Late last night, I ended up in the deepest and darkest regions of Twitter. More specifically, I was reading about The Socialist Party of Great Britain. While socialist, in name, they are marxist (communist) in belief.
I stumbled across one of their articles, archived here, titled “What free access means”.
And it is absolutely insane.
Let’s talk about this article and ponder how anyone could be this disconnected of reality.
When discussing stores, such as grocery stores or clothing stores, the article asserts that under socialism:
There will be no price tickets, check-outs or security guards.
And [after you’ve found your goods] you’ll just leave, since you won’t have to pay for anything
My question: Can I pick up my 10 Lambo’s here?
How are suppliers (manufacturers, builders) going to meet this level of demand? If I could acquire anything I wanted without a price sticker, I sure would buy a hell of a lot more expensive food.
This kind of food is expensive because it’s either A) Harder to produce or B) Harder to acquire.
Trying to judge and meet this macro-level of demand would simply be impossible.
Under socialism, no one is “in charge”. So how would anyone know what level to produce? Would the workers communally get together and study the macro-economic variables and determine an optimal outcome? Yeah… okay.
Why would anyone buy anything of ‘cheap’ value? They wouldn’t. Everyone would go for the more expensive items. And they are expensive, for a reason. The exact reason said above: harder to produce, or harder to acquire.
The idea that everything in life could just be free is a utopian bubble of epic proportions.
What about things such as gas: that in the future we may run out of? Could I just go to everyone store and collect them all for when your socialist utopia eventually collapses?
Look at Venezuela. “Free access” to goods means “we’ll give you some food, some times when we have it, otherwise have fun starving”.
Read more economics.
Further in the article it states that:
Furniture or TVs won’t be designed to wear out: a sensible use of resources would involve making things to last and recycling as much as possible.
Oh wow, really? We can just make things last longer and convince everyone to recycle under socialism?!
Isn’t that amazing. Just think, if we change to world socialism right now, maybe in three years we can have a phone that holds a charge for 50 years! Surely we’ll suddenly come to understand the quantum problems with batteries as long as we all switch governments!
And there’s more:
The standard objection to the socialist account of free access is rooted in a view of human nature. People would take and take, it may be claimed, irrespective of what they actually wanted.
Yes, if everything was free I would take more and more. There are millions of economic theories that prove that as price decreases, demand goes through the roof.
Why wouldn’t I take more if everything was free? I’d want everything. It’s not that I “actually” want less, as they imply, it’s that I don’t have the funds to acquire more.
But a bit of thought should show that this objection does not hold water. For one thing, the people who live in socialism will be convinced of the superiority of this way of organising society and will not act against its interests.
Yeah, coming from you (socialists) fighting against the best structure currently around (capitalism). Capitalism is the superior way of organizing society, and you’re acting against its interests.
But no worries, I’m sure everyone will automatically think exactly the same under your kind of government! Don’t worry. There won’t be any dissenters I’m sure.
And further, think about the things you consume and whether you would really benefit from hoarding them. Most people can only consume fairly limited amounts of milk or bread or toilet paper and won’t need to keep cupboards full of any of them.
So a few cherry picked items. I can do that too.
What about the things that we consume that we would benefit from hoarding them?
Things like water, non-degradable food, gas, cars, etc?
In a society of free access, you’ll always be able to get more butter or dog food from the local warehouse, so you won’t need your own mountain of either.
Until it turns into Venezuela.
They finally bring up what I discussed above here. Discussing “luxury goods” toward the bottom of the article. Sadly, it still holds no ground in reality.
Well, again, people won’t need several cars or ten dining-room tables.
I won’t “need” it. But I sure as hell would take them (the cars, at least).
There probably are some items which people may well want a lot of: no doubt
Yeah, no doubt.
In some cases, producing extra copies (say of a CD) requires very little extra resources.
Yes, in some cases. But not in all cases. What about cars, again? Or expensive electronics? Or even houses?
And clothing won’t be subject to the whims of fashion as it is now, so people won’t want new outfits each year.
The author of this essay has apparently never met a woman.
In general, the whole idea of consumerism, of possessions making you happy, won’t apply.
Let’s assume that you could, in entirety, eliminate consumerism. I don’t believe you can, but for the sake of debate let’s say you can.
Some possessions still make you happy. Even without consumerism. If I like driving fast, have a high adrenaline, and enjoy cars – having a fast, enjoyable car would still be something that made me happy.
Even if having a Lambo wasn’t for the sake of vanity, it could still make me incredibly happy to drive it. This goes against your whole argument of “consumerism is the bad guy” and also “people are fine with only having products that are the same and of reliable and safe quality”.
Not everyone is a robot. We want freedom, for a reason.
‘What Free Access Means’ Closing Points
The article finishes with the following:
The point is not that we can explain in detail now just how the demand for every item will be realised in socialism.
You couldn’t even figure that out when you had socialist leaders. That’s why it has failed in every country. You always say “not real socialism” instead of what actually happened: it was tried by socialists, but it couldn’t work, so it was perverted.
That’s what will always happen.
Rather, we can just set out some general principles about how free access would function and suggest that the human nature objections to it are based on a very narrow view of how human beings behave under capitalism.
And under monarchy, and under fascism, and under oligopoly, and under dictatorships, and under…
IE: How humans behave under anything, because they are human and it’s genetic.
The combination of socialist consciousness and good old common sense will ensure that people will take what they need rather than all that is available or all they can carry.
Sure it will, bud. Sure it will.