- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Producing for needs, the unlikelihood of

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on May 17, 1999 at 15:17:48:

How does any community 'produce for needs' as is the claimed goal of various socialists?

Its pretty certain that pure capitalism wouldn't. 'it' produces for mutual gain, by those able to enter into trade with a value others want to trade for. So lots of people can get left out of the loop.

Its even more certain (and evident) that mixed economies dont, with any trade that does exist bing mediated and controlled by political machinations in the name of 'the poeple' of a particular nation, with ability to trade corespondingly reduced as a factor.

Its also evident that command economies such as USSR failed, whilst one could argue that it was never their (rulers) intent to produce for needs, I would also argue that the worlds most incredible team of actuaries would fail dismally in the light of the millions of variables. Such setups also require control of the poeple by central authorities.

Regardless - how does a community produce for needs. It needs (ha ha) to know a number of things. 1) what peoples needs are (defined, absolute) 2) how many people there are who will need (variable) 3) how many people doing what kind of work will produce and distribute the required output to ensure that these pre-defined needs are met (unpredictably variable).

Couldnt be easier huh?

In a society where people are free to work at what they choose whether it be farning, engineer or street musician etc, as suggested by RD, then even if steps 1 and 2 were calculable (and I would doubt they are - the arguments over step 1 would take forever with each adding and removing 'needs' according to various standards) step 3 would be negated by such freedom to choose.

If everyone had equal share of the 'collective' produce then how many more half an hour per day street musicians would there be at the end of year 1?

Left up to the free choice of people they may well figure out how to produce for their own needs, and those of their families - and more sharply if they were reliant on their ability to do so. However when other peoples unmet needs come into the equation then a decision needs to be made about what the producers need to do in order to meet them, and what effect that would have on their lives. At that point a reliance is placed upon those able to produce to do so for others, and to do so willingly and without prejudice - ie choice in beneficiary.

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