1990s >> 1994 >> no-1082-october-1994

World Without Money…

You must be joking! It’ll never work. Where’s the incentive? What about greed? How could you make it work? It’s a theory, it’s never been tried; at least we know that capitalism, warts-and-all, works.

Not one, but a combination of the above objections to socialism is responsible for the fact that we still live under capitalism today. Socialism is a co-operative system which relies on the agreement of the majority of men and women throughout the world. For them to agree and agree to co-operate, they first have to know about it. Unfortunately the Socialist Party and its Companion Parties in other parts of the world do not have the resources of the major political parties or organised religion to spread our message, but we use our voice and whatever means are available to us to do so. We are fully aware that until we do, we cannot achieve the sane world where everything is produced in sufficient quantities to satisfy people’s needs and not for profit for the minority. Now to address the objections made above.

Duncan is a gardener. He works hard but does not get paid. Neither does Lesley, who is a printer. An interesting article in Choice (July 1994) tells of the spread of LETS (Local Exchange Trading System), an arrangement where money is only used for dealing with “outsiders” and the community operates through a complicated barter system. People go on a register listing their special skills or goods and earn points which are registered centrally for work done. When they need goods, they “pay” from their accumulated credits; even “overdrafts” can be arranged in case of need. The Socialist Party does not advocate such a system, or barter of any kind. What this community (like other co-operative ventures operating without money within their communities) proves is that the contention “no money, no incentive” isn’t true and that satisfaction of doing needed work, well done, is incentive enough.

Nor is it sensible to suggest that, with things freely available, people will be greedy and take more than they need. Under capitalism we are constantly brainwashed to judge people by their possessions; hence the urge by so many to prove their “worth” by what they can acquire. The argument fails when that “value” judgement us removed. For instance, people with free travel passes under capitalism do no spend their days making unnecessary journeys.

How will goods be ordered and distributed? We don’t know how far technology will have developed when socialism is established, but capitalism’s methods today point the way. When you go through the check-out at the supermarket (note: they are no longer referred to as “tills”) the bar code on each item is read by the computer, which feeds the information direct to the warehouse for replacement. The computer at the warehouse automatically arranges for this, at the same time checking stock and reordering if necessary; and so on down the chain to the raw materials suppliers.

At the check-out the prices of all the items in your basket are added up and you either pay with notes and coins or get it charged on your plastic credit card. In a socialist society there will be no need for this last stage. The last objection should perhaps not be taken too seriously; “socialism is a theory . . . ” For thousands of years to the present day, millions upon millions of people have believed in different versions of “pie in the sky when you die” and have lived their lives accordingly. No-one has ever been there; no-one has ever seen it. What we propose is more believable, sensible and achievable.

Eva Goodman

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