, are generally regarded as out-of-date concepts and are likely to lose support. Most of us have savings, however little, that have to be invested somewhere if they are not to lose value because of inflation, so we all are capitalists. Again, what is a worker? Few of us slave in a foundry any more. Are we to be excluded from your endeavours?
Even if elected on such a ticket, your parliamentary candidates are unlikely to have any effect on policy or public opinion, and they would only be endorsing the concept of government. Our aim, surely, is to achieve freedom from control by fallible leaders, whatever their ideology.
No-one is better or worse than anyone else. We are no more than the product of our heredity and of the environment in which we find ourselves. If humans are to change, if societies are to eliminate anti-social behaviour, the environment in which they exist must be changed first. That is our task, but change itself requires an atmosphere of reason, an education system that questions, that stimulates interest and enquiry and recognises that concern for our fellows is the greater self-interest.
Unemployment, capitalism, bureaucracy, poverty, are no more than effects. We need to look at fundamental causes. It is claimed that money is the catalyst without which the productive process would collapse in chaos. Yet in reality it is money that impedes everything that we aim to do. The amount of money that we desire to use, whether for education, health, transport or anything else has to be restricted in order to maintain its value. We are so conditioned by it that we cannot imagine society functioning without it. It is all-pervasive, all-corrupting. No socialist society, no conceivable economic or political system, could survive long enough for it to wither away, and since it creates deprivation as well as wealth, it must create conflict also. Only by first eliminating the money system will we achieve a just and stable society.
We need to recognise that we all differ from each other, have different desires and aspirations, so that what we think of as equality depends upon the view of the individual. To take from one to give to another— or even to the community at large—merely provokes confrontation. Such confrontation could be avoided only in an economy that did not impose an artificial scarcity on human and material resources, and in which production would have no limit.
We need to work together to eliminate the underlying fundamental concepts that impede us in everything we do. Fighting each other, allowing ourselves to be distracted by differences of approach and to quarrel over their effects is self-defeating.
Only by co-operation, reason, debate and listening to others rather than deriding or condemning them, are we likely to achieve our objectives.
So I shall be renewing my subscription not because I agree with all you say but because it is the better world that matters, not differences among ourselves.
We talk about class because this is the basic feature of present-day society. The productive resources of society are owned and controlled by a minority class and are run for their benefit
Figures (produced by the Inland Revenue and the Statistical Office) show that the ownership of income-yielding financial assets—which are ownership rights over productive resources—is concentrated in the hands of this minority. The top five percent own over 50 percent which is as much as the other 95 percent of us added together. Every one of them owns on average about twenty times as much as everyone else.
This enables them to live on the unearned income their ownership rights provide. Their wealth gives their children privileged access to the top posts in industry and the state, where they are enabled to enjoy bloated “salaries” which bear no relation to the work they do and are in fact a way of giving them a share of the profits produced by the useful majority in society. They are the Establishment, the ruling class, the capitalists.
The other class is made up of the rest of us, who are forced by economic necessity to seek an employer in order to get a living. This is irrespective of the sort of job or type of work we do or indeed irrespective of whether or not we are actually able to find an employer. So we are talking about office workers, civil servants, hospital workers, salespeople, even managers and supervisors, and the unwaged as well as miners, bricklayers and foundry workers—in all, well over 90 percent of the population in an industrialised and urbanised country like Britain.
There is no such thing as a middle class. The so-called middle class is merely a part of the working class. Having a small income from your savings to top up your pension doesn’t make up a capitalist. For that you would need to own at least £250,000 in addition to your house—which is the capitalists’ own definition of a capitalist, being the requirement to be a Lloyd’s Name.