Sunday, January 22, 2012

Response to Simon

Simon Millar posted on our Facebook Life Without Money (non-market socialism)'s Wall:
'I am vaguely interested to read this book but, from a Marxist point of view, money will only disappear when a complex and lengthy economic process is resolved. (The first step is the incredibly difficult task of workers gaining both political and economic power.)

'Money under socialism would change from its price/commodity form to being a form of account reflecting both the the labour time and availability of a product or service. A qualitative change in property relations would see the market replaced with economic planning, where the decisions on what we produce, how we produce it and in what quantities is intimately interwoven into democratic processes which begin and end at the "shop floor". The underlying motive force is no longer profit but the fully conscious expression of human need/s. Utopian?

'Workers already run all major industries some are simply paid a lot more to play managerial/technical/engineering roles. But those who actually own and reap the lion share of the wealth generated often never have to step foot inside one of their investments. So I just worry that with a title like this it leads people to believe that money is the essence of our problem.'
Like Autonomous Marxists (Harry Cleaver, John Holloway and Antonio Negri) we believe that money will disappear when people stop using it. We are the motive force in any 'complex and lengthy economic process', which, as you also say, involves the 'incredibly difficult task of workers gaining both political and economic power'. By refusing to deal in monetary values and relationships, and dealing instead directly in use values, we undercut capitalist values and activities.

Our book discusses ways that people can directly make decisions about what and how they produce. We include examples (see some posts below, and for more on the book, see We think that such decisions and activities need to involve everyone, not simply workers' control/councils.

We'd like to see not only 'the fully conscious expression of human needs', as you put it, but also environmentally sustainable production and exchange, which takes account of nature's needs and limits.

The kind of 'labour value' and demand–supply dynamic you refer to as existing in your ideal form of socialism is quite close to the capitalist model. In a certain sense, yes, we are saying 'money is the essence of our problem', with the qualification that 'money is not a thing' (or tool) but rather a set of relationships and dominating value.

1 comment:

  1. Postscript:

    This discussion continued at our Facebook Life Without Money (non-market socialism) page and over the first day accumulated 20 comments...