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The case for socialism (2013 version)
The case for socialism (2013 version)
We say there is an alternative to endless misery. Today, more than ever before in human history, enormous wealth, science and technique exists which could, if properly harnessed, easily provide all of humanity with the necessities of life that capitalism cannot provide.
The world economy is more than 17 times the size it was a century ago. Yet we are being told that the most basic public services can no longer be afforded.
It is not much to expect a job with a living wage, a secure and high-quality home, and a dignified retirement with a living income, yet in 21st century Britain these are becoming unobtainable
luxuries for millions. The obstacle to achieving these modest aspirations is capitalism: a system that puts the production of profit for the few - the millionaire and billionaire capitalist owners of industry - and the resources of society before the social needs of the majority - the multi-billion poor and working class throughout the world.
Capitalism is an economic system which has the exploitation of the working class at its heart. Profit, which provides its driving force is, as Karl Marx - the founder of scientific socialism - explained over 150 years ago, "the unpaid labour of the working class".
From this flows all the inequalities of capitalism, which the current crisis has laid bare. Even in boom time the working class cannot afford to buy back the full product of its labour power.
In periods of growth capitalism can temporarily overcome this problem by ploughing part of its profits into developing the means of production.
This in turn creates new factories and workplaces - the organisation of science and technique - but at a certain stage all the same contradictions reappear.
Capitalism is an inherently unstable system, which swings from boom to slump. However, in today's world the booms have become weaker and the slumps deeper. We are now in the worst crisis since the 1930s.
Yet the capitalists are drowning in profits. In Britain alone, the major corporations are hoarding an incredible £750 billion, which they are not investing because they do not consider they would make a sufficient profit from it.
The capitalists are thus betraying their historical purpose. In the past, despite the many horrors of capitalism, it at least drove society forward by developing the means of production.
Today, the sickness of the system is summed up by a failure to invest. Even before the recession levels of capital investment were at historically low levels.
Instead of investing in manufacturing, the capitalist class tended to gamble on the world's financial markets because it was more profitable.
The bursting of the huge bubbles that were created was the trigger for the 'great recession'. British capitalism has led the world in this process with massive de-industrialisation.
For example, Germany's manufacturing base accounts for 20% of its economy but Britain's is just 10.5%.
British capitalism today is a third-class power. Only its finance and banking sector is a world 'leader', including leading the way into the catastrophic crisis of 2008.
While capitalism is driving more and more people to food banks in order to make ends meet, socialism would be able to meet people's very modest demands - for a living income, a secure home, some leisure time - and much more, by the planned use of the resources of society
for the benefit of all. By socialism we do not mean the old dictatorial regimes of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, which were dominated by a privileged caste of bureaucrats, who presided over a planned economy which played a progressive role until it was strangled by bureaucratic mismanagement.
We stand for international socialism, based on mass participation in the control and running of industry and society.