In lieu of a preface
Table of contents
- In lieu of a preface
- Goals and steps
- The legacy of the market: Solving the most pressing social problems
- Economy and society during the transitional period
- Securing the changes
- Completing the socialization process
- The new economy and the environment
- New housekeeping
- The educational system
- The distribution of goods and services
- Socially dangerous professions
- Stimulation of progress
- Perspectives of long-term development
Most political programmes and party platforms usually put a high-minded paragraph about all the great hardships that «our great (Insert Country Name Here) has to endure», how everything degrades and decays, how the government is corrupt, the world full of injustice and the future holds only catastrophes and wars. This is supposed to put the readers in the right mood and encourage them to join the «good guys» in trying to salvage the situation.
We believe that someone who is really interested in reading our program is already in the right mood and may be spared any grandiose and empty words in the preface.
Instead, we decided to put a short list of principles which we adhered to during the creation of this programme.
- Concentration of attention on large-scale goals, the achievement of which involves the interests of whole social classes1. At the same time, we strive to give the most straight and clear description of the methods we propose, avoiding ambiguity and abstruse terms.
- Open orientation towards satisfying the needs of a particular social class - our class, the people who live off their own labor. We are the majority, which means that we are not concerned with the opinions of bankers, landlords, capital owners and their servants.
- Freedom from the wishes of the ruling classes and their particular representatives, whether in the form of the government or private «sponsors» who want to gain something from being partial to our project.
- A fresh outlook on familiar things, which means new and possibly unexpected solutions. There is no reason to propose acting as usual and expect a result, that is somehow different from the usual.
- Openness to discussion. Fortunately, the Interned has been invented quite some time ago, and there is no need to gather a huge assembly to introduce some corrections to the agenda. This programme is open to criticism and discussion to everyone, including those who do not participate in the project personally.
It is also worth mentioning that this programme was originally written with a particular country in mind, and will have to be adjusted to match the situation in other countries. The problems generated by the current global economic and political system are similar enough everywhere, so the core of the agenda will stay mostly the same no matter the continent, nationality or race of the reader.
Goals and steps
Here is a short summary of the proposed actions and expected results for each part of this programme.
- The legacy of the market. Takeover of the market system with all its flaws. Main goal is to solve the most pressing social problems based on the existing reserves of the economy.
- The transitory period. Temporary coexistence of the old and new order. The transformation of the old economic and political systems via socialization2 of industry and changes in principles of government and suffrage. The creation of the Economic Control System (ECS) that will provide the means for the people to command the economy and distribute goods as they see fit. Working collectives are encouraged to participate in setting developmental goals for the country and oversee their implementation through the ECS. Preparations for abolition of the old market-based monetary system.
- Securing the transformation. The old economic order is abolished completely or covers a negligible part of the economy, which is completely remade according to new principles. The abolition of market-based monetary system. New education, science and housekeeping. New mechanisms to stimulate technological and social progress.
- The methods and perspectives of long-term development. The struggle between the old order and the new on a global scale.
- How the new principles of government are to be implemented.
The legacy of the market: Solving the most pressing social problems
When implementation of this programme will have begun, the economic system won't be much different from its present condition. Moreover, it is very likely that any differences will be to the worse, which means that the first item of our agenda will be solving a multitude of serious social issues, such as unemployment and lack of affordable housing, healthcare and education, along with a lot of other problems that concern the majority of the population.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the economy and social relations capable of solving these issues on a short notice are yet to be built. To create these, we, the people who create all the benefits of society, have to be secure in our future and ready to give our best towards the construction of a new society. But this is impossible without solving the most pressing of our problems, since very few people will be willing to work for the common good if they have to worry about paying rent, feeding, clothing and educating their children, and finding a job during a recession.
At a first glance this seems like an unsolvable vicious circle. And it really will be one if we don't have the courage to admit one simple truth: it is impossible to improve the lives of everyone at the same time. We will have to choose between satisfying the needs of the vast majority of people who live off their own labor, and the greed of a minority that benefits from the «peculiarities» of the old system.
For us, the majority, the needs of our social class should be put first. And we know that material wealth is not distributed in present-day society according to one's contribution to public labor, which means that it is distributed unfairly. At first the problems caused by the previous socioeconomic system will have to be solved by correcting this injustice.
Employment and retraining
Unemployment is one of the main elements of the market economy, and one of the first issues that has to be solved. Modern politicians constantly shower us with empty platitudes, showing their «concern» over the issue of unemployment, but in reality unemployment is vital for the ruling class to lower the cost of labor and ensure their own profits.
The only thing that concerns us about their profits is how to abolish them by fair distribution between all participants of the production process. Our main interest is to provide our country, and first of all, its productive people, with all the goods and services they need. This means developing the full cycle of production: from mining and agriculture to the final product, whether it is an industrial robot or quality foodstuffs in the cafeteria or over the counter. In these conditions the issue of unemployment will disappear on its own, and will be replaced by the opposite problem: a lack of labor resources to complete such massive tasks.
In addition to overt unemployment, the market economy has created another problem: a large amount of «frozen» human resources. The most glaring examples of this are low-level office clerks, private security guards, various salespeople - from those who hand out leaflets or serve as walking advertisements to a broad variety of actual salesmen. For the most part, they are able-bodied people excluded from productive labor by the market to legalize the redistribution of income in favor of capital owners. In the new social and economic system there will be no need for these «jobs», which liberates a significant amount of labor.
The main issue here is that people doing these meaningless office jobs have no useful professional education necessary to participate in productive labor, which is why a massive retraining program, open for all willing to engage in productive work, must start as soon as possible. The same can be said about the multitudes of governmental officials and members of the overgrown security apparatus.
Everyone who is willing to work will be provided with a productive job that benefits society.
On the issue of housing
Our stand on the issue of housing is quite simple and comprehensive: every person who works towards the common good must be provided with adequate housing. Its absence makes normal rest and development, as well as participation in almost any productive process, virtually impossible.
The market economy is not interested in providing people with affordable housing. A whole strata of the ruling class lives off a housing deficit - namely, the landlords, people whose income consists in part or in full from money received as rent. The banks, with their system of mortgages, are also interested in a lack of affordable housing. Even in the so-called First World about a third of the population has to rent living space.
Most of those who rent a house or an apartment have to be concerned for the stability of their situation, which is threatened by many different occasions: from the arbitrary decisions made by the landlords to the merciless «invisible hand» of the market that makes people lose their jobs, and the means to pay rent with it.
As a consequence:
- Dozens of millions of people work to provide both for themselves and for their parasitic landlord, whom they are forced to pay rent.
- Millions of landlords receive income not gained from labor, which enables them to avoid any productive work completely. Of course, the benefit of these people to society approaches zero, and sometimes goes into negative numbers.
The only escape from this situation provided by the market economy is mortgage, which is, first, not affordable for everyone, and second, often only increases the economic vulnerability of those who took mortgage and became hostages of their banks for years, and sometimes even decades.
We deny the right of landlords and banks to leech off of people who create all of society's wealth.
- Inventarization of all real estate in a unified database.
- Removal of rent payments for de-facto tenants.
- Socialization of real estate kept as investment and newly built real estate, which will then be redistributed amongst those who need housing.
Of course, it is important to approach every case of real estate socialization with caution. For instance, we cannot allow an elderly person, whose pension is completely spent on buying medicine, and who is forced to rent out his or her flat to survive, to be deprived of all livelihood. This situation must be resolved by providing the elderly with a full package of social guarantees, so that they will have no need for unearned income.
As a result, we will see:
- Liquidation of housing deficit for those who live off their own labor.
- A significant amount of fresh labor, since former landlords will no longer be able to lead a parasitic existence and will have to work for a living.
There is one other important issue that has to be addressed. Such a solution of the housing problem is temporary and incomplete due to the following considerations:
- It is highly probable that in the new economy there will be a deficit of housing space in regions with high economic potential, even after the redistribution is complete. This is caused by the excessive concentration of population in a market economy, where people from productive regions are drawn into large cities where the majority of real estate is built.
- Existing housing does not satisfy the requirements of the new economy, namely suitability to full automation and comfortable environmental conditions5. It is not desirable, but necessary.
This means that construction of modern, comfortable quality housing must be one of the first priorities of the new economy after the transitory period.
The abolition of debt
Millions suffer under the yoke of debt. Free market apologists often say that people should not overspend their income, all the while avoiding the question of where they themselves got an income that allows to pay off all their consumer loans or avoid using loans at all.
A huge number of people has to take loans just to afford household appliances, healthcare, education for their children, repairs in their house, or simply to patch up another financial gap that often appears so suddenly in the chaos of the market. And, of course, the mortgage - a years-long servitude that many have to resign themselves to, simply to have a place to live.
Of course, some of these loans were taken out of stupidity, to buy the latest gadget, a wider TV, a faster car and so on - something anyone could live without. The adepts of the market like to parade these examples and construct consistent patterns out of them, blaming the victims for their misfortune. Their stand on this issue is clear, but it is full of hypocrisy, since various marketing campaigns constantly assault us via the media, advertisements on the streets, in out postboxes and in the movies, trying to convince us that without the newest model of (insert consumer product here) you are nothing, your existence is futile and your life is meaningless. Not everyone can fight this artificial public opinion created by marketing. In any case, the reason for taking loans is usually caused by the market economy, either directly, or through enforcing a false sense of necessity.
Due to the peculiarities of the market, those who have taken a loan often find themselves unable to repay it in time, which forces them to take another loan to cover the previous one, and then a third one, and so on, sometimes going as far as a dozen. The debt noose tightens.
This situation is disgusting and may serve as a perfect example of injustice. Those who produce all the wealth of society, including the very physical foundation of the banking system (their buildings, their equipment etc.) end up in debt to those who «produce» nothing but a mountain of paperwork. In the past these know-it-alls in ties referred to their education and the stupidity of the lower classes as the reasons for their position in society, but times change, and nowadays bankers in neckties are often less intellectually developed than their debtors.
Loans are just another tool to provide a luxurious life for the ruling class at the expense of our labor.
This is why in our programme the debt yoke is to be consigned to oblivion from the very start. All payments for mortgage, consumer and other personal loans are suspended6.
However, this measure only concerns private citizens. Corporate entities will still be held accountable for their financial obligations according to the very rules that they themselves put in place while being the former ruling class.
Looking ahead, this is only the first step towards the transformation of the financial system and the economy in general. The apologists of financial institutions may not concern themselves about the consequences and spare us the accusations in «irresponsible populism that will break the economy for good». All banks will be merged in a united central bank, which will then be socialized and transformed. In this case, the preservation of the old debt system will be absurd, since society will be its own creditor and debtor, giving loans to itself, which is meaningless.
Redistribution of resources from the center to the periphery
Historically, economic development gave rise to financial capitals7, the main economic function of which is redistribution of resources. In present-day conditions this leads to expulsion of «non-essential» enterprises, such as industrial manufacturing, outside these cities. Their place is taken by the «financial elite» and other similar con-men who desire a life of luxury at the expense of other people's toil.
With access to redistribution of all the resources of a given economy, they start with providing themselves with «conditions according to their station», which means excessive, status-based consumption. The scraps from this insane feast are thrown to those «plebeans» who service the elites. This way, the ruling class solves two problems in one: it buys loyalty of those from the lower classes who are physically closest to them, and creates an atmosphere of luxury so that it can exist in relative comfort.
The financial capital then begins drawing in the country's resources, or even those of a whole region of the world. This allows it to drastically increase the standards of living inside. A positive feedback loop arises: the more resources the capital extracts from the economy, the lower the living standards elsewhere in the country, and the higher it is in the capital. This causes the most talented and ambitious people to concentrate in the capital city in search of a better life and personal fullfilment, launching a mechanism of labor migration that deprives the periphery of its most valuable manpower, as well as any remaining chances of correcting the imbalance. Successful migrants remain in the capital, thus creating additional demand on resources and completing this vicious circle.
As a result, there is a city that produces almost nothing but consumes excessive amounts of resources, and the «rest of the world» becomes an impoverished periphery, the inhabitants of which are often unable to satisfy even their basic needs, such as quality food and housing.
One of the important items on our agenda is the abolition of the traditional concept of capital cities. Its first step will be redistribution of resources in favor of the periphery through a ban on any major development in the capital.
Our agenda involves goals that are much more important than building another row of concrete hives, paving over the remaining green areas of the city or constructing another subway ring.
Capital city aglomerations will be allocated an amount of resources that is sufficient to avoid a humanitarian disaster. Liberated resources will be redistributed in favor of promising regions to develop industry and social infrastructure. The flow of qualified professionals from the periphery to the center will be reversed, which will help the periphery escape its predicament.
Securing the necessary skilled workforce
One of the many imbalances caused by the market economy is an ugly skew in relevance and prestige of various professions. It is much more profitable and prestigious to be a manager, a lawyer or any other chairwarmer, than to work in manufacturing, agriculture, education or science. This imbalance will be one of the obstacles on the path to a self-sufficient economy that must be able to satisfy the needs of the majority. A severe shortage of skilled labor in some of the most important sectors of the economy is inevitable, especially in those countries that developed to be dependent on the West and other centers of the capitalist world.
One of the ways to cover this shortage is to create attractive working conditions in vitally important industries. More to the point, this means providing a full package of social benefits to those employed in these industries. Namely:
- A fair recalculation of salaries, meaning their increase.
- Travel and daily commute allowances including intercity travel.
- Discount (and better yet, free) holiday centers and resorts.
- Free access to educational and recreational cultural events.
- Priority access to comfortable housing.
- Priority access to healthcare.
Moreover, in an economy built on modern information technology8, office paperwork will be reduced to a minimum, meaning that office paper-pushers will have to acquire new skills, which will provide additional workforce for important industries.
The market has twisted the healthcare system, making it almost unusable.
People postpone their visits to the doctors, since it is time-consuming, inconvenient and often humiliating and unreliable. But mostly because they have no time or money for it, even in countries with so-called «free» healthcare. Commercial clinics only solve secondary problems, such as queues and friendliness of service, but the quality of diagnosis and treatment is still lacking.
Poor access and low quality of healthcare are one of the main reasons for excessive mortality of people in active working age. Society loses valuable professionals that could contribute a lot to it, which is very harmful for an economy that is already suffering a shortage of skilled labor.
Keeping in mind the constant population decline in most developed countries9, providing quality healthcare must be one of our main priorities. It will preserve the health and lives of millions and save a lot of precious human resources for society.
- Socialization. Healthcare is a strategically important sector of economy, and must be under social control. Of course, the owners of private clinics will oppose this. But making money off people's health is one of the most disgusting features of the market, and has to be liquidated as soon as possible. Medics, being amongst those employed in one of the vital industries outlined above, will be provided with a full package of social benefits.
- As a natural consequence of socialization, healthcare will be free. Since the whole society is the collective client of the healthcare system, any payment for treatments is just a needless transfer of money from one pocket to another, which is meaningless and harmful, because it incurs additional expenses on accounting.
- Increase in accessibility. The number of medical facilities must be calculated from their physical accessibility. «Optimization to increase effectiveness» by depriving whole townships of any access to healthcare is intolerable. Every populated area must be covered by the healthcare system.
- Introduction of modern technology and methods, which must commence from the very start of our programme.
Obviously, the last two items must be planned in detail with valuable input from professional medical community, and most importantly medical practitioners themselves.
Access to quality healthcare is an inalienable right of every person.
The issues that plague the educational system are rather similar to those of healthcare, with one major difference: a person can avoid needing the services of the healthcare system, but enrollment into the educational system is inevitable.
We will skip listing existing problems and their consequences here. Graduates with incredibly low level of education and few useful skills are just victims of the general poor state that the educational system is in.
Education is our future, and without solving its problems we doom our entire project to failure. Because of this, education must become one of the most important industries in our future economy.
The measures taken in education are similar to those seen in healthcare:
- Free-of-charge basis.
- Increased accessibility, which especially concerns kindergartens, the lack of which is harmful for the demographic situation.
- Introduction of modern technologies and methods.
Accessible and quality education is an inalienable right of every person.
An important reservation has to be made here: as with the issue of housing, the measures outlined in this paragraph are only the first steps, aimed at covering the most glaring deficiencies of society created by the market. The educational system itself must be profoundly transformed, but that would not be possible right from the start due to a lack of a necessary basis.
Preservation of scientific potential
Science is one of the most important components of progress and development.
The quantitative proportion of scientists in society is rather small, and the loss of scientific workforce will do us great harm, whether it is through loss of qualification or emigration to other countries.
Despite the difficult situation that the country may find itself in immediately after the economic and political collapse of the former system, we must preserve and increase its scientific potential.
All scientists with at least a minimum of significance and experience will be provided with full social benefits, from priority access to housing, to various amenities free of charge.
Freedom of information
Freedom of information means free access to the sum total of humanity's knowledge.
Which means that:
- The copyright system is abolished completely and forever, as inimical to progress and a source of unearned income.
- Censorship is completely banned10. In modern conditions it is much more difficult to suppress information than it is to distribute it. False information that may be harmful to society is better and easier countered by refutation, for instance, through the educational system that will give everyone the skills necessary to develop critical thinking, that will allow them to filter out false information.
Everyone is free to create, receive, copy and distribute any kind of information.
Economy and society during the transitional period
The transitional period is quite possibly the most complex and contradictory stage on our way to the future. At its start we have the old world with all its flaws, from an economy built to satisfy every whim of the ruling minority, directed by the market, and to traditional housekeeping that secures inequality and injustice in society. In this world the progressive movement that aims to achieve prosperity for the whole of society11 is only beginning to gain strength. At the end of the transitional period we expect a robust foundation for a new economic and social system, where injustice in distribution of goods and services is reduced as much as possible and humanity moves towards even greater technological and social perfection.
It is crucial to remember that a direct regression to the past is possible during this period - whether due to economic problems, social movements directed by the former elite or foreign intervention. Another, no less dangerous, scenario may happen if, having overcome the vagaries of the first few years, we become satisfied by this temporary result and stop our movement further, which will inevitably lead do the degradation of social relations and the economy and, in the end, the same regression to the past.
Here we will outline the most important transformations in the economy and society of the transitional period.
Socialization of industries
The economy of the future is based on the capability to predict the supply and demand of goods, and control their production and redistribution for the benefit of the majority. This will be possible through adoption of modern information technologies and abolition of all non-productive elements of the supply chain, who only strive to «redistribute» the product into their own pockets.
Obviously, control and precise planning may only be achieved when all productive forces belong to the same owner. All the participants in the production process, or, at first, their most active members, will become this collective «owner». To achieve this, all industries have to be socialized and connected to the unified control system which will be directed by the representatives of working collectives.
The main complication that we're going to face at that moment will be the initial absence of such a unified control system. For a time its functions will have to be performed «manually», using computing power inherited from the institutions of the market economy, which are poorly suited for such massive tasks. Such «manual control» is justifiably criticized for its lack of speed and efficiency, and we will only resort to it for lack of a better alternative. Given how the complexity of management usually grows exponentially when the number of managed entities increases, we can conclude that in the beginning it will be impossible to socialize the whole economy at once.
To put it bluntly, we would not be able to manage the whole economy if we socialize it all right at the start of the transitional period. Because of this, only those industries and sectors of the economy that are vital for all other industries and sectors will be socialized first:
- Manufacturing and raw material extraction.
- Large-scale agricultural enterprises.
- Transport infrastructure.
- Telecommunications and other informational infrastructure.
- The financial system.
The socialization of these industries will allow us to build a foundation for an economy and a society of a completely new type.
Control over the economy
The accessibility of consumer goods, the fairness of their distribution and prosperity of society in general depends on the way the economy is managed.
The free market model that is prevalent today once used to be the most innovative one, and stimulated progress in all areas of human activity. But those times are long gone, and feudal subsistence-level production has long ago been transformed into the commodity production by capitalism.
Having put an end to the previous economic model, capitalism lost its historical progressive role. Nowadays its main function is to provide a privileged existence to those people who control the economy - the capitalist class.
But progress cannot be stopped and the fruits of technological revolution have made the idea of a market-based economy obsolete13. It loses its ground even amongst corporations, where large trans-national companies (TNCs) arise from formerly separate and competing enterprises, destroying one of the sacred cows of the market - competition. The TNCs themselves often utilize completely non-market-based solutions to manage their affairs.
We reject the free market as a tool that has been vastly outpaced by the technological capabilities of our era. There is an objectively existing need in a new model of economic control, one based on the achievements of modern science and technology, first of all, computer science and mathematics.
Mathematical methods14 developed in the first half of the XX century allow to organize production in the most efficient way possible, and they already work within the existing market economy, which proves that they can be implemented in reality. At the same time, the rapid development of computer science during the last two decades makes it possible to gather and process any economically significant information in real time.
Our goal is to create an Economic Control System (ECS). All the information gathering, data processing, calculations and a huge part of analytics will be handed over to this system. This will increase the speed and transparency of decision-making, lower the impact of the human factor and reduce the probability of someone using the system for personal gain.
However, this does not mean that «the computer will take care of everything», and we can relax - or live in fear of a «machine uprising». After the ECS is complete, every legally capable citizen will have the right to:
- Participate in making collective decisions on the strategic direction of development, which is described in more detail in the paragraph about electoral franchise.
- Introduce improvements to the economic calculation algorithms, whether to account for new technologies, redistribute resources to different industries or react to unforseen circumstances (natural disasters, wars etc.)
- Participate in controlling the general estimates and actions proposed by the system.
- Develop and support the ECS.
The main purpose of the ECS is to perform an enormous amount of monotonous work, leaving the job of making key decisions to people, which will include all legally capable members of society.
Priority tasks during the construction of the ECS:
- Create a distributed fault-tolerant data processing cluster.
The foundation of its programming is already built by the market in the form of modern Big Data technology, but, of course, it will have to be adapted to the needs of the ECS. The socialized property of telecommunications companies and web-based businesses will serve as its material basis, at least in the beginning. The ECS must be distributed evenly over the whole country with no obvious center, which is vital if it is to be resilient to various disasters, and to avoid concentrating control over the economy in a single city.
- Broaden and standardize the data gathering process.
The more complete, detailed and fresh data on the country's economy is, the more efficiently it can be governed. The ECS has to be informed about the demand on various goods in every populated locality, about every instance of distribution, not to mention real-time stocks of goods etc. The condition of manufacturing equipment, its operational lifetime and whether it is in need of maintenance, also have to be entered into the ECS, along with the condition of all existing infrastructure, the availability of natural and other resources, the state of the environment and hundreds of other parameters.
To provide all of this we have to create a data gathering network, based on already existing technologies15. This network will serve as the system's «nerve endings» that all connect to a distributed «brain» - the data processing cluster.
- Produce a data and forecast visualization toolkit.
The data gathered and processed by the systems outlined above makes it possible to create a detailed view of the economy and make precise forecasts that would be impossible in market conditions. However, all this data in its original form of numbers and tables will be hard to understand for the average citizen who is not an economist. Because of this, an easily accessible toolkit that allows to visualize the general parameters of the economy and, by request, show separate areas in more detail, must be one of the main components of the ECS. It will enable anyone to, for example, get an evaluation of the present condition of the country's healthcare and draw up a forecast that would show the impact of a certain decision on healthcare, with the ability to increase the level of detail and see the consequences of said decision for any specific populated locality.
- Encourage transition to cashless transactions as the first step to the abolition of money in general. It is necessary to improve the quality and speed of the calculations performed by the ECS: it is harder to create a criminal «underground economy», that would work according to the old principles and undermine the new economy, without any cash in circulation. This measure might cause some justified concern about the possibility of misuse of the data gathered on every person by the ECS, but this problem has a technical solution.
The new economy is governed by dynamic planning. Only the most basic parameters have to be set «manually», according to the desirable direction of development. All specific parameters, especially those that concern the production of consumer goods with fluctuating demand, are to be calculated by the ECS automatically and regularly reviewed and corrected. People only have to set basic parameters and sometimes manually correct a few specific ones in case of emergencies.
Electoral franchise and governance
In a capitalist society political power rests securely in the hands of the property owners. The elections may be fair and ideally transparent, but they only serve as propaganda set-pieces. There can be no real fair elections if only the representatives of the ruling class, or their puppets, are allowed to participate as candidates. The results of these elections are always predictable: after the ballots are counted, there is a lot of high-minded speeches about gratitude for trust that has been given to the winning candidate, followed by some staff replacements in the government and... everything stays mostly the same.
This whole political circus rapidly loses its meaning when the economic principles described earlier take effect. Capital owners lose their property rights and alongside with them - the ability to influence politics. To fill the resulting political vacuum and implement our programme, we have to introduce some drastic changes to electoral legislation.
The right to vote
Citizens only have the right to vote if they participate in a socially beneficial production process.
In the new economic reality the majority of the population will become participants in one socially beneficial production process or another, which means that the majority will possess the right to vote. However, voting power begets the obligation to defend it, which in practice means universal and equal obligation to receive special training and bear arms in defense of the country and its people for every legally and physically capable voter regardless of gender.
Eligibility for public office
Citizens are only eligible for public office if they have proven themselves to be good organizers and professionals during their participation in the production process, and are nominated by their working collective.
This ensures that only people with practical and proven results are allowed to hold public office.
System of governance
Due to the latest progress in information technology, there is no more need to build gigantic administrative complexes that have to include all the buildings to house the government, all its infrastructure and related services, including security personnel. People elected to govern the country remain in form and in fact within the working collectives that nominated them, leaving only in case of urgent necessity and for only for short periods of time. Payment for their activities in government (if at all necessary) is provided by the organization that nominated them, from its own funds, and may not be higher than the limit established by the collective or the maximum salary in a given industry.
Every productive collective nominates as many delegates as it sees fit and can provide for without undermining its own production process. During voting on matters of state, the vote of a delegate is proportional to the number of people they represent. Every member of a working collective that is not satisfied with the decision made by their delegate has the right to annul their vote and re-vote on the issue personally, and also declare a vote of no confidence in the delegate.
The necessity of a scientific worldview
The prosperity of a future society can only be built on a developed scientific and technological basis. This concerns not only the material technological sphere, but also the social environment, including culture, customs and traditions.
Our goal is to develop a scientific worldview in society, based on a systemic approach, logic, substantiation and consistency of the mindset in general.
If every member of society is ready to use criticism and the scientific method16 to every new statement or old custom - sustainable progressive development, that is safe from a return to the past or a takeover by a selfish minority, can be secured.
How to develop a scientific worldview in society:
Popular science and science education must be provided with ample resources, whether in form of television broadcasts, interactive online programs or various public events17, which must provide knowledge in an interesting and comprehensive format. Every person should feel themselves involved in scientific progress, understand how scientific discoveries are implemented in practice and what benefits do they bring to society in general and every human being in particular.
- Monopoly on education.
The main goal of educational facilities, whether primary or tertiary, regardless of their specialization, must be to nurture people whose mindset is based on a scientific worldview, meaning the cognizability of the world and the absence of dogmaticism. Its only competition nowadays is the religious mindset. Religion, regardless of its type, remains a worldview based on an inherent nescience of the world, on dogma and multiple self-contradictions. Those who are ready to explore the world through research and creative labor have no need for shackles on their mind.
- Self-sufficiency of religious organizations.
Religion is an archaic legacy of the past that has only survived to the present due to its union with the capitalist ruling class, as one of the tools with which it keeps down the impoverished majority. We know its historical role well, but since we stand for freedom of conscience we cannot ban it, even if we consider it to be disgusting superstition. Whether to put faith in unprovable beliefs or not is a personal matter, just as supplying the institutions necessary to support these beliefs should be. Religious institutions may only be funded by their own followers. Any support from the socialized economy should be ceased, and all means of production belonging to religious organizations should be socialized.
Securing the changes
After the main goals of the transitional period have been achieved, a period of securing the changes will begin. All the previous measures were only in preparation, gathering forces, knowledge and tools to make the first step towards the society of the future.
This very stage will introduce profound social transformations that should enable a self-regulated sustainable society free from class stratification, which will make violence born out of this stratification and segregation obsolete.
Completing the socialization process
By the time this period rolls around, the share of non-socialized enterprises in the economy will be miniscule. Most likely, they will be concentrated in the service sector and in production of «elite» consumer goods, the demand on which may persist due to remaining influence of market ideology amongst the people.
The service sector is an important component of the economy, vital for a modern society. Those enterprises that have proven themselves to be indispensable must be socialized in the same manner as the large-scale industries were during the transitional period. The only obstacle to this that was present before - the absence of the ECS - will be gone. If the proprietor of the enterprise happens to also be a participant in the working process, he or she may, with consent from the collective have a priority right to a leadership position within the newly socialized enterprise.
As for the enterprises producing «elite» consumer goods, their situation is twofold. Those enterprises providing luxury goods for status-based consumption, the only meaning of which is to express class superiority of the buyer over the rest of society, must be closed.Most of them will close down due to purely economic reasons: for instance, nobody will buy premium fur coats, therefore its manufacturer will have to cease operations.
The second scenario happens if the enterprise in question produced goods or services previously only affordable to the privileged minority, but in itself useful and must be available to everyone. Such enterprises must be developed further to satisfy the demands of the whole society, and their staff becomes valuable specialists who can improve the lives of the majority. For example, this can be said about enterprises possessing cutting-edge technologies in constructing comfortable housing or making high-quality clothing, which are desirable for everyone but only available to a few in a capitalist system.
Moreover, a large number of small private enterprises will close down by themselves during the transitional period due to lack of demand on their goods and services. This concerns first and foremost the innumerable trading, consulting, accounting and other similar companies which only make sense in a market economy and satisfy the needs of private capital owners.
As a result, only socialized means of production connected to the ECS will remain, which will increase the quality of calculations and forecasts, making the entire economy more effective and reliable.
The new economy and the environment
Our environment, the conditions that we have to live in, define a significant portion of our health, mood and well-being, and thus the general perception of life. Nobody likes to live in a cramped room of a decrepit house with outdated utilities located on the edge of a landfill. But even high-quality modern housing can at best isolate people from the environment, creating a comfortable but very limited «human aquarium»21.
The state of the environment mostly depends on how we conduct our economic activities, how our industries are organized and how our cities are planned.
The market economy is based on extensive development mandated by the very foundations of capitalism: namely, the need to provide profit from capital by any means necessary. This leads to inevitable destruction of the environment on every scale: from a single house or township to the whole planet.
The material basis of our new economy will be inherited directly from the market era, which means that it will still produce the same problems and risks. The transformations brought about during the transitional period will partially alleviate these problems, but they cannot resolve the whole issue completely.
To avoid a global environmental or resource crisis22 we must build an economy based on the principles of sustainable development23, using the latest achievements in science and technology. The necessary transformations will encompass both the manufacturing of material goods and our living space - from particular towns and villages to whole regions of the country.
An important caveat: by production we mean not just industrial manufacturing, but also agriculture and transport.
To ensure sustainable development we have to create a new production system with the following traits:
- Every establishment must have a plan on how to absorb the environmental damage from its activities. This plan has to be expressed in actions instead of relegating a percentage of the establishment's budget to environmental restoration. Said plan has to include environmentally-friendly cultivation of the landscape affected by the establishment in question, which must become an inalienable part of newly created industries.
- Establishments must be spacially located in such a way so that the byproducts of one establishment may serve as raw materials for another. This partially solves the problem of waste disposal and reduces possible expenses on waste transportation, which in turn reduces the cost of the final product, environmental risks and resource consumption.
- Environmental methods of solving problems have to be favored over technological ones. For example, instead of building and maintaining expensive dams to fight floods, we can restore wetlands via partial flooding of alluvial land which will absorb any flood water.
- Action against undesirable climate change has to be taken first and foremost through restoration of natural ecosystems that will absorb the byproducts of industry: by planting forests, restoring wetlands etc.
- Genetic engineering should be extensively used to:
- Avoid the damage caused by pesticides.
- Absorb environmental pollution from industrial activity.
For example, genetically modified vegetation capable of adsorbing heavy metals could be planted in the areas susceptible to industrial exhaust. It could later be harvested and processed to extract metallic salts which could then be used in manufacturing. These genetically modified plants will be incapable of living outside polluted areas, which will keep them from spreading elsewhere.
- Active protection of local species and ecosystems in productive areas solves several environmental problems: a stable biosphere is capable of absorbing some of the byproducts of our activities by itself.
- Nature preserves and wildlife sanctuaries must be established where possible with total prohibition on economic activity within them and minimal access for people. They will serve as «control samples» and the impact of human activity on nature, along with the measure of success of our actions against pollution on a global scale, will be evaluated by the state they are in.
- Large infrastructure projects, such as roads and pipelines, must be accompanied by a network of «green zones» to allow for the passage of animals. This is necessary to maintain the coherency of local ecosystems.
- Priority should be given to developing and producing easily recycled goods with large proportion of recoverable resources.
Living space planning
This section mostly concerns population centers.
The location and inner structure of modern population center, especially large cities, reflect the chaotic nature of life in a market economy. A chronic lack of funds on the periphery leads to massive degradation of settlements, from bad road pavement to decrepit residential buildings and failing social infrastructure. Large cities suffer from the opposite: densification and road construction lead to a drastic reduction of the remaining green recreational areas, produce regular traffic jams and pollute the air, putting citizens in a state of constant stress.
The very principles of a self-sufficient economy and the establishment of new industries will «naturally» alleviate some of these problems during the transitional period: the excess population will move to new production centers, leaving bloated old cities with their negative input-output balance.
The creation of new industries will also greatly assist in the comprehensive transformation of our living space, urban and rural settlements: the population of the huge cities of old will be redistributed, giving settlements of the periphery a revitalizing influx of new inhabitants, and a number of new settlements will be founded where new industrial centers are to be created.
The old settlements should be reconstructed, and the new settlements planned, with the requirements of sustainable development in mind:
- Their interior transport infrastructure has to be developed to rely on comfortable public transport and muscle-driven personal transportation (i.e. bicycles).
- The density of residential areas must be calculated based on the limits of both the environment and the transport system.
- Construction must be accompanied by cultivation of recreational green zones according to scientifically proven norms.
- All green zones of a given settlement should be connected by special tunnels and crossings, creating an unbroken area that allows for free movement of animals. They can later be used as natural preserves for rare plant and animal species.
- Badlands, landfills, abandoned factories and other unused territories must be recultivated.
The new economy, controlled by the society via the ECS, makes gigantic administrative centers with their overloaded infrastructure and privileged conditions redundant. This makes the very concept of a capital city obsolete along with the previous political system. There will be no more need to concentrate all «financial flows» and «management tools» in one place, which by itself frees society from a huge burden of managing excessively large cities.
Our everyday housekeeping is heavily influenced by the existing social order. Being so familiar and mundane, it almost never becomes a focus for conscious criticism and reevaluation during any changes in the social order, which often makes it the last refuge of outdated principles.
The improvement of production processes, which liberates people from tiresome monotonous labor, often almost never has any impact on housekeeping. Old housing is unsuitable for new technologies that could automate housekeeping and free people from mundane drudgery. At best, we can buy separate individual household appliances: washing machines, vacuum cleaners, fridges, air conditioning. This solution has a few glaring flaws:
- High prices. As a result, most people have to get by with a minimal set: a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine and a fridge. But even these are not always affordable, especially in the Third World.
- Constant maintenance issues, sometimes after every use, along with general wear and tear, sooner or later cause these appliances to break down. Their repair or replacement becomes another financial burden for the owner.
- Household appliances take up too much space.
- The burden of property. Anyone who had to move house at least once in their lifetime can attest that this is a real problem, which is especially pressing for those who have to rent housing and therefore move more often than those who possess a house of their own.
Usually, any attempts to get rid of monotonous housekeeping duties lead to one of these three scenarios:
- Housekeeping, in part or in full, is delegated to the most «unprivileged» member of the household, for example, women, children, or simply someone who is timid enough. This ensures that the person in question basically has two jobs - first one at work, and another at home, and this second job is not remunerated in any fashion, since this type of exploitation is taken for granted.
- Housekeeping is neglected completely. The insanitary conditions that result from this solution will sooner or later have a negative impact on health, not to mention becoming a nuisance for the neighbors.
- Housekeeping is done by hired help. Usually only a tiny minority that lives off others' labor can afford such a luxury. Furthermore, such work performed on a professional basis is often perceived by society as humiliating and degrading.
An astute reader probably already noticed, that all these scenarios are a choice between equal evils. Delegation of housekeeping duties to a particular group of people is especially harmful, because it creates a strata of humiliated and exploited people whose opportunities of self-development and productive creative labor are chronically constricted by a lack of time and vigor, which are exhausted by housekeeping toil. While such a strata still exists in society, all the talk about just and fair distribution of wealth and opportunities will be just that - talk.
Time free from socially beneficial labor must be really free. People must be free to choose how to spend it for themselves, whether it is on self-improvement, gaining new skills and knowledge, socialize with friends and relatives or simply rest.
By reconstructing our habitat, building new settlements and refurbishing old ones, we free ourselves from the limitations imposed on our housekeeping by old residential planning. New housing has to allow more freedom of interior redecoration for every apartment, to avoid the necessity of torturing neighbors with construction noise.
In addition to all the amenities that are already familiar to every modern citizen, each new apartment block must have:
- Kitchen-cafes, with food available both on the spot and as take-out. Food preparation must be organized according to a scientifically proven and variable ration, with regular quality control and rapid feedback. Centralizing food preparation will allow to automate the process to the maximum for kitchen workers and free other people from an enormous amount of routine labor - buying and storing food, preparing it, cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes.
- A laundry with automatic washing and drying machines. This will, amongst other things, lower the overall noise pollution of living quarters.
- A general plan of living space that would reduce the number of «dark corners» that accumulate dust and garbage to a minimum.
- A dispenser for various household appliances, from screwdrivers to complicated mechanisms, that will distribute and receive appliances and automatically clean them during storage.
- A garbage collector with waste sorting.
- Rooms and outside areas for exercise and sports.
- A «creative corner» to provide opportunities for self-actualization in technology and art.
- A first aid station with all the necessary medicine and equipment.
Every apartment must in turn have:
Access to telecommunications, including *mandatory access to the ECS, which must be ensured no matter whether the tenants possess individual computers or not.
* An apartment climate-control system that must become a common utility like water or electricity25. The introduction of such systems on the planning stage of construction will solve the issues of maintenance, effective power usage and spacing, that arise from familiar individual practice of installing ACs today.
* Automated sanitary equipment that will eliminate «unplanned» use of water and dispense soap and other personal hygiene products.
* Modular furniture that will allow anyone to construct their furniture as they see fit without special tools, due to the usage of standardized modules and components.
* Cold storage connected to a building-wide refrigeration system, for people to be able to store some prepared food within the apartment.
The new model of housekeeping will liberate people from routine, repetitive and ineffective toil, delegating it to professionally organized and automated services. The hardships associated with moving house will disappear on their own, due to a dramatic decrease in the size and amount of possessions that people have to take with them. Communal housekeeping will eliminate routine labor that has to be performed on an individual basis today, and will provide everyone with basic material goods and services, leaving people with more time to enact their ideas, hobbies and creative labor - things which actually express human personality.
The educational system
The educational system serves a double purpose in the present-day society, which is divided into the privileged minority and the rest of the population. The first purpose is to transfer knowledge onto the new generations of people. The second function is rarely spoken of aloud by public officials, because it serves as one of the lodestones for the domination of the ruling class: the educational system is also a way for them to preserve their power through restricting access to knowledge.
The main barriers on the way to a full education will be lifted during the very first steps of our programme, but this is not enough.
Just like in the case of housekeeping, the educational system itself was also formed under heavy influence of the social order and remains the bastion of its principles even after said order has been changed. Even a completely accessible, free of charge and high-quality educational system will prove fatal for the society of the future if it fosters narrow-minded individualistic consumers instead of a conscious and creative collectivists26.
The general principles of the new educational system should be as follows:
- A new outlook on teachers.
The work of teachers helps mold new generations of people and in a lot of ways determines the developmental potential of society as a whole. Such an important role provides a lot of professional opportunities, which are accompanied by strict criteria for qualification. A teacher does not only educate people. A teacher also has to constantly learn to stay at the cutting edge of his or her subject, to provide the students with the newest know-how of science and technology. A society that is interested in comprehensive and quality education must guarantee the workers of the educational system a priority in allocation of necessary resources for professional development.
- Applicability and practice.
The acceleration of technological, scientific and social progress that took place during the last century or so has outlined the vastly increased qualifications required from those who graduate from the educational system. The old system is rather lacking in this regard, being at best mediocre, especially in areas of expertise that undergo constant rapid development. Students are often fed obsolete and inapplicable knowledge and skills . A new approach to the teaching profession is the first, but by no means the only step towards solving the applicability issue. Teachers need to be supplied with state-of-the-art computer equipment that will completely replace obsolete paper-based materials. This will allow to update the information in all textbooks regularly and at a very low cost. The teachers themselves won't have to read the updated versions completely from scratch: every change should be mentioned in a changelog, which will allow quick access to updated paragraphs. In addition, the educational process has to be supplemented with practical activities where possible. It especially concerns practical subjects: professional training has to include participation in the production process of an appropriate establishment. This way, knowledge is entrenched and constantly tested on whether it is still correct and applicable in real life. Every case when theory and practice diverge from each other has to be investigated, and theory corrected accordingly.
- Continuity and perpetuity.
Education, once started at a very early age, helps people develop stage by stage. A mandatory education that brings people up to a socially established minimum is just a foundation for the formation of a fully fledged member of society. But as there are no limits to human learning, so there can be no limits to the educational process for any given human being. The new educational system has to be constructed in such a way as to provide an opportunity to continue education up to the highest possible level for any willing person without taking them out of the productive process for a long time.
- Geographic mobility.
The first years of life are especially important for human development. Making children familiar with different climatic and geographic conditions of life and work will help broaden their perspective, aid faster acclimatization in the future and create a complete picture of our country in every citizen.
The main goals of the educational system in relation to human personality:
- To foster collectivism, through the understanding of humans as social beings that can only live a meaningful life in a society of
their peers. Everyone has to understand that the state of society is determined by their personal input, and be ready to act for the benefit of society even if it requires to forsake their personal interests.
- To develop individuality. There is no contradiction between the development of a collective and development of an individual, no matter how hard the apologists of the market strive to convince us otherwise. Precisely the opposite is true: an individuality may only be fully expressed in a collective of people who are capable of understanding and appreciating the significance of someone‘s achievements. Complete uniformity of thinking and «mass-produced» personalities are a threat for the very existence of a collective, because they turn it into a faceless human herd, incapable of creativity and development, which inevitably leads to degradation and separation of the whole into a group of passive parts. This is why every person must be provided with a universal set of skills and knowledge that helps form a distinct personality capable of independent thinking and critical analysis, and possessing the courage to express and defend their opinion even if it doesn’t match with the opinion of the majority or those in authority.
- To encourage the perception of work as a need and the main method of self-actualization and self-expression. Labor has created all the achievements of humanity and our entire civilization. Even in a market economy, where people are infected with consumerist ideologies, the fruits of dedicated labor are still viewed in a positive light by the majority of people. Only through labor can a person express their creative nature, their dedication to their goals, and prove themselves as organizers or creators.
The distribution of goods and services
The socialization of production and the delegation of resource allocation powers to working collectives through the new electoral franchise by itself alters the old way of distribution quite significantly. Despite that, there will still be some obsolete mechanisms that have to be updated to match the capabilities and goals of the new economy.
Money, which is, no doubt, familiar to everybody, have certain negative or redundant features apart from their very useful role as a universal equivalent of goods and services:
- Unlimited circulation within the economy.
Economic calculations in an «ideal market» are done using market prices, e.g. the money that is expected to be paid during any transaction. Money can freely pass between the end consumer and the initial producer, but also between various producers (for example, when purchasing raw materials) and is distributed to the consumers via salaries. This mechanism requires free and theoretically unrestricted monetary circulation. In the new economy, all calculations will be performed by the ECS in kind14. Moreover, the various owners of enterprises that had to sell goods and raw materials to each other become history, which makes any attempt by a factory to pay for raw materials, which are a product of some other establishment, turns into a meaningless transfer of money from one pocket of the same entity into another. Only the supply chain between the end consumer (a person) and the manufacturer) will remain, but the capabilities of the ECS allow to break even this chain.
Which means that money may be freely transferred to other persons or legal entities. This feature provides a number of obvious benefits, such as the ability to lend money to friends and relatives, or split the check on something. But, at the same time, it allows for some activities that are incredibly harmful to society:
- Social parasitism - begging money under the pretext of real or imaginary inability to work.
- Crime - extortion, robbery, fraud, illegal gambling and so on.
- Usury, also known as loan-sharking.
All these activities form a so-called «shadow economy» that reproduces obsolete economic and social principles within and around itself. It may serve as a starting point for a return to the old order that provides a life of luxury for the minority at the expense of the majority.
- Psychological influence.
Most citizens in developed countries are brought up in a society that is based on striving towards personal material wealth, as represented by money. This impression is ingrained so deep within the public consciousness, that money is perceived as an intrinsically valuable absolute measure of well-being, and even the mere thought of money forces people to behave more selfishly and care less about the common good18. Unfortunately, money really does make the world go round, and this power usually does not bode well for the majority.
If only the function of money was limited to the aforementioned list of drawbacks, the ideal and most simple solution to this problem would be to abolish money completely. But, beside all these flaws, money also serve as a measure of every person‘s participation in the common effort, and, as a result, mark the right of this person to receive certain goods and services back from the society.
Unfortunately, an economy that has just come out of the transitional period won‘t be able to satisfy all possible needs of all members of society. Just as the people themselves, formed by another economic order, won’t be ready to use these resources wisely enough.The abolition of money in these circumstances will only lead to a lot of people stockpiling goods «because they are free», and re-sell the most «expensive» (in the old economy) goods. This will only lead to massive shortages of consumer goods and disintegration of the economy in general.
Money has been in use for thousands of years, and all living people have enormous social experience of economic interaction through monetary circulation. We can only reject it when the entire society is ready for an alternative form of economic interaction. But first, we will strive to rid money of all their redundant and harmful features.
Familiar market-based money should be replaced by Accounting Units (AU) that signify the personal input of every citizen in the common production process.
Their main differences from money are:
- Completely cash-free form. By the end of the transitional period, even normal money will mostly be cashless, so the difference between money and AUs will not be very significant at that point.
- Single use only. An establishment provides the ECS with data concerning the work done by a given citizen. The ECS according to its own algorithms translates this data into the number of AUs that will be deposited to the citizen‘s account. It is important to notice that the establishment itself does not participate in determining the employee’s salary in any way, it only provides the data on the labor performed. When the employee wants to purchase some goods or services, the necessary amount of AUs is deducted from his or her account. This makes the AU into a simple counter within a computer system, and all operations with them are reduced to addition and subtraction. Any actual circulation, even in electronic form, is absent.
- Inalienability. The AUs may only be spent by the initial owner. This means that they cannot be loaned with interest, given to other people or used in speculative trade, which makes getting unearned income difficult for dishonest people. This, however, does not preclude the ability to share a check on something or donate some funds to some organization, which should also be registered in the ECS. All the situations where relatives need help or any need for charity should be rendered irrelevant by a developed system of social security.
Historical experience shows that any attempts to develop a pure equivalent of labor, witch would help quantify labor of different professions, are futile. For instance, let's compare a scientist and a welder. It is obvious, that both are needed in a technologically developed society, but it is not very obvious how much more important or productive is one of these professions. Which makes determining the size of a salary for each one of them difficult.
We propose starting with a minimal guaranteed salary for every laborer, which would allow to satisfy all basic human needs19, meaning, first of all, food, clothing, personal hygiene, and so on. The consumption of these goods and services varies from person to person and therefore they cannot be provided as part of a free social benefit package.
The potential difference in salaries that arises from the differences between the work of a scientist and that of a welder must first and foremost be expressed through priority access to benefits depending on a given profession, such as participation in various scientific events for a scientist or a longer vacation, shorter workday and free health resorts for a welder, who has to endure potentially hazardous working conditions.
This removes the question of calculating the precise difference between professions out of the equation, leaving only the differences between labor within a given profession. For example, it is obvious that, in general, an experienced worker is more productive than a novice, regardless of profession. This in turn leads to a necessity to express that difference in AU, which is calculated based on the data on productivity and conditions for every laborer, such as: general productivity, quality of production and percentage of defective products, overtime, hazardous working conditions and travel expenses, outdated equipment and so on.
The formation of prices
In a dynamically planned economy all transactions between establishments are calculated in kind by the ECS14, which means that prices (in AUs) make sense only in relation to consumer goods.
Consumer goods are, in turn, divided into two categories: general goods and essential goods.
The minimal guaranteed salary mentioned in the previous paragraph is calculated from the prices of essential goods, which are in turn based on average human need in these goods, without immediate connection to their economic value . The upper limit of these prices is fixed. Automatic adjustment of these prices may only push them down, which can be caused both by an increase in general productivity and a steady decrease in reported demand.
In the event of a shortage of essential goods due to an emergency (such as war, natural disasters etc.) the population must be informed of the situation at hand, and a general vote is held based on the data provided by the ECS visualization and forecast toolkit. The vote determines whether to increase the price on essential goods, or pass on the extra economic costs onto general goods, raising their prices by a small amount.
The regulation of prices on general goods is performed automatically by the ECS, based on the current production capabilities and demand, strategic plans, which are approved by a general vote, the transferred partial costs of essential goods and, possibly, some parameters that can be set manually. The justification for every price can be received via the visualization and forecast toolkit of the ECS. Moreover, the prices of goods the supply of which outstrips demand will be automatically lowered, possibly reducing them to zero in a situation where production capabilities guarantee sufficient amounts of production in a long-term perspective.
On the temporary nature of these solutions
All the aforementioned measures to transform the system of distribution are temporary and involuntary solutions, dictated to us by the objectively existing circumstances:
- The economy is at first unable to fully satisfy all the needs of all members of society.
- The public consciousness still retains a lot of market ideology, whether it is the desire to get something «for free» or the opportunity to loaf and stay idle if this idleness does not lead to immediate deprivation and death by starvation.
As the economy develops, so will the public consciousness. A gradual decrease in prices and increase in guaranteed social benefits will remove the grounds for constant worry about possible shortage of consumer goods or necessary services. The new educational system will develop a collectivist mentality, and foster a generation of people who treat selfish individualism just like we treat the prejudice of the pre-industrial era today. Sustainable development, prosperity for all and automation of routine or hazardous work will make labor a creative need for everyone and lead to a situation where any prices, accounting units and economic motivation to work in general will become obsolete. The last remains of the humiliating distributive mechanisms of the market will die out along with economic coercion to labor.
Socially dangerous professions
Socially dangerous professions are those occupations that distort the personality in a way that is dangerous to society. They can be divided into three general groups, each one of which will be discussed below along with possible ways to neutralize these occupational hazards.
War remains a possibility so long as a class that lives off others' labor still exists somewhere in the world. To protect our society we will be forced to maintain at least some professional military. Military service requires people to develop certain personality traits, that are essential in warfare but are harmful or even dangerous in normal «civilian» life:
- Authoritarianism - complete obedience to superiors, even those whose person, merit and ability is unknown. «Orders are sacrosanct».
- Suppression of individuality and free thought to create a «standard soldier» who is ready to follow any orders without question.
- Psychological readiness to commit violence.
Crime is one of society's many ills. The new social order will «cure» this disease for the most part after some time, but, for a variety of reasons, we cannot guarantee its complete disappearance. Society will still have a need for people specializing in preventing and solving crimes. This occupation, just like military service, causes a number of dangerous psychological deviations:
- Chronic suspicion and lack of trust bordering on paranoia.
- A tendency to utilize psychological or, at worst, physical pressure.
- Distortion of the image of an average person to the negative.
- A possibility to contract some of the habits and thinking patters from professional criminals.
Economic Control System developers and operators
An extensive digital control system will form the foundation of the economy and social relations. While it allows society to solve complicated tasks quickly and efficiently, it also becomes one of its few weaknesses. Apart from the issue of physical vulnerability, which is relatively easy to solve by redundant subsystems and regular data backups, the ECS also creates a social hazard. Being a large-scale incredibly complex system it requires supporting staff of corresponding qualification. These people will have in their hands a unique tool. The quality of this tool and the results of its actions will influence the life of the whole society. In these conditions the ECS staff may start to perceive themselves as a «chosen caste» and slowly morph into a distinct social group with their own interest that will diverge from those of the rest of society. This in turn may initiate the process of disintegration and split society back into an «elite» of «tech-priests» and the rest who are forced to work for the benefit of the new elite.
It is, quite possibly, the most socially dangerous occupation of all.
We will not be able to eliminate the need for the first two occupations entirely in any reasonable perspective, just like we won't be able to teach everyone how the ECS works in detail, making a distinct group for its maintenance unnecessary. But we can and we must take some action to mitigate possible risks:
- Limitation of the length of employment in socially dangerous professions. The longer a person remains works in the same area of expertise, the higher their qualification gets, but also the more distorted their psyche becomes. Every socially dangerous occupation must be limited to a certain length of employment which is a compromise between acceptable deformation of personality and professional qualification. A return to a socially dangerous occupation is permitted only in case of an emergency, such as a shortage of qualified personnel or a significant and rapid increase in demand.
It has to be noted, that this mechanism, apart from its defensive function, also serves as a way to encourage development in a given area by providing a constant influx of new people who possess the most up-to-date knowledge thanks to the new educational system.
- Training for a second profession during employment in a dangerous occupation. Of course, this second profession must not be amongst those that are socially dangerous. This will broaden the outlook of the employee in question, softening the resulting deformation somewhat, and allow to choose a new profession after retirement in advance, making the psychological transition easier.
- Reducing demand for the dangerous professions, which is especially applicable to the military and law enforcement. For example:
- As the electoral franchise begets the obligation to defend it, long-term conscription or voluntary military service is replaced by a militia system28 for most of the lower ranks. Professional military is restricted to command and specialist positions, which greatly reduces the numbers of regular armed forces and the size of the group at risk.
- The increase in prosperity of the population and progress in social relations29 destroys the underlying reasons for criminal behavior of all types, which in time reduces the need for law enforcement.
- Raising the overall education level, first of all in socially important areas of knowledge. This will allow to gradually create conditions where almost every member of society can professionally maintain the ECS after only a short training period. Society will therefore be able to quickly discover and remove any discrepancies in the system introduced to serve someone's private interests, which will nullify the possibility of a distinct technological elite.
Stimulation of progress
Mechanisms and institutions encouraging constant development of productive forces and society itself must exist within any order. In the conditions of the free market this role of a stimulant is filled by consumer demand and competition between property owners. The new economy which serves prosperity for all first and foremost, has to use different institutions to accelerate development and innovation.
- Collective objective-setting via the ECS. If there is an unfulfilled demand on certain goods or services, or a call for higher quality of existing ones - a project may be started in the ECS, and all legally capable citizens are eligible to vote for it. Once every time period several most voted for projects, which fit into the resource constraints of society, pass onto the stage of public approval, where the impact of their implementation on existing projects and the economy in general is assessed. Should the project be approved, it is allocated the necessary amount of resources and contractors are determined on a competitive basis. Then the project becomes a part of the general economy.
- Personal «investment». If there are no resources to launch a project «here and now», the ECS calculates the amount necessary to do so and the project is started if those interested in its completion are willing to invest their own funds. Basically, this signifies a willingness to transfer a personal right to use some of the economy's resources into a communal right, realized as the implementation of a socially beneficial project. Such investors have the priority in using the results of the project, proportionate to their investment.
- Personal initiative and society as the «investor». Professionals in a given sector with an initiative and innovative ideas can work out a project of a new technology or product in their own spare time, determine necessary resources and possible benefits for society, and then present the project on a public hearing or a competition. The mandatory requirements of such a project should be social benefit, the adherence to existing legal norms and criteria of sustainable development23. After the competition is won, the author of the project is given all the requested resources, expressed in reality as production capabilities, raw materials etc. Then he or she becomes the leader of a new industry and is responsible for its performance and the achievement of declared goals.
In case said goals are achieved successfully, this new industry may then be distributed throughout the whole country. The initial author of the project has a priority right to coordinate the implementation of this new technology. Of course, all new industries are social property and are immediately connected to the ECS. There can be no «copyright» or «dividends» given to the initial author of the project - he or she can be rewarded only with certain social benefits, priority access to resources needed for professional development, and the respect and gratitude of the whole society.
Perspectives of long-term development
The transformation of economy and society outlined above are by no means complete and adequate if they only encompass a single country - even a very large one. The very existence of countries ruled by a liberal/market ideology in the world endangers the future of those countries that chose the new path of development and of humanity in general.
The danger comes from the foundations of capitalism itself, which demands constant expansion of production and consumption, leading to exponential growth30 of environmental footprint. The limits of sustainable development has been crossed already22. This can only result in a resource or environmental catastrophe, and most likely some combination of both, which will affect the whole world. The lack of resources31 and habitable conditions will cause military confrontations and huge flows of refugees, including «environmental refugees». The global market economy will fall from its unreliable «stability», which lasts from one crisis to the next, into a death spiral. Any promise to create an «island of stability» within the borders of a single country, or even a group of countries, is pure fantasy. Even complete independence from the global market economy will not save us from a global environmental crisis, not to mention the possibility of a foreign invasion which only increases in such uncertain times.
The only way to guarantee a solution to these problems on a global scale is to ensure that market economy becomes history. Which means that one of our global goals is to assist as many countries as possible in joining our project, despite the opinion of their official governments, who represent only the interests of the ruling class.
Our long-term goals are:
- To bring socially backwards region up to the new social order.
- To abolish the class division of humanity on a global scale.
- To abolish borders and unite the economy of all countries that have reached the new order.
- To transform the global economy in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
The completion of these goals will dramatically increase the effectiveness of the dynamically planned economy, resolve a lot of conflicts and free enormous resources which are spent on maintaining huge armies in a divided world. Humanity will finally be able to manage the resources of its own planet and refurbish its home on scientific principles, guided by the social benefits of any proposed changes.
The starting period
After the fall of the old (capitalist) system and before the establishment of the new system of government there is a period of time when the old system is no longer functional, and the new one does not exist yet. This period is not described in the programme, since it only involves preparations for the implementation of the programme. This section describes the main stages of the starting period as they are envisioned at the moment. The «participant of the project» means a participant of our project who is closer to a given region or industry and has already distinguished him or herself during the previous stages of the project's development.
Right after the collapse of the old political system, the economy will start falling into chaos.
The main objectives of the participants in this situation are:
- To stop the degradation of production capabilities, whether through conscious sabotage, looting by the employees themselves or an attempt to sell the equipment abroad by the owners.
- To appoint the supervisors of important industries by decree, based on professional credentials and the opinion of the collectives. Political views of these appointees do not matter in this case. The actions of these executive officers are to be supervised and evaluated.
- To account for all existing production capabilities and resources and gather information on the general state of the region, including social infrastructure etc. This information is to be collected in a central database to create a comprehensive picture of the situation in the country.
The accomplishment of these objectives will allow to evaluate the real state of affairs and set priorities for further development.
Preparing the transition to collective government
The cornerstone of our concept of government is collective management of the economy by the participants of the production process themselves. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to delegate control to the workers immediately: in a critical situation, many will be disorganized, shocked and cowed by old regime propaganda, which will try to convince them that «life without a master will grind to a halt». This is why the next objective of the project's participants will be to prepare the local collectives to manage their establishments directly. This task requires constant work with people: teaching workers the basics of political economy, explaining the programme, receiving feedback from the laborers, and opposing the adherents of the old order. The most politically astute and respected members of the working collectives will be chosen to form a governing body. The management of industries is gradually transferred from an appointed supervisor to these governing bodies. The duty of a participant in this case is to evaluate the readiness of a collective to assume control and initiate the transition process. It is important to avoid both hastily made decisions dictated by emotions and cowardly hesitation, which can cause serious discontent among the working collectives.
Creating the ECS infrastructure
After the participants no longer have to constantly control the work of appointed supervisors, they can switch to implementing the ECS by organizing and personally performing all the technical preparations necessary to create the infrastructure. During this period governing collectives interact with upper-scale collectives and plan production in «manual mode» which is obviously labor-intensive and not very effective. The «normal» monetary system still exists during this stage along with some of the accompanying elements of the market economy, which helps motivate the governing collectives.
Launching the ECS
After the infrastructure is complete, all socialized industries are connected to the ECS, freeing governing collectives from a massive amount of monotonous work calculating production parameters, planning, accounting and so on. The participants then explain the principles behind the ECS and teach people how to use it. All legally capable members of society have to understand the basic principles of decision-making which determine the direction of development for the country, and to be able to use the voting system without assistance. When the implementation of the ECS in the country is complete, monetary transactions will be abolished and the economy will switch to using the AUs and transfers in kind.
1 A definition of social classes can be found in our glossary
2 A definition of socialization can be found in our glossary
3 By economic benefits we mean participation in production of valuable goods and services.
4 Investment housing - real estate purchased by the owner to preserve and accumulate capital, as an investment. May later be resold or rented out to other people.
5 The environment is also often called «ecology». Modern cities are built without regard to providing a comfortable and healthy living environment to their citizens. So their very existence in this form is a threat to the planet's ecosystems and human health.
6 Social loans are those that were taken to cover social expenses, like education, medical treatment and so on.
7 Financial capitals are not necessary the same cities as political capitals. For instance, New York is the financial capital of the US and the whole world, but the official political capital is Washington, DC.
8 The topic of a dynamically planned economy will be covered later in a separate article.
9 According to official statistical data.
10 Freedom of speech is recognized in most constitutions, but this is a mere formality. The media belong to the ruling class and therefore are subject to class censorship and self-censorship.
11 All of society means the whole society without exceptions. The prosperity of the people comprising this society is based on their own labor instead of resources squeezed out of «lower classes» or «Third World countries».
12 A liquidity crisis is a situation that arises when banks have trouble with paying their depositors, who are then unable to fulfill their own financial obligations or make any purchases, which in turn leads to entrepreneurs not being able to repay their loans and lowers the liquidity of the banks even further.
13 The specific criticism of market economy and the examples of non-market methods already implemented in it under the pressure of progress will be covered in a later article.
14 Mathematical methods are going to be discussed in more detail in our upcoming article on dynamic planning.
15 For instance, the «Internet of Things».
16 The definition of the scientific method can be found in our glossary
17 Obviously, free of charge.
18 A study about the psychological effects of money
19 Keep in mind that these expenses do not include the cost of rent, education and healthcare, since unconditional access to these things is supposed to be an inalienable right of every person and is therefore provided free of charge. The cost of attending cultural events, transportation and other secondary benefits will also be significantly lowered.
20 And not through marketing which constantly cultivates status-based excessive consumption that we allegedly have to engage in as soon as we have the slightest opportunity to do so.
21 The general principles of the market economy mean that it is more profitable to sell individual means of protection, rather than maintain an environment that is bearable for all. So it is more profitable to build ultra-expensive elite housing with air filters and good soundproofing than to provide everyone with a safe and comfortable living environment.
22 D. Meadows, D. Meadows, J. Rangers, «Limits to growth».
23 Sustainable development means improving the life of people while maintaining the stability of the biosphere.
24 The proponents of «traditional values» will probably recall the archaic social stereotype about the «true purpose of a woman‘s life» which in their opinion should be limited to servicing men and raising children. Such a concept of a woman’s role in society is a creation of an oppressive order that divides people into the exploiters and the exploited, and it will become history alongside this order.
25 Central heating is still not as widespread in many developed countries.
26 That already happened once: the Soviet educational system managed to produce a giant number of educated, highly qualified and talented people, but the very same system raised most of them as passive wimps, which was one of the reasons behind the collapse of the Soviet project.
27 With the probable exception of «elite» educational institutions, access to which is restricted by high tuition fees to a tiny minority of the rich. This is exactly why they don't change the general picture - all the industries are staffed by average people who graduated from average educational facilities.
28 Examples may be found in the military of Israel and Switzerland. The militia system will be covered in more detail in a later article.
29 Meaning the abolition of social inequality and liquidation of various prejudices, like national, professional and gender bias, that encourage criminal behavior.
30 The definition and example of exponential growth can be found in the glossary.
31 The problem is not the hydrocarbons (like oil) that usually get all the attention of the media. Important resources such as fertile soil, forests and fresh water are being critically exhausted, and pollution sinks overflow. The representatives of governments and corporations usually limit their actions on these issues to empty platitudes and insignificant stop-gap measures.