It’s often said that we can help to change things or at least move in the right direction by each of us making changes in our personal lifestyle. We are encouraged for example to make sure we know where the food is grown, how ‘sustainable’ its production and distribution methods are, and, if possible, to ‘buy local’. Would that work?
Millions throughout the world face the need to sell their energies to an employer for a wage month in month out, day in day out, or find themselves without the means to live decently. Some face additional problems such as poverty, homelessness or precarious housing. They cannot afford to change their lifestyle if this is going to cost them more. Maybe some lifestyle changes, if they could be widely practised, could lead to a change in the method of production or the goods produced and so have some impact. However, so long as production takes place for the market and so long as people need money to buy those things, we will still have the capitalist system and all the problems and contradictions it throws up.
The main contradiction is that we now have the means to produce enough food and all else to sustain the whole world at a decent level several times over and to do so without recklessly polluting the environment or changing the climate, yet under the capitalist system of production for profit this cannot happen. Instead millions go hungry, many more millions live insecure or highly stressed existences and the ecosystem is in imminent danger of collapse. It’s time therefore to act collectively to change the social system and move to a society of free access and voluntary cooperation without money or markets. In this socialist system people will put their natural human capacity for cooperation and collaboration to work and use the resources of the planet to secure a decent life for all its inhabitants.