What is uneconomic under capitalism does not become economic under socialism.

Jurriaan Bendien J.Bendien at wolmail.nl
Sat Dec 14 10:02:46 MST 2002


Ah, now I see better what your argument is ! I do agree with you there (I
admit that in 1988 I did once experiment with a Full Employment Campaign, in
New Zealand, I had some misgivings about it, but it didn't catch on anyway).

Full employment as such isn't a social priority of socialist economy as I
understand it (hence also the concept of a shorter working week), but
nevertheless a goal is the optimal (not maximal) use of socially useful
labour, the removal of the category "unemployment", in which case you still
require some obligation to engage in socially useful work, if able. If you
institute a guaranteed minimum income, you take away some material incentive
to work as such, and work at a certain level of productivity, a possible
source of economic inefficiency as you would point out. But that is not
necessarily a problem, if there are moral incentives, and if it is possible
to earn more than the minimum in a satisfactory job (a material incentive).
Many leftists have the slogan "abolition of the wages system" but of course
then we have to think of a better alternative. Earning a wage is obviously a
source of freedom and independence, as well as a source of exploitation. If
you abolish an open labour market, both from the point of view of the worker
and from the point of view of the agency offering work, then you reduce
individual freedom, unless you can invent an acceptable alternative (Makoto
Itoh has worked on some of these issues, for example in relation to skilled
labour).

I've just noticed there is a Journal of Utopian Studies, but they sure ain't
interested in the kind of forward thinking that we are interested in...

Regards

Jurriaan


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