Towards a New Socialism 2/3


in the case of Labor vouchers you have to realize what the labor vouchers are being given for their being given for people performing work of average intensity and where it’s possible to measure physical productivity and that one person is physically turning out more goods in an hour than another person then it’s possible to pay one person more than another because you know they’re physically producing more when it comes to highly collective work where a lot of people collaborate then it’s not so easy to say that one particular person has contributed more or less to that and under those circumstances you can’t rely on that kind of incentive but if you think that only monetary incentives are are relevant you have to explain two very important features of the modern world one of them is the success of the Japanese economy where people are not paid monetary incentives in companies but they tend to be paid a salary stitch depends on the number of years service this doesn’t stop Japan having the most productive workers in the world then you take another example and look at two people you look at Bill Gates in look at Linus Torvalds and Bill Gates owns a company whose developers produce Windows and Linus Torvalds wrote the original Linux operating system now Linus Torvalds and the other developers of Linux do it from love of workmanship they do it from love of producing something useful and in the end they produce something more useful than the people with monetary incentives like Bill Gates they if you look at the internet now it runs largely on Linux servers it runs using Apache web servers all of this is software that’s been written by people just for the love of doing it and one shouldn’t underestimate the extent to which people have a pride in their work and want their work to be done well and they are willing even to do this as the free software movement shows they’re willing to do it without being paid at all if the satisfaction of the work is enough if you had a system of people being paid by labor vouchers the average person would get roughly twice as much as they get now or twice that before tax income again because it’s a general feature of most capitalist economies that income tends to divide roughly 50/50 between wages and profits it’s slightly lower level of profits than that in Britain but historically over time it’s tended to be roughly 50/50 so that you’d see roughly a doubling of real incomes people always have to pay taxes on top of that but the pre-tax income would roughly double now question is whether people who have had more education should be paid now in a capitalist economy they get paid more if there is a shortage of that particular skill particularly for example if you look at doctors in the United States they are paid extremely highly because the American Medical Association acts to restrict the supply of doctors if on the other hand you have in a capitalist economy a profession which requires education but there’s a lot of people being educated for it like media studies for example a lot of people are being educated to do media studies at the moment and the salaries that they get from that are not above what you’d get as an average manual worker the reason is that the supply and demand in that case but more generally if you take professions which are paid highly in the catalyst world it tends to be the case that the education is expensive and only rich families can afford to send their children to get that education and therefore the supply is restricted if the education is paid for by the state and people are paid a salary whilst their students then there is no particular reason why the individual should benefit from that the cost of education haven’t been met by the individual they’ve been met by the taxpayer and if the restriction on entry due to lack of wealth is removed one would expect to see that the shortage of supply removed as well if one compares that the situation of doctors in the United States with doctors in the Soviet Union doctors in the United States were relatively scarce and highly paid doctors in the Soviet Union or Cuba are plentiful and not particularly highly paid but it doesn’t stop people wanting to become doctors because many people want to become doctors for humanitarian reasons one the key differences between a socialist economy and the capitalist economy is that an account less economy there’s always unemployment and this unemployment acts as a stick to beat the worker to work harder now in a socialist economy were the allocation of resources is being planned you tend to get full employment you get you had full employment and all the socialist economists when they existed however this bull employment could come in two forms it could either come because in the economy as a whole there was sufficient demand for labour to take up all the people willing to work or it could come because people had a right to work at one particular workplace where they started work now if you have the latter form you run the danger that the economy will become set in concrete it becomes very difficult to reallocate resources to new industries and to run down old industries as tastes change or technologies change so it has to be the case that that the state guarantees people a job that doesn’t necessarily guarantee them a job at the same place indefinitely that if factories are being closed down the state must guarantee to create an equal number of jobs elsewhere in the economy before they close those factories down so people can transfer but it doesn’t mean that you keep on running the same factories as you ran in in the year 2000 until the year 2050 originally democracy meant ruled by the mass of the people especially our subtle makes this clear it means ruled by the poorer mass of the people the system we have now is called democracy but is actually a system of electoral rule which according to ancient Greek political theory at least would be better described as an aristocracy or meritocracy than a democracy because any system based on elections is based on a principle of selecting people who appear to be the best to rule and who appears to be the best in any society it the people who appear to be the best always the richer and better educated Aristotle says they the the better educated and more vocal or are nearly always coterminous with the richer sections of society you can see this most clearly in the United States where to become a political candidate for the presidency you either have to be a millionaire yourself or have the backing of millionaires but even if one were to look at a European Parliament or take take of the European Parliament and look at the cross-section of the population who is represented in the European Parliament look at the percentage of men and women look at the percentages of people from different social classes look at the percentages of people from different races does this actually represent the population of Europe it clearly doesn’t anybody who had a job from a polling company and selected the Euro MPs as a group to poll to get a representative sample of opinion in Europe would be fired from his job it’s clearly grossly unrepresented now there is a scientific way of getting a representative sample that’s random selection and that’s actually how the Greeks did it if you go to the museum in the Agora of Athens you can actually see the old voting machines the Greeks used they were made out of marble and the brass parts of long since disappeared but they were based on the principle you put your ID card into the machine turn the handle or an assistant turn the handle and if a white ball emerged you were elected if a black ball emerged you weren’t so that they randomly selected whether you were going to be a member of the council or not and




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