All the world's means of production such as land, factories, mines, machines, etc., would belong to the whole of the people of the world. there would be no division of the people into rich and poor. There would no longer be the exploitation of man by man, of the toiling millions by an idle few. The profit motive would be eliminated. Poverty and want together with overwork and unemployment would be things of the past. Insecurity and every form of servitude will disappear. National and racial prejudices and war would, at last, become impossible.
A world without money, and without any kind of substitute for monetary exchange, would not be a world of chaos, as some might suppose. It would not be a world where progress is at a standstill as the alarmists would have us believe. It would not be a world of idlers, each doing his or her best to live off the product of another’s work, without the compulsion to work themselves, as is also claimed.
But what would a world without money be like? It would be a world without poverty and hunger and unemployment; without child labour and overwork and economic misery; without fear for the future and driving misery in the present; without the ignorance that comes from lack of education and the cruelties that come from greed and insecurity. It would be a world where a person could choose whatever particular job and might work at the thing for which he or she is best suited. It would be a world where everyone will be comfortably fed and housed. It would be a world where everyone had an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and everyone had an equitable share of the wealth produced by the labour of all for the use of all.
It is easy enough to envision. The foundation of any economic system, after all, is no more than the old law of supply and demand. Under our present economy of scarcity, the supply is limited by the demand. And the demand is limited by the ability to pay for the supply. And this, in turn, is limited by the supply itself, the production of which furnishes us our buying power. The profit motive, which is the mainspring of our capitalist system, is responsible for the lag between production and consumption since the producers - the workers - are paid less for what they produce than they must pay to buy it back for their own use. So demand lags behind supply until, at length, the supply must be stopped until the surplus is consumed, reducing buying power to its final minimum.
Under a system which does away with money and the consequent profits therefrom, the demand will mount, and the supply will mount with it until at length each country will be producing to its utmost capacity to satisfy the demands of its citizens. There is demand enough even now to keep farms and factories going full blast; all that is lacking is the money. Where men and women may have for the asking all they need of the world’s goods the demand will not fall.
Will the supply be sufficient to balance that tremendous demand that lack of money alone keeps in check today? We know that crops in the fields; that factories stand idle or run at half capacity; that whole great areas of the earth lie untapped and unreclaimed; that elements lie unmined in the ground; that there is an unimaginable world about us for science to explore and make use of. Under our present system, it does not pay to utilize these resources, discovered or undiscovered.
In a system of free exchange of the products of labour, these things will take their rightful place. There will be no surplus until all have obtained the necessities for a decent existence, and then the surplus will be converted into luxuries for the many rather than for the privileged few. Invention will come into its own when each simplification, each labour saving device will mean a benefit to all, rather than the loss of a living. Machines will be used to provide leisure rather than unemployment.
It is self-evident that under such a system the evils stemming from greed will be non-existent. Vice and crime, violence and corruption, even war itself, must of necessity disappear once the economic basis for them has been abolished. So a moneyless society of free exchange of labour for the produce of labour will mean more than the abolition of mere economic ills. It will mean a new better world, a world we for our children and our children’s children to inherit.
It will be no quick and easy task, at any rate, to spread such an idea around the world until it takes effect. Yet the introduction of such a system will cause no chaos, and not even the few must suffer for the good of the many. No one will lose by it. Even the richest can consume only a limited share of the world’s goods. That share he or she may have for the taking, the same as everyone else. The rich cannot have these without conceding the equal right of others to them is the point on which the success of such a system rests. What we are up against is a system which forces governments and business CEOs to give priority to profit-making over satisfying needs, whatever the personal attitudes of their members. We've seen politicians committed to improving the lot of ordinary people being forced by the economic laws of the system to attack wage levels, cut benefits, close hospitals, charge for health care and waste resources on arms. Living standards and social services have been cut to give priority to profit-making.
So what can we do to achieve a better society, one geared to meeting needs? An understanding that we are up against an economic system operating according to blind economic laws which not even governments can control or alter suggests that to be effective, we should direct our energies at getting rid of that system rather than changing the personnel who preside over it. At one time the Labour Party did claim to want to replace this capitalist system of production for profit by a socialist system of production for use even if this manifested itself more in words than in deeds. Now it merely claims to be able to administer the system in a more caring way than the Tories. Against the better inclinations of many of its ordinary members, it has employed the slick publicity tricks it once despised to present itself as a more acceptable, alternative government of capitalism. The Nice Party as opposed to the Nasty Party. But this superficial approach to politics is self-defeating because, as experience has shown, accepting to govern within the system means accepting in the end to govern, reluctantly or otherwise, in accordance with its economic laws. All governments end up being uncaring not because they are composed of uncaring people but because they are presiding over a system which, being based on putting profits before needs, is by nature uncaring. If we are to change things, then the whole profit system must go. In other words, socialism remains the only solution.
The best way — the only way — to advance the cause of socialism is to concentrate on advocating it. presenting socialism, and nothing but socialism, as the only solution to the problems ordinary people inevitably face under the present system in such fields as housing, education, health care, and the environment. In other words, to get at the cause rather than seek to deal with effects; to advocate fundamental change rather than mere defensive action within the system. In this way, we work to build up the strong and determined body of socialist opinion without which the present system cannot be abolished and a better society achieved.