Sunday, September 07, 2008

Justifying Socialism

I recognize that I've written a lot about socialism but not that much which tries to justify it from a clear base.

For me, one of the ways that I think about socialism is in contrast to the normal idea of the cash wage in exchange for work, where a person does a job, gets paid, and then doesn't have any more interest in whatever it was he or she has made. In the classical liberal doctrine people work, they get money that they can then use to buy property, and all the government does is enforce laws and maybe provide some basic services that have been deemed essential for the private economy to continue.

Socialism, on the other hand, can be seen as coming from the point of view that because workers have made almost everything in society, and continue to maintain it, that they therefore have a compelling interest in society as a whole. I think that the people who orchestrate things, and that plan out products and strategies in selling, have something to do with making society as a whole but that in the current situation their share is completely and totally over valued while the share that workers get is completely undervalued, undervalued as much as people can get away with.

A person can work in a factory or in a business that constantly either produces something or performs a service to others, yet at the end of the day the only relationship between the business and them in terms of compensation is the wage. Benefits might come eventually, but they're still just fringe benefits. The folks who do this have no interest in the wealth that the business brings in and no interest in the direction of the business or in how their conditions effect them. Multiply that to include the whole of society and you have a state of affairs where although people make and maintain society they're shut out from decision making about where it should go and are shut out from truly sharing in their wealth, something that's reserved for the owners of capital alone and not for the people who make the stuff that they sell.

Socialist benefits, socialist control over society, socialist decision making, correct this inequity by abolishing the claim of absolute property rights, making the wealth of society the possession of society as a whole, and abolishing the wage as the only claim for personal compensation, and by abolishing the division between labor and management as to who gets a say in running things.

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