Editorial from the November 1994 issue of the Socialist Standard
Socialism will differ fundamentally from today’s society by providing all people with the full amenities of modern life. Society does not provide for all now simply because its economy (the way it produces things) is geared not to producing what people need but to producing profitably what they can afford.
This presents no problem for some since they can afford to pay for the best of all they need. But only a small number are in this position. The vast majority of us are limited in what we can afford by what we earn in wages or salaries, despite the fact that it is us who do the producing. The minority who have access to the best are those who own and control the means of production.
In Socialist society ownership and control of the means of production will be in the hands of the community as a whole. This will enable production to be directed in the interest of all on the basis of what we need. With modern methods of demand research, stock control, statistics, and electronic computing, the means by which the needs of society can be determined are already available.
To ensure that society will provide enough, people will, as now, need to co-operate to help produce it. But with the disappearance of money at least half of today’s work becomes unnecessary. With the elimination of commercial competition this would reduce further.
With this removal of unnecessary work coupled with the full use of automation, necessary work, if shared out on a rota basis, need occupy much less of the individual’s time than it does today. Given that the findings of biological and anthropological research back up the contention that human beings would readily and harmoniously co-operate together, in the favourable conditions that will exist in Socialist society, people can work according to their ability and take from society what they need. As production and its organisation already take place on a world-wide scale with each country dependent on others for resources and skills, Socialism will [need] to be a world society.
Achieving this new society democratically requires the majority of people to express their desire for it. The immense task is telling the majority of people about it. That’s why we need a Socialist party, to campaign for Socialism and nothing but.