Posted 1 year ago on March 3, 2012, 1:05 a.m. EST by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom
from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
If we made society democratic, it would enable us to:
- Raise the minimum wage to $115,000 per year
- Raise the minimum wage to $230,000 per year for people who work mentally or physically difficult jobs (science, construction, mining, farming)
- Cut the work week to 20 hours
- Guarantee everyone a job
- Guarantee 100% financing at 0% interest to everyone who wants to own a home
- Pay students an income to go to school
- Guarantee everyone a pension at retirement
- Make everyone wealthy
- And when you make everyone wealthy, you eliminate nearly every social problem we have
Capitalism Does Not Work
With 50% of Americans living in or near poverty and 97% of all workers earning a below average income and the govt releasing data on wage earners for the first time ever which shockingly shows 50% are making less than $26k and 18% of all available workers unable to find a full-time job and 55% of the people who do work being wasted by having them do pointless jobs that machines can already do, it is clear that the economy does not work at all for the overwhelming majority of workers.
But people don't lack income because there is not enough income or resources to go around. People lack income because capitalism is a system that allows a very small minority to unfairly take so much of the available income - income that they haven't earned and don't deserve because they got it from exploitation, not from working - that there's simply not enough income left over to pay everyone else.
Everyone in the US in 2012 should be wealthy. We produce $15.4 trillion in goods and services every year.
That is just under $50,000 per year for every man, woman and child. That is $200,000 per year for a family of 4. That is $65 per hour for each hour every worker works. That is $135,000 per year for every full-time worker.
No matter how you slice it, that is clearly enough income to make everyone in this country wealthy.
The reason why nearly everyone gets paid far, far less than those incomes is because we have an economic system that allows a very small group of people at the top to use exploitation to unfairly take most of everyone else's income.
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Capitalism is a system that concentrates most of the wealth in the hands of the few. These few then naturally use their wealth to rule over society. So capitalism always ends in plutocracy, not democracy.
Democracy is a Greek word. But it is not a Greek word for "voting" or "mob rule" or "majority wins." It is Greek for "people power." A modern liberal democracy means political power and freedom rests with everyone equally.
Since everything you do in society requires money, your income determines how much political power you have and determines how much freedom you have.
A person with $1 billion has 50,000 times more power than a person with $20,000 to get someone elected to government or to lobby government to their cause or to use the media to lobby the public to their cause. And they have 50,000 times more freedom to live how they want - to live in whatever house or neighborhood they want, to drive any car they want, to attend any school they want, to get any medical treatment they want, to pursue any hobby they want, to travel to any place they want or to work any job they want.
A society where some have 50,000 times more political power and freedom than others is not democratic.
Of course, the tiny minority at the top still only have a tiny minority of the vote. But that is not a problem. Since they use their income to own all the businesses, politicians, governments, and media, they have full control over the public discourse which they successfully used to not only convince the vast majority that the raw deal they are getting is fair, but to also make it taboo to actually question it!
How To Make Society Democratic
Just like we replaced monarchies, and its private ownership of government, with democracy so the means of law making are publicly owned and controlled for the equal benefit of everyone, we should replace capitalism, and its private ownership of the economy, with democracy so the means of survival are publicly owned and controlled for the equal benefit of everyone.
In order to have democracy, a society where political power and freedom rests with everyone equally, income must rest with everyone equally. But income is also used as an incentive to get people to work hard.
So in order to have a society that is democratic with an economy that works, income must be allocated so that differences in income are limited to only what is necessary to get people to work hard.
That system is called socialism.
American anarchist Benjamin Tucker defines socialism best: It's simply a system where workers get paid the FULL value of what they produce. It's summed up in the socialist slogan, "to each according to their contribution," which means you are paid based on how much work you contribute.
The best working model of socialism is Democratic Market Socialism (DMS). DMS has been rigorously peer reviewed in mainstream economics journals the past 100 years, beginning with Oskar Lange debunking Mises in the famous Economic Calculation Debate by demonstrating that a socialist market would be more efficient than a capitalist market, and every component of it is already proven to work in the real world.
DMS works largely the same way as the current economy works now where we have individually run firms that compete for customers in the market. What makes it socialist is how it allocates income.
In DMS, income is no longer paid to investors and workers are no longer paid based on how unique they are. Instead, 1) every worker is paid the full value of what they produce which means 100% of the economy's income is paid to workers and 2) workers are paid based on how much they contribute which means they are paid based on how hard they work as explained next.
1) Pay Workers 100% of the Income
Paying 100% of the economy's total income to workers means no income is paid to investors. In capitalism, half of all the income that workers produce gets paid to a small handful of gamblers who got lucky investing in the market like bankers and entrepreneurs.
Investment income is just welfare for the lucky. It allows guys like Mitt Romney to get paid $20 million per year every year without working a single day merely because he got lucky in the market a few decades ago. Workers produce that $20 million every year, not Mitt Romney.
Investing is gambling and the economy should not be used as a casino. It is unproductive and just robs workers of half the wealth they produce each year. Workers shouldn't have to work for free for 6 months every year just to pay off the gambling winnings of investors.
A system where workers, who produce everything, are paid half the income and a few lucky gamblers, who produce nothing, are paid the other half is absurd.
Of course, you need investment money to run an economy. But just like we don't need to pay people to print their own money in order to make sure there's a supply of money in the economy, we don't need to pay people to invest in order to make sure there's a supply of investment money in the economy.
Just like the central bank can provide the economy with the necessary supply of money, it can provide the economy with the necessary supply of investment money. We don't need private investors.
In DMS, all businesses and loans will be funded with public investment funds as explained here.
2) Allocate Income Based on Hard Work
And the income paid to workers would be allocated among them based on how hard they work.
Income would no longer be allocated based on bargaining power which you get merely from being unique like athletes and celebrities. It would no longer pay Kim Kardashian hundreds of times more than a brain surgeon for each hour worked.
Instead, it pays you based on how hard you work which you do by limiting differences in income to only what is necessary to get workers to do hard jobs and to give their maximum performance in performance based jobs.
How To Change The System
DMS is a significantly better deal than what the vast majority of workers are currently getting, so it will have a lot of appeal. But you will obviously never convince everyone to want socialism.
However, virtually nobody lives in the economic system they want. So what I advocate is to work with capitalists, libertarians, progressives and everyone else who is dissatisfied to enact a system where we have multiple economic systems operating in our country that compete against each other and that people can freely choose to participate in.
The status quo has a monopoly over society and forces everyone to live in it. A free society should have choice. Everyone should have the freedom to choose whether they participate in the capitalist, socialist, or whatever system as explained here and here.