New Visions, New Future
a post capitalist society
What a real mess the world is in. We are told that we have
never had it so good, but with record levels of unemployment, job insecurity
and drug related crime the facts belie the illusion. Everywhere there is
increasing despair at the deteriorating quality of life despite technological
advance. On the 50th anniversary of the United Nations we can
look back and see how raw market forces have not only led to the gap widening
between the rich and the poor within countries, but also affected the gulf
In 1992 for every dollar the North gave as aid to the South
they got back $2.66 in loan repayments. Twenty of Africa's fifty one countries
have foreign debts greater than their GNP. The structural adjustments programs
imposed on them by the IMF and World Bank make sure the Western banks get
paid, invariably at the expense of the people. The IMF and World Bank serve
and preserve very distinct economic privileges in the North when social
welfare is cut in the South and land formerly used to feed people is taken
over by cash crops.
These world financial regulators perpetuate an unjust economic
order that has arisen with the globalisation of Capital and the integration
of the World economy into a single whole. We live in a world casino which
impoverishes the many despite the pie in the sky temptation of riches
for select individuals. Social development in the world can no longer remain
at the whim of the global stock market. At the Rio Earth Summit
the Prime Minister of Spain remarked,
"Five hundred years ago men set out to discover the size
of the earth. At this meeting we discovered its limits."
Today after 500 years of capitalism we are beginning to see
the limits of this system and private property itself. Global capitalism
is failing in social and economic development in so many places in the
world. We are in need of a new society in which economic relationships
are redefined on free and equal partnerships instead of the alienating
exploitation inherent in capitalism's wages, price and profit trilogy.
How global capitalism is retarding
No longer is the world divided into two contending camps
- a capitalist bloc and a socialist bloc. Today there is one integrated
global economy. This global economy operates on capitalist principles.
At this level it simply does not matter how the internal dynamics of a
country are organised. Socialist nations and capitalist nations alike relate
to each other and the rest of the world along global capitalist lines.
While it is true that there is nothing new in the nature
of capitalism itself, apart from the further intensification of existing
socio/economic contradictions, globalisation has brought change. Globalisation
has defined the nation states as separate yet similar objects on
the world stage, irrespective of the actuality of the social contradictions
grounded in those countries and the substance of their economic/political
make up. Human rights matters are lost when it comes to global trade. Trade
is becoming an intrinsic exploitative form of communication and bias between
A domestic socialist economy may prevent exploitation at
the domestic level but whether the nation state as a totality exploits
others or is itself exploited depends on the nature of this country's trade
and the level of technology employed in production. No longer can a nation
remain immune from the global framework as it had been in the preceding
Global capitalism has transformed national capitalism into
a new world order. Yet this very globalisation has found its economic global
limits. These limits are systemic to the capitalism itself. Production
is still controlled by profit. Where profits fall production is cut. Greater
deployment of technology only decreases the rate of profit despite increasing
volumes of output. In this capitalism has an insurmountable contradiction.
This contradiction can only be overcome by changing the whole
nature of the system itself. In the meantime whenever we reach this barrier
economies overheat and three control or negative feedback mechanisms
swing in to dampen growth. They are manifest as :
Rent, privatisation, and imperialist war
Price scissoring, technological apartheid and crime
Wage cuts, racism and ecological crisis
Rent, privatisation and imperialist war,
On a universal level falling rates of profit lead international
financiers to a mad competitive scramble for monopoly and super profits.
Ultimately they are prepared to go to war to secure and preserve this advantage.
Imperialist wars are often fought on the dictates of transnational mining
and oil monopolies.
Monopoly surplus profits are only generated at the expense
of other industry. Further there is a global shift of value from the less
developed nations to the developed world. But since this extra value did
not originate within the normal productive cycle in the developed countries
it must lie idle or crowd out an equivalent amount of productive capital.
This excess value can only be capitalised as monopoly rights, ground rent
and rising property values.
But even this has a limit and further rent can only exist
in more and more tenuous the forms of monopoly privilege. Ultimately this
leads to a universal crisis in private property itself. Only a stock market
crash wipes the slate clean. In the meantime there is an increased demand
for further privatisation. A universal privatisation that becomes all encompassing
of land, sea and air! An expanding privatisation in which even people's
thought and creativity become the intellectual property of others.
Over time monopoly practices seriously dislocate the reproductive
cycle of capitalist enterprise. Overproduction and underconsumption
of commodities are natural consequences of monopoly. The markets are flooded
with unsellable goods. Regardless of need people simply cannot afford
to buy them with real purchasing power falling.
Cyclically monopoly capital leads to a general social
crisis of overproduction and this intensifies the drive to war. War
related production is the quickest way of destroying surplus stockpiles
of goods and generate new demand. The State is the ultimate consumer. The
massive spending by the superpowers on weapons of mass destruction is testament
to that. War related spending is seen as a necessary negative feedback
and regulatory control for overproduction.
Price scissoring, technological apartheid and crime
Falling profitability manifests itself also in a particular
way - the divergence of price from value. Prices differ from their value,
i.e., the socially necessary labour incorporated in them. As this competitive
pressure increase price diverge markedly from their value. In order to
be internationally competitive enterprises must sell their goods at globally
dictated market prices. This has serious ramifications for a particular
nations. Falling raw commodity prices can devastate the cash crop economies
of developing nations. Even socialist nations with a single primary export
feel the pinch, like Cuba when sugar prices fall.
Yet the divergence of price from value is marked by a distinct
price scissoring effect. While monopoly make dictate a falling terms
of trade for Cuba with less barrels per tonne of sugar the divergence in
manufacturing is more pronounced. High tech goods are priced above their
value and low tech goods sell below their actual value This competitive
advantage feeds particular inter imperialist trade wars in a race to technological
modernisation. But it also promotes a growing technological apartheid,
from computers to nuclear power, between countries in the North and the
Underlying the divergence of price from value is a net shift
of value from the labour intensive enterprises and nations to the less
labour intensive ones. This represents a net shift of surplus value on
a global scale. It parallels the net shift of surplus value from the countryside
to the cities in a domestic capitalist economy. The North represents the
economic centre of capital, and the South represents a devastated peripheral
Yet despite all the gloss and glitter the divergence of price
from value in the big city negatively feedbacks in a greedy, addictive
and moribund way. Some elements enter a highly profitable black market
which illicitly trades in human weakness and dependency. It is globally
manifest from the small time punks in Russia to organised syndicates in
the US. Transnational criminal organisations operating across national
boundaries now have an estimated turnover of $1,000 billion a year. Many
of these syndicates are related to or work with respectable intelligence
agencies utilising the extra funds for other illicit activities. According
to United Nations estimates American spending on narcotics is thought to
exceed the combined incomes (GDPs) of over 80 countries.
Wage cuts, ethnic conflict and ecological crisis
Every where individual capitalist enterprises under falling
profitability search for cheaper and cheaper labour and lowering of worker's
real wages for longer and harder hours. There is an increasing attempt
to cut costs of the social wage particularly in safety, health and education.
Families are discouraged to minimise the individual workers wage cuts.
Children are socially discounted and discarded. A cult of the individual
is promoted in socio-capitalist Darwinism in which only the fittest
workers survive! Workers are increasingly seen as dispensable to be replaced
at will by others from the reserve army of the adult unemployed.
All sorts of divisive mechanisms are used to individually
isolate workers from each other. A culture of racial superiority is promoted.
Race is pitted competitively against race to lower wage costs. Ethnic conflict
is fostered and spread like a new deadly virus to produce migratory flows.
The use of a migrant labour becomes a tool to undermine existing labour
practices. Where labour shortages exist migrants provide a cheap and ready
source of labour power. This reduces the social, nurturing and education
costs of raising a new generation of wage workers.
Further falling profitability leads to all sorts of production
shortcuts. The environment is degraded and polluted. When combined with
the cuts in health provision and social infrastructure is increasing leading
to outbreaks of epidemics. These epidemics often seem like plagues visited
on us by God. But they are only the natural consequence of a simultaneous,
interwoven and compounding web of cutbacks.
The conservative French government nuclear test in the South
Pacific regardless of ecological consequences. Under competitive pressures
they cannot wait for computer simulation. They are driven by a chauvinistic
Malthusian logic to maintain superiority in an "overpopulated" world. However
it is land that is misused. There is relative overpopulation in
respect to current private property. Which do we cutback, that is the question?
Social Pump priming under Partners
In capitalist and previous socialist societies, based on
the wage system, an individual received back, what that person put into
society, through work, regardless of individual needs. There was little
diversity, incentive or personal satisfaction built into the system. Socialist
societies of the current era have, in the relatively short period of development
in which they have operated, been unable to achieve recognition of the
needs of the individual on a universal scale. An individual with distinct
individual needs as well as social needs truly. Under the partners concept
what people receive, is still very much dependant on what each puts in
and constrained by the total finite resources available. However their
individual needs in these newly contracted social relationships open a
new freedom for sustained growth.
This partnership has three aspects
partners in society
partners in work
partners in a family.
Partners in society
Everyone should share the fruits of society. But this equity
needs to be more than a potentiality. It needs to be actualised. Each person
must have an income or means of support that sustains their basic level
of existence. In other words everyone should be guaranteed a minimum income.
In Australia this notion was originally proposed by Professor Ronald Henderson
in his studies into poverty in Australia in the 1970's. It is increasingly
winning favour with the social-welfare lobby here in light of the complexity
of the social security system and the oppressive youth training wage.
The living allowance takes away the insecurity of living
hand to mouth. Once a person no longer has to worry about where the next
meal is coming from, or where the rent for the house is going to be earned,
they can put more energy and concentration into more social considerations.
This universal allowance in fact provides the inbuilt code for the new
social operating system. It is the launch pad for higher forms of society.
Partners in work
The current capitalist system in fact encourages the existence
of a reserve pool of unemployed to keep wages down and undermine award
conditions. Under Partners trade union no longer need to fight for the
social component of a worker income. That is already inbuilt with the universal
allowance. Under partners people work now not only for pay, but for what
they accomplish, and the recognition by others of their labours. The distinction
between paid and unpaid work is abolished. Work must be seen in its true
light not through the distorted prism of the wage system. ABS statistics
show that a third of all work in Australia is unpaid . In 1992 the value
of this unpaid work was estimated at $227.8 billion. When we subtract self
employed work and work that is either personally or government subsidised
we are starting to get a picture of work in Australia in which the wage
system is increasingly becoming obsolete.
Work under partners differs from capitalism in three ways.
Production is planned not based on profit. The products of production are
sold according to their value not according to global capitalism market
price. Workers share in the fruits of production and are not just underpaid
wage slaves. See the contrasting diagrams.
Quality control tends to be built in instead of being an
external thing. External quality control is inefficient and often does
not have very good results. Faulty products still manage to slip through.
If quality control is built in and each worker takes pride in the quality
of their work, far fewer faulty products would be sold.
Under the new arrangement work based cooperatives
have no need to move off shore in search of cheap labour. Their "labour
costs" consist only of bonuses, not wages, payroll tax and superannuation,
etc. The social cost of living in a particular country would be a cost
borne by all citizens. Under Partners the social wage would be now
incorporated into the universal living allowances and family payments.
It is no longer a burden on a particular manufacturer who must pass on
the costs into their products. There is no need now to go off shore or
close down under the pressure of the competition from world trade.
Partners in family
The needs of each family situation or basic unit must be
catered for on an individual basis. While child maintenance is the individual
responsibility of a particular family unit society should universally fund
it costs. In too many cases access to and custody of children in failed
relations are used as weapons in a maintenance war by former partners against
each other. The psychological and social damage resulting from this conflict
we are only now beginning to cost. Prevention is always better then cure.
The most pressing need of any family is housing. It is only
when one owns this need is one ever totally free from exploitation. Living
in another's house, whether paying rent or not, compromises freedom. In
contrast to State owned housing in orthodox socialist societies true partners
in a new society must own their own home.
Home ownership is not just a dream but a prerequisite
to individual freedom and fulfilment. But home ownership does not include
the right to own the land. Residential land is no ones property.
Residential land is a valuable need . If someone owns land outright, they
are encroaching on the future needs of another.
Currently more than 50% of the cost of a home is the cost
of the land site. Residential land should be socially owned and controlled
by the respective municipal peoples councils. Infrastructure improvements
to these sites should not be the burden of the home owner on the one side
nor the capital gain of the residential speculator on the other.
I believe. I believe that partnerships are
the key to the future. Men and women are social beings. They form social
relationships on an individual, a particular and a universal level. Individually,
one-to-one relationships will always be the primary aspect and cornerstone
of all future friendships. Work and group relationships determine the essence
of social experience, in the particular. Universally, men and women only
find their place and destiny in their relationship to society.