Friday, November 02, 2012

The Institute for New Economics.

From the Institute for New Economics.
“Sharing profits with those who labored to make the products is another part of the rebalancing of our economic system to one that is fair and sustainable."

This is a pipedream. The INE claim to be offering radical solutions – we don’t think so. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” The underlying assumption of the writers is that capitalism remains, albeit in an altered state. The INE want to retain exchange and trading with some new kind of money. Socialists want a society based on common ownership geared to producing things directly for people to take and use in which exchange and trading, and money as the means of exchange, would be redundant. What’s the point of a new alternative local currency (apart from helping local shopkeepers)? What difference does it make what coloured pieces of paper we have to use to get the things we need to live? The real problem is that in present-day, capitalist society we have to use money at all to obtain these, and that the amount of money we have will always be rationed by what we get as wages. That restricts and distorts our lives.

Regardless of their occasional insights and their good intentions, they are totally lacking in vision and simply repeating the same old wishful thinking …ahhh, if only we could re-organise, re-structure, reform capitalism to work in the interests of the majority…ahhhhh….if only we can make it all better and could make capitalism less capitalist. Too many do not understand the basic fundamentals of capitalism and see no alternative to capitalism, even those in academia with letters after their names.

By definition capitalism can only function in the interest of the capitalists, no palliatives can (nor ever will be able to) subordinate capitalist private property to the general interest.

All that effort, skill, energy, all those tools that the writers of INE wish to evoke should be turned against class society, to create a society of common interest where we can make changes for our common mutual benefit. So long as class exists, any gains will be partial and fleeting, subject to the on-going struggle. What we should be opposed to is the whole culture of reformism, the idea that capitalism can be tamed and made palatable with the right reforms.

Reformism is the graveyard for hope. Reformism requires a pact with the devil.

Over decades, millions of workers have invested their hopes in so-called ‘practical’, ‘possibilist’ organisations and policies, hoping against hope that they would be able to neuter the market economy when, in reality, the market economy has successfully neutered them. They turned out to be the real ‘impossibilists’. Demanding the unattainable humanised capitalism is one of the greatest tragedies of the last centuryand it is made all the greater because it was all so predictable. Many held and still hold such as the authors the idea that capitalism could be reformed into something kindly and user-friendly. It couldn’t and it can’t.

Socialists understand only too well the urge to do something now, to make a change. That makes us all the more determined, however, to get the message across, to clear away the barrier of the wages system, so that we can begin to build a truly human society. Why waste time fighting for half measures? We would better spend our time, energies, and resources educating people to establish socialism rather than waste time in the false belief that our present system can be made to work in everyone’s interest.

Only the threat of a socialist movement setting down as the only realistic and immediate aim the establishment of social property of society’s means of existence so as to ensure their management by and in the interest of the whole community, would be able to force the capitalists to concede reforms favourable to the workers for fear of losing the whole cake. Yet more reason to advance the maximum programme of socialism.

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