Friday, February 21, 2014

End Wage Slavery and Unemployment – Abolish Money

Removing money from the current economic equation would strike most people as impossible, unthinkable, absolutely imponderable. Everything we do, every transaction we make, from posting a letter to sending a space probe to Mars, from birth to death and at every step in between, money has become a necessary part of getting what we require. It has become an accepted, entrenched method of acquiring anything and everything BUT it wasn't always so and in a genuine socialist system money will be shown to have been an unnecessary, wasteful and divisive way of ordering world communities.
When initially being presented with the notion of a world without money the first imperative is the willingness to contemplate a huge paradigm shift, to put aside all familiar long-held views and preconceived notions and to enter into an adventure of discovery that there is a place for all at the table, that it doesn't entail regression to the Dark Ages and that the welfare and progress of people doesn't have to come at a cost to the environment.

Work is well recognised by experts in the health arena as being one of the most stressful areas of life for reasons such as long hours, extended travelling time to and from place of employment, risk of job loss, lack of security of tenure, inflexible working practices, difficulty getting release for major personal events such as bereavement, long-term illness of a spouse or partner, or even short-term care of a sick child. Loss of employment can put stress on the whole family, sinking it into debt, causing day to day difficulties with the household budget and in many cases leading to loss of the home.
Right now, worldwide, are millions of 'would-be' workers who are sidelined in one way or another, without employment or scratching on the edges of a black economy and in some of the more 'developed' countries we find many termed 'scroungers' in current day parlance.

Within the capitalist system there has to be a pool of workers unable to find work in order to keep the bargaining power in favour of the capitalist employers who strive to keep wage levels down, whereas if there is a shortage of suitable labour the bargaining power switches to the employees who try to force wage levels up. The fact that some 'developed' countries have systems which pay a percentage of workers to remain unemployed (and who receive welfare benefits) is a price the capitalists are prepared to pay to maintain the tensions in society. Encouraging the employed to think that they are the ones subsidising the benefits system maintains one fissure within the 'working' class whereas allowing a large number of unemployed to be without any welfare would cause too many problems for the capitalists with possibilities of mass looting, rioting and damage to their property.
There are also untold numbers of immigrants living temporarily or permanently away from home just to make a living which has become impossible in their own country especially since deregulation of the market and as a group they send billions of whatever currency back to their homelands. For every ten who make it there are hundreds who struggle endlessly seeing no progress or find they have moved into a life of indebtedness and semi-slavery.

The current situation worldwide with its high unemployment rates suits the capitalists very well, but is both punishing and divisive for the vast majority. However, when money is not required in exchange for work and when, instead, all contribute their skills, expertise and/or manpower in return for open access to the requirements of life then we can begin to see a different motivation enter the whole concept of the 'work' scenario. When all 'work' is seen as legitimate and deserving of recognition, from the humblest occupations – collecting and sorting waste, stacking shelves in our 'stores', keeping the utilities working even in the worst weather, repairing our shoes – to those which are perceived as more elite - heart surgeons, ground-breaking scientists or cutting-edge technicians; when all are respected or appreciated for their contribution simply by having the same right of access to our commonly produced goods humankind will have truly developed to a higher level.

In addition a moneyless world will free up millions of workers who are now tied to some very stressful occupations dealing only in (other people's) money – banking, mortgage brokering, insurance; those occupied in the collection of rates, taxes and utility payments; those in security work such as guards and armoured truck staff engaged only in protecting and moving money and other 'valuables' – millions of workers who, when considered logically, currently fulfil no useful function and contribute nothing to society that improves that society. This is in no way to imply that those currently employed in such work are any less valuable than any other worker. Within the capitalist system we all have to work with what is available and what percentage of the working class can truly say that their work is exactly what they were looking for? However, in the new, socialist system, with so many extra hands on deck working hours will be considerably reduced which, with the knowledge that one's 'work' is not tied to the ability to feed and clothe the family, to house them and provide all the other requirements of life, will be to remove the stress at a stroke.

With millions released from wage slavery in the now redundant financial sector and free to be a part of the production, distribution and service sectors, with the black economy, immigrants and illegals no longer a threat to paid workers (pay being redundant) there will be a huge reduction in individual necessary work time. When there is no profit incentive the emphasis will be on the production of quality goods from quality materials and no one need choose an inferior item based on cost. Providers of utilities such as electricity and gas, water and communications will be able to have sufficient workers to install, service, repair and develop their installations more efficiently and effectively. If there is work that no one is prepared to undertake then an alternative will need to be found democratically. 
Without the constraints that we have today the workplace will become a different place, one of cooperation not competition where we work for the benefit of all not for the profit of a few. The lines between work and leisure may well be much more blurred than in today's scenario. People will have time, time to be creative, to learn different and multiple skills and to enjoy the time they spend working. Leisure activities seen as hobbies now – vehicle maintenance, gardening, DIY home improvements, baking, the making of all kinds of hand-made items, giving educational and training courses – could well form part of one's 'work time' in the community, bringing a greater satisfaction and contributing to individual development generally, one of the aims of socialism. With more leisure time available it is also highly likely that more 'work' would be created in the leisure area, whether sports complexes, theatrical and music productions and educational courses in the widest sense and with unlimited opportunities for the active participation of those who choose it.

Want to end wage slavery and unemployment? Abolish money.

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