The World Socialist Movement is not proposing the abolition of money alone, nor a return to barter. In fact, the abolition of money alone, would solve no problems and undoubtedly create many difficulties. But what it does propose is that the whole system of money and exchange, buying and selling, profit-making and wage-working be entirely abolished and that instead, that instead the community as a whole should organise and administer the productions of goods for use only and the free distribution of these goods to all members of the community according to each person’s needs.
Since money would not exist and wealth could not, therefore, be measured in terms of money, no person could say that he or she owned a share of such and such value in the people’s means of production. In fact, all the world’s means of production such as farms and firms, mines and machinery, etc. would then belong to the whole of the people of the world who would jointly cooperate in using them, each person willingly and freely taking part in the way he or she feels they can do best.
Let us assume that the new social system commenced tomorrow and the great mass of people have already learnt what it means and have taken the necessary action to bring it about. Everybody would carry on with their usual duties for the time being, except all those whose duties being of an unnecessary nature to the new system, were rendered idle such as finance workers, salespeople, etc. These people would in the due course of time be fitted into an appropriate productive occupation for which they are considered suitable.
There would be a need to urgently raise the level of production of many kinds of goods to alleviate the deprivation of people who were enduring the evil effects of the capitalist system. For example, the agricultural parts of the world freed from the restraints of the present “money-based system” would create the abundance of nutritious foodstuffs needed to feed the hungry populations of the rest of the world, not, as often happens nowadays, to go to waste because they cannot be sold at a profit. For the first time, the conditions would exist for turning into reality the beautiful plans for housing people in real homes instead of the sordid slums and shantytowns that the present social system has created in urban sprawls. Plans exist today – on paper – and will remain so, as long as it is necessary to possess money to get a decent home. Released from the “money” necessity, architects, builders, town designers would be enabled to get together to build neighbourhoods and workplaces which would be a pleasure to live and work in. How long this period would last depend on the size and mess left by this “precious” system of ours. The WSM does not think it would take very long since we have seen how quickly even the obstacles of the present social system, backward countries can be developed by modern industrial methods. It should not, therefore, take very long for those parts of the world which are already highly industrialised to turn out enough goods to make the whole of humanity tolerably comfortable as far as the fundamental necessities of life are concerned.
Having rid ourselves of the worst of the old economic system, production would then be adjusted to satisfy fully the needs of everyone, making due provision for reserves for any possible unforeseen natural calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons.
Having produced all that is required, all that is necessary is to distribute it to the people so that each person’s needs are fully satisfied. In the case of perishable goods it would merely be a matter of transport from factory or farm direct to the local distributing centres, and in the case of more durable goods to larger regional warehousing. From there it is but a short step to the local distributing outlets which could stock the whole range of necessary goods – a kind of display showroom from which goods could then be collected or delivered to the homes of people if so preferred. After all, it should not be much of a problem to determine local demand.
People will do their “shopping” as they do today but without money, much as they do with a swipe card but of course with this difference. Whereas in socialism, they would be able to obtain all their requirements without money, most people nowadays are unable to do so because their purchases are limited by the amount of money they get as wages and hold in their bank balance. Socialism will not be very different technically from nowadays.
Within socialism, we won’t want borders and frontiers with their tariff and customs regulations that go with nation-states. With world socialism goods will be “distributed” not “exchanged”, neither “exported” nor “imported” but just as if the whole world’s goods were collectively pooled together and then each region is entitled to draw what it requires.
Production will be planned but not by bureaucracy imposing such a plan. Such would not be necessary as the process would be so simple. The average requirements of someone are known: X amount of this, Y amount of that, Z amount of these; calculate the number of people in that locality, and you then have on an average of the total amount necessary to be transported to that place for local distribution. Now, isn’t that the logistics already carried out, although in a more difficult and complicated way as done right now? Doesn’t a wheat importer, know almost exactly, how much wheat to order distribute to a network of users and so imports accordingly? Why should things be any different in socialism other than only small ways? There will no doubt be a need for some sort of statistical body – to monitor and coordinate global output and these already exist in some shape or form.
We are not creating a Utopia. Rather, we are taking the world of today and simply transforming the methods of administration and organisation to practical use instead of for money- and profit-making.