A simpler way of doing things

Capitalism makes arranging production more complicated than it need be.

We humans have always worked to support our life; worked to catch, grow and produce our food, to make our shelter, our clothes and our tools, in general to satisfy our needs. In groups tasks were shared and communities developed by dividing labour cooperatively according to expertise and free will. All worked both for themselves and the common good whilst partaking of the benefits accrued.

We still work to support our life but now money is a crucial factor, an artificial intermediary between labour and the satisfaction of needs, enabling labour to be exchanged indirectly for all manner of goods and services. We now require money whether working within the community or outside it. We do our work as farmer, builder, designer, cook or computer operator using our particular skill, the difference now being we are probably working away from our community and contributing little to it except socially in our spare time and often it isn’t the precise community of our choice but the one we can afford in monetary terms. Moreover, we work most of our life for an employer or series of employers who pay us more on paper than our net salary or take home pay with the remainder being passed on to various government agencies which, in turn, give us some back as health care, unemployment pay and various benefits and pensions as time, situation or entitlement dictate.

Without workers there is neither a product nor a service to sell and therefore no money is generated for the system, no money is generated to produce profit for the capitalists. Also, without worker input neither national nor local governments have money of their own. They are financed only by what they collect from employers in direct taxation and deductions for employees gross pay and from indirect taxes. The tax on employers comes from profit remaining after paying their bills and invoices for utilities, goods, raw materials, other overheads and the wages bill, all of which profit has been generated by the workforce. The deductions from employees’ pay also comes from the surplus generated by the workers but it forms a part of the overall sum that the employer is prepared to pay for the labour rendered.

Net pay is what is deemed sufficient and appropriate according to the type of employment. The difference in amount between gross and net pay, that which is utilised as deductions, (all of which is paid by the employer), is a deal struck between government and employers with some negotiation by trades unions on behalf of the employees. (The employee always striving for a larger remuneration in opposition to the employer looking to reduce it as much as possible.)

Gross pay, to a certain extent, appeases workers because they perceives themselves to be earning more than they are, although they generally believe they are being robbed on a regular basis, seeing a considerable amount clawed back from what they maintain they have rightfully earned. Statistics show that what is transferred from gross pay to the Inland Revenue and the National Insurance scheme more or less goes back to workers as various benefits and payments.

Defence, policing, health, education and roads, and the wages of the whole hierarchy of “public servants” from Prime Minister and Lord of the Admiralty to lowly office clerk, ambulance driver and teaching assistant all come ultimately from the surplus workers generate for their employers as profits.. The same goes for all the buildings and upkeep of the same, for the heating, lighting, cleaning, furnishings and all materials, vehicles – in fact everything used in their operations from stealth fighter to paper clip.

Today’s capitalist world is much more complicated and intertwined than that of our ancestors. We rely on international trade for many commodities and use ultra-sophisticated technology to allow us to track transactions worldwide, technology which, in theory, should simplify most matters, yet somehow we have become entangled in an overcomplicated web from which it is difficult to see a way out. Some say there is no way out of the present system. Our worker may disagree. If  workers accept that they have to work in order to live their life – and the vast majority do – does that mean that we also have to accept the incredible complications that capitalism and working for money involve (and that have certainly led to the miserable times many workers are now suffering in the latest financial crisis)? Can we not simply produce things directly for use, working for ourselves and the common good too, knowing that others will be doing the same?

Those who work – those who produce the useful things and provide the useful services – are the lynch pin, the vital component. They are indispensable. The capitalist, the employer is dispensable. Removing layers of unnecessary top-heavy bureaucracy, removing any necessity for taxation by removing the blight of money is the far simpler way. The nurse will tend the sick, the plumber will ensure no leaks, the farmer will provide food and the unemployed will no longer be unoccupied for there is much to be done cooperatively within all our communities. And plenty enough, too, for all to partake of the fruits of our collective labour.

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