Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Imagine socialism

Let us take a look at the world today. What do we see? A world where most must struggle to make ends meet, while a select few reap the rewards from their labour by virtue of what they own. They do not work any harder than your average worker, yet the surplus value of the blood, sweat and tears of the world’s labourers goes to this parasite class.The benefits for working in such a society are centralized for the benefit of one exploiting class. The bread-crumbs, in the form of wages and salaries, are what workers must compete for in the labour market. It is like a lottery, in that many will enter, but few will actually “win.”
Imagine now a society in which the worker, instead of working for the profit ends of a private ownwer or government department works instead for the benefit of other workers. So, rather than working for someone else’s profit ends, or competing for more bread-crumbs than your neighbour, you are working for your own benefit in the context of being part of a broader society. Why is this so? It is because your work (along with everyone else’s) will work to increase overall production in society, whose rewards will be enjoyed by the society as a whole. As a member of that society, as a worker under socialism, you are entitled to work and share in the products of that work. It is in this way that socialism will work to meet the needs and wants of all members in society in a way that capitalist exploitation cannot.
The question changes from “how can I make a profit” or “how can I make ends meet” to “how can I help, while enjoying what I do?” This change in the essential question that guides work is brought about through the construction of socialist relations to the means of production, as well as the consciousness of workers in society. As the working masses no longer have to worry about going hungry doing the work they do, they are allowed to decide for themselves what work they want to undertake. In addition, they will have every resource they need to undertake this new work, including public education through graduate school, healthcare and daycare services for their children, housing and job entitlements. It is with these considerations that workers will have the freedom to do the work they want to do.
In socialism, the social priorities are different. Rather than capitalism’s carrot and stick, the necessary risk of unemployment under capitalism to force workers to take on labour which is inadequately compensated (and therefore, undesirable) compared to the decadence enjoyed by those who best help advance the ends of capitalist profit, the emphasis in socialism is on the work that it needed for the betterment of social conditions. The bottom line is that every worker in socialism has their individual interests invested in the success of socialism. In order to protect these individual and collective interests, the worker is encouraged to take up that work that best suits current social needs. The force which would provide this encouragement is socialist consciousness, the understanding that one’s personal ambitions must coincide with those of the masses of the proletariat if anyone is to meet their needs.

No comments: