Sunday, October 30, 2011
Wobbly times number 135
After the abolition of the horrid wage system by the workers themselves, the transition from the lower to higher stage of a co:operative commonwealth takes place using socially necessary time (SNLT) as a measuring device. After all, we're just out of a capitalist society and many people may still be hung up with notions of narrowly selfish individualism. To prevent the fear of free-loading and the actual act, SNLT will show that we're all doing our part. A modern communist society is large. We simply don't and can't know everybody on the modern commons as we might have in our small 150 or less peasant communities in the past, before the commons was destroyed--pre-18th century in the Anglo Saxon culture. At the current level of technology, SNLT could be recorded electronically. A good or service would be enjoyed by swiping a card taking however many minutes it took to produce the good or service off an electronically stored balance. Working in the production of goods and services would enable the producer to add socially necessary labour hours to the card as he or she put them in. Those who felt a greater need for goods and services or even for work itself (face it...many people enjoy what they do for a living now, why would this not be the case in a classless society?)...these people could put more time into the social store of goods and services. Those who did the least popular jobs could be compensated with say, double-SNLT being put on their cards e.g. one hour of underground mining equals two hours of working in a library. But of course, these matters would all be decided at the time by freely associated producers. I am merely speculating and proposing from my own era.
This arrangement of using SNLT would make the whole production process transparent; it would leave the mystifications of mass commodity production behind, along with the wage-system which breeds it. An individual producer could see that s/he was putting in so much time and just like everybody else, could draw that time back out of the common store as needed. Still, this transitional arrangement would lead to inequalities in access to goods and services; but not to classes as nobody would be able to pay others a living sum of SNLT to get control over the collective product of their labour. Capital is essentially a social relation. Capital becomes political as soon as one person controls/owns the labour/product of the other, in other words, instantly for as that happens, the one person is able to tell the other person what to do. Having power over other people is the essence of political power and the foundation stone of the political State. Socialist praxis is based on equal political power amongst all women and men living in a classless society. There is simply no room for Capital in a transition to a higher level of a communist society.
The highest stage of socialist society that I can imagine is one where there is no longer a concern about whether someone is or is not doing a fair share of the work necessary to keep the community together and measuring SNLT or using it to obtain goods and services from the collective product of labour becomes superfluous. Production of wealth for use with its distribution on the basis of need reaches its pinnacle.