Dec. 30, 2012

Socialism And Greed

From The Uncommon Criminal by Kyle De Wolf (author's profile)
This post is in reply to comments on:  The Revolutionary Ideas Of Carl Marx thumbnail
The Revolutionary Ideas Of Carl Marx
(Dec. 2, 2012)


t82g 12/12/12


In order to build socialism, we must first abolish pietistic nonsense. Karl Marx stressed that socialism is the self-emancipation of the working class. It does not come from the hand of benevolent employers.

To ask that greed be removed from every heart, one by one, before we can establish socialism, is like asking that the lust for power be rooted out of every tyrant's heart, one by one, before we can abolish slavery. The slaves need not plead with the master to liberate them. They need only stand and fight. If the tyrant will not be converted, he can be buried.

Socialism does not require that all workers must, here and now, be paid equal wages. The overall intent of socialism is to abolish the very system of wage labor. In an ideal communist society, the rule would be: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". As we make the transition to that type of society, the rule may for a time be: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution".

At present we need to struggle to obtain for each worker a living wage which is sufficient to provide for his needs and those of his dependents. Wages may vary due to education and experience, skill level, and the needs of each worker. But we should strive to place control over wages and benefits in the hands of workers themselves. So it is necessary to build strong unions and political organizations which represent the interests of the working class.

The greed and selfishness which we often see today is the fruit of living in a capitalist society, which teaches people to measure their self-worth in dollars and cents, and to compete with everyone around them. What we need to realize is that in a communist society we could produce more than enough to meet the needs of every single individual. We could derive our self-worth from the full expression of our warmth and humanity, including our personal contributions to society as a whole.

But it is not fair to ask someone living in a capitalist society to here and now set aside his own personal interests and start working altruistically for the good of society, while his own needs go neglected, and to insist that socialism will not be possible until each and every individual is capable of doing that. The pressures of competition and socialization will doom that project from that start.

Instead we must appeal to the enlightened self-interest of the working class to change the rules of the game. In fighting to change conditions for the working class as a whole, we will develop a keener sense of solidarity and the allure of greed and selfishness will fade over time. It will become easier and easier to live altruistically, and anyone who manifests selfish tendencies will be sharply rebuked by his fellows.

But right now, we need "greedy" unions to stand up and demand more, and demand it loudly. The freedom of each depends on the freedom of all.

Kyle De Wolf 14966-052
LSCI Allenwood
PO Box 1000
White Deer, PA 17887


Replies (1) Replies feed

studentgray Posted 5 years, 4 months ago. ✓ Mailed 5 years, 4 months ago   Favorite
Well said.

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