Saturday, September 26, 2009

Boomerang Trade

From the New Economics Foundation

5,000 tonnes of toilet paper from the UK to Germany, but then the UK imports over 4,000 tonnes back again from Germany.

22,000 tonnes of potatoes imported from Egypt to UK and then the UK exports 27,000 tonnes back to Egypt .

4,400 tonnes of ice cream gets exported from the UK to Italy, and 4,200 tonnes is then imported back .

116 tonnes of ‘Sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers, gingerbread and the like’ comes into the UK, rumbling passed 106 tonnes headed in the opposite direction.

Ships, lorries and planes wastefully carrying often identical goods from city to city across the globe and back again . The waste of capitalism .

The needs of consumers are always needs for a specific product at a specific time in a specific locality so we can assume that socialist society would leave the initial assessment of likely needs to a delegate body under the control of the local community . When needs arise in local communities in socialism , the supply of many of those needs will take place within the local community and in these cases production would not extent beyond this , as for example with local food production for local consumption .

In a stable society such as socialism, needs would change relatively slowly. Hence it is reasonable to surmise that an efficient system of stock control, recording what individuals actually chose to take under conditions of free access from local distribution centres over a given period, would enable the local distribution committee to estimate what the need for food, drink, clothes and household goods would be over a similar future period. Some needs would be able to be met locally: local transport, restaurants, builders, repairs and some food are examples as well as services such as street-lighting, libraries and refuse collection. The local distribution committee would then communicate needs that could not be met locally to the bodies charged with coordinating supplies to local communities.

The individual would have free access to the goods on the shelves of the local distribution centres; the local distribution centres free access to the goods they required to be always adequately stocked with what people needed; their suppliers free access to the goods they required from the factories which supplied them; industries and factories free access to the materials, equipment and energy they needed to produce their products; and so on.

Production and distribution in socialism would thus be a question of organising a coordinated and more or less self-regulating system of linkages between users and suppliers, enabling resources and materials to flow smoothly from one productive unit to another, and ultimately to the final user, in response to information flowing in the opposite direction originating from final users. The productive system would thus be set in motion from the consumer end, as individuals and communities took steps to satisfy their self-defined needs. Socialist production is self-regulating production for use.

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