In Pursuit of Socialism

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

At the Labour Party conference in 2011 the leader of the Labour Party in an attempt to discuss a desire for a fairer society spoke of  good and bad capitalism

So much has been written about good and bad capitalism. Is this because of the fear of using the bad word? The word that the powers-that-be in the USA  painted as the unmentionable.

We hear of “entrepreneurial” capitalism, of “neo-liberalism” hear of “global capitalism”. We read that there is a ‘good capitalism” , but I am perplexed as to what this is.

After all, what is capitalism, and on what is it based? Capital. Money? As a token of bartering one skills against another, it has value. But in itself, it is nothing.

Are we supposed to believe that without money mankind cannot survive? How then, for the vast majority of the 200,000 years since we evolved as a separate species from other primates have we survived without capitalised systems?

We survived because we developed skills. We developed because of division of labour whereby individuals honed particular skills which could be developed to the benefit of everyone else.

Doctors, nurses, teachers, builders, farmers and road builders, scientists and carers are all needed in society. But money isn’t. In itself it has no use at all.  Success of a species such as ours depends on the success of our society, as we are a social species and are interdependent. Ants do it. Bees do it. Even uneducated wolves and lions do it.

Tony Benn explains eloquently that it is human skills on which our success depends, and blames Thatcherism. The elevation of the importance of entrepreneurism and market forces  above human skills is the reason for the current decline.

Exactly when the market , the FTSE or the state of the City became a more important item in the news than how many people can afford a home, or how we can avoid war and live in peace seems so long ago. But it is really very recent in mankind’s time-line.

In truth, we do not need capitalism, and we never have done.

Bartering has its use.

Capital for its own sake is an absurdity.

What we need is a system where the society supports individuals to develop skills which benefit our society. Since  all of us benefit from others’ skills, society should fund education and training. Education is not a commodity to be bought and sold. It is crucial because without a variety of skills society cannot prosper.

The health of everyone in a society is a collective responsibility, for when one is weak and diseased and uncared for we are all at risk.

Every individual requires adequate housing, and a base to call home in which to rest and to nurture their young.  Those that can work need work. Everyone needs to be a part of the whole in some way, because every single one of us has much to give and to share.

The idea that high unemployment is a desirable state in order to reduce the costs of labour is wasteful and it is destructive to society. For individuals not to be given the opportunity to develop skills and contribute to society in a full and productive way is cruel. To not allow all individuals to fully participate in society, to benefit from the self esteem that feeling valued gives an individual is foolish.

It is time that politicians started straight talking, because that is what the electorate want to hear. When the Labour Party begins to talk about socialist principles again and to describe a vision like Anuerin Bevan in 1945 , their fortunes will improve and we can look forward to better lives for all. I hope that day comes very soon.

Socialist society embraces the maxim ‘from each according to ability to each according to need’ and recognises all the different capabilities and contributions of each member of our human society. Those who, for whatever reason, (eg sickness, physical or mental disability or incapacity) are incapable of contributing still qualify to satisfy their self-declared needs as full members of this society. This is a society of cooperation and empathy based on social capital and tangible benefits for all, one which supersedes the former outdated system which functions on the overriding principle of pursuing and satisfying the profit motive for the benefit of the few.

The people want a voice, but a meaningful voice which they believe can have an impact on their lives. Our democratic system needs  a major overhaul because at the moment the people have no power.

The system which can allow us to achieve all this has a name. It is a good word. The word is SOCIALISM. This is the word that we want the Labour Party to talk of, not acceptable CAPITALISM . Because that is the way forward. It is how we have evolved to be, working together for each other.

“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry of service.”Clause IV, part 4.

What’s wrong with sharing?

Home Sapiens

We do the work, someone else takes the wealth (CJ Stone)

The Courageous State, Richard Murphy

World Socialism : What is capitalism?

World Socialism : What is socialism?

The Guardian : How many party leaders does it take to change capitalism?

Good and Bad Capitalism , Growth and Prosperity  (Baumol, Litan, Schramm)

High Unemployment is costly

Capitalism is amoral – The Guardian

Socialist Party : Removal of Clause 4

3 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Socialism

  1. Pingback: It was skill that built the strength of this company – not entrepreneurs » Tax Research UK

  2. Excellent article!
    I heartily agree that socialism is the ideal and has to be the ultimate aim.
    And it should be what the Labour Party believes in and is working towards.

    But as the majority of people are not yet convinced by the arguments for socialism, and if the route to socialism is to be evolutionary and democratic, then imho the best option would be to go through a transitional period of having a mixed economy where the crucial everyday essentials of human life looked after in the publicly owned and publicly accountable sector : water, electricity, gas, an adequate council housing stock, health care & social care, welfare/ social security, education and rail & bus transport.
    The nationalisations required would have to be sympathetic and sensitive to democratic control and accountability – suitable for the 21st Century, and not reheated versions of the old Morrisonian top-down bureaucratic model of, effectively, state capitalism.

    A most important factor in any economy would be to have as a fundamental belief and principle that the finance/ banking sector is there to service the needs of the real economy – and not vice versa. So, the banking sector would be another area where nationalisation would have to be carefully considered, as an alternative to regulation.

    The notion of so-called “good capitalism” is a difficult theoretical concept to turn into a practical reality, and would be very difficult to sustain in the longer term. It’s not an end in itself, and can’t ever be, certainly not for any self-respecting Labour Party.


    • Phil, I do agree that nationalisation , or “democratic ownership” of the essentials for human life must be our priorities, and conserving our environment. Full employment( well virtually full employment for those able to work) has to be an aim, and expansion green industries should provide employment for many. Why we should be cutting jobs and making more and more unemployed and having to support upwards of 3 million unemployed has no logic whatsoever.


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