Capitalism is an exchange economy in which most wealth, from ordinary consumer goods to vast industrial plants and other producer goods, takes the form of commodities, or items of wealth that have been produced with a view to sale on a market. Although states have intervened in capitalism ever since it came into existence, in so far as the aim was merely to interfere with the operation of world market forces, their intervention was only at the level of the division, not the production, of surplus value. However, over the past 100 or so years, there has been a definite trend in capitalism for states to go beyond merely trying to distort the world market, and to involve themselves in the actual production of wealth by establishing and operating state enterprises.
If state capitalism is not socialism, what is? In other words, if state ownership and management of production does not amount to the abolition of capitalism but only to a change in the institutional framework within which it operates, what would be the essential features of a society in which capitalism had been abolished?
To find a coherent set of ideas which are subversive of capitalism, and which do offer an alternative to production for the world market, one must turn to the 'thin red line' represented by … anarcho-communism; impossibilism; council communism; Bordigism; situationism …
[T]here is a basic set of socialist principles which these currents share. Initially, four such principles can be identified. The currents of non-market socialism are all committed to establishing a new society where:
1) Production will be for use, and not for sale on the market.Published by Theory and Practice, a paperback will be released if demand proves high.
2) Distribution will be according to need, and not by means of buying and selling.
3) Labour will be voluntary, and not imposed on workers by means of a coercive wages system.
4) A human community will exist, and social divisions based on class, nationality, sex or race will have disappeared.
Let us clarify these four principles for those readers who may not immediately grasp all their ramifications...