File: secI4.html

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anarchism 9.5-1
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  • area: main
  • in suites: woody
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<TITLE>I.4 How could an anarchist economy function?</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<h1>I.4 How could an anarchist economy function?</h1>
<p>
This is an important question facing all opponents of a given system -- 
what will you replace it with? We can say, of course, that it is pointless 
to make blueprints of how a future anarchist society will work as the 
future will be created by everyone, not just the few anarchists and 
libertarian socialists who write books and FAQs. This is very true, we 
cannot predict what a free society will actually be like or develop and 
we have no intention to do so here. However, this reply (whatever its other 
merits) ignores a key point, people need to have some idea of what anarchism 
aims for before they decide to spend their lives trying to create it.
<p>
So, how would an anarchist system function? That depends on the economic
ideas people have. A mutualist economy will function differently than a
communist one, for example, but they will have similar features. As 
Rudolf Rocker put it: 
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Common to all Anarchists is the desire to free society of all 
political and social coercive institutions which stand in the 
way of the development of a free humanity. In this sense, 
Mutualism, Collectivism, and Communism are not to be regarded 
as closed systems permitting no further development, but merely 
assumptions as to the means of safeguarding a free community. There 
will even probably be in the society of the future different forms 
of economic co-operation existing side-by-side, since any social
progress must be associated with that free experimentation and 
practical testing-out for which in a society of free communities 
there will be afforded every opportunity."</i> [<b>Anarcho-Syndicalism</b>, 
p. 16]
</blockquote><p>
So, given the common aims of anarchists, its unsurprising that 
the economic systems they suggest will have common features such 
as workers' self-management, federation, free agreement and so on. 
For all anarchists, the "economy" is seen as a <i>"voluntary association 
that will organise labour, and be the manufacturer and distributor 
of necessary commodities"</i> and this <i>"<b>is to make what is useful. The 
individual is to make what is beautiful.</b>"</i> [Oscar Wilde, <b>The Soul 
of Man Under Socialism</b>, p. 1183] For example, the machine <i>"will 
supersede hand-work in the manufacture of plain goods. But at the 
same time, hand-work very probably will extend its domain in the 
artistic finishing of many things which are made entirely in the 
factory."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Fields, Factories and Workplaces
Tomorrow</b>, p. 152] Murray Bookchin, decades later, argued for
the same idea: <i>"the machine will remove the toil from the
productive process, leaving its artistic completion to man."</i> 
[<b>Post-Scarcity Anarchism</b>, p. 134]
<p>
This <i>"organisation of labour touches only such labours as others 
can do for us. . . the rest remain egoistic, because no one can in
your stead elaborate your musical compositions, carry out your
projects of painting, etc.; nobody can replace Raphael's labours.
The latter are labours of a unique person, which only he is 
competent to achieve."</i> [Max Stirner, <b>The Ego and Its Own</b>, 
p. 268] Stirner goes on to ask <i>"for whom is time to be gained
[by association]? For what does man require more time than is
necessary to refresh his wearied powers of labour? Here Communism
is slient."</i> He then answers his own question by arguing it is 
gained for the individual <i>"[t]o take comfort in himself as unique, 
after he has done his part as man!"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 269] Which is 
exactly what Kropotkin also argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"He [sic!] will discharge his task in the field, the factory, and
so on, which he owes to society as his contribution to the general
production. And he will employ the second half of his day, his week,
or his year, to satisfy his artistic or scientific needs, or his
hobbies."</i> [<b>Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 111]
</blockquote><p>
Thus, while <b>authoritarian</b> Communism ignores the unique individual
(and that was the only kind of Communism existing when Stirner wrote
his classic book) <b>libertarian</b> communists agree with Stirner and
are not silent. Like him, they consider the whole point of organising
labour as the means of providing the individual the time and resources
required to express their individuality. In other words, to pursue
<i>"labours of a unique person."</i> Thus all anarchists base their 
arguments for a free society on how it will benefit actual individuals,
rather than abstracts or amorphous collectives (such as <i>"society"</i>).
Hence chapter 9 of <b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, <i>"The Need for Luxury"</i> 
and, for that matter, chapter 10, <i>"Agreeable Work."</i> 
<p>
Or, to bring this ideal up to day, as Chomsky put it, <i>"[t]he task for 
a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically 
realisable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary 
participation of people who produce and create, live their lives 
freely within institutions they control, and with limited hierarchical 
structures, possibly none at all."</i> [quoted by Albert and Hahnel in 
<b>Looking Forward: Participatory Economics for the Twenty First Century</b>, 
p. 62]
<p>
In other words, anarchists desire to organise voluntary workers associations 
which will try to ensure a minimisation of mindless labour in order to maximise 
the time available for creative activity both inside and outside <i>"work."</i> This
is to be achieved by free co-operation between equals, for while competition 
may be the <i>"law of the jungle"</i>, co-operation is the law of civilisation.
<p>
This co-operation is <b>not</b> based on <i>"altruism,"</i> but self-interest. As Proudhon 
argued, <i>"[m]utuality, reciprocity exists when all the workers in an industry 
instead of working for an entrepreneur who pays them and keeps their products, 
work for one another and thus collaborate in the making of a common product 
whose profits they share amongst themselves. Extend the principle of reciprocity
as uniting the work of every group, to the Workers' Societies as units, and 
you have created a form of civilisation which from all points of view - 
political, economic and aesthetic - is radically different from all earlier 
civilisations."</i> [quoted by Martin Buber, <b>Paths in Utopia</b>, pp. 29-30]
In other words, solidarity and co-operation allows us time to enjoy life
and to gain the benefits of our labour ourselves - Mutual Aid results in a
better life than mutual struggle and so <i>"the <b>association for struggle</b> will 
be a much more effective support for civilisation, progress, and evolution 
than is the <b>struggle for existence</b> with its savage daily competitions."</i> 
[Luigi Geallani, <b>The End of Anarchism</b>, p. 26]
<p>
In the place of the rat race of capitalism, economic activity in an
anarchist society would be one of the means to humanise and individualise
ourselves and society, to move from <b>surviving</b> to <b>living.</b> Productive
activity should become a means of self-expression, of joy, of art, rather
than something we have to do to survive. Ultimately, <i>"work"</i> should become
more akin to play or a hobby than the current alienated activity. The
priorities of life should be towards individual self-fulfilment and
humanising society rather than <i>"running society as an adjunct to the
market,"</i> to use Polanyi's expression, and turning ourselves into
commodities on the labour market. Thus anarchists agree with John
Stuart Mill when he wrote:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"I confess I am not charmed with an ideal of life held out by
those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of
struggling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and
treading on each other's heels, which form the existing type of
social life, are the most desirable lot of human kind, or anything
but the disagreeable symptoms of one of the phases of industrial
progress."</i> [<b>Collected Works</b>, vol. III, p. 754]
</blockquote><p>
The aim of anarchism is far more than the end of poverty. Hence
Proudhon's comment that socialism's <i>"underlying dogma"</i> is that the 
<i>"objective of socialism is the emancipation of the proletariat and
the eradication of poverty."</i> This emancipation would be achieved
by ending <i>"wage slavery"</i> via <i>"democratically organised workers'
associations."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 1, p. 57 and p.62]
Or, in Kropotkin's words, <i>"well-being for all"</i> -- physical, mental 
and moral! Indeed, by concentrating on just poverty and ignoring the 
emancipation of the proletariat, the real aims of socialism are 
obscured. As Kropotkin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The 'right to well-being' means the possibility of living like
human beings, and of bringing up children to be members of a
society better than ours, whilst the 'right to work' only means
the right to be a wage-slave, a drudge, ruled over and exploited
by the middle class of the future. The right to well-being is the
Social Revolution, the right to work means nothing but the 
Treadmill of Commercialism. It is high time for the worker to
assert his right to the common inheritance, and to enter into
possession of it."</i> [<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 44]
</blockquote><p>
Combined with this desire for free co-operation is a desire to end 
centralised systems. The opposition to centralisation is often framed 
in a distinctly false manner. This can be seen when Alex Nove, a leading 
market socialist, argues that <i>"there are horizontal links (market), 
there are vertical links (hierarchy). What other dimension is there?"</i> 
[Alex Nove, <b>The Economics of Feasible Socialism</b>, p. 226] In other 
words, Nove states that to oppose central planning means to embrace 
the market. This, however, is not true. Horizontal links need not be 
market based any more than vertical links need be hierarchical. But 
the core point in his argument is very true, an anarchist society must 
be based essentially on horizontal links between individuals and 
associations, freely co-operating together as they (not a central 
body) sees fit. This co-operation will be source of any <i>"vertical"</i> 
links in an anarchist economy. When a group of individuals or associations
meet together and discuss common interests and make common decisions they
will be bound by their own decisions. This is radically different from a
a central body giving out orders because those affected will determine
the content of these decisions. In other words, instead of decisions 
being handed down from the top, they will be created from the bottom up. 
<p>
So, while refusing to define exactly how an anarchist system will work, we
will explore the implications of how the anarchist principles and ideals
outlined above could be put into practice. Bear in mind that this is just
a possible framework for a system which has few historical examples to draw
upon as evidence. This means that we can only indicate the general outlines 
of what an anarchist society could be like. Those seeking <i>"recipes"</i> and
exactness should look elsewhere. In all likelihood, the framework we present 
will be modified and changed (even ignored) in light of the real experiences 
and problems people will face when creating a new society. 
<p>
Lastly we should point out that there may be a tendency for 
some to compare this framework with the <b>theory</b> of capitalism 
(i.e. perfectly functioning <i>"free"</i> markets or quasi-perfect ones) 
as opposed to its reality. A perfectly working capitalist system 
only exists in text books and in the heads of ideologues who take 
the theory as reality. No system is perfect, particularly capitalism, 
and to compare <i>"perfect"</i> capitalism with any system is a pointless 
task. In addition, there will be those who seek to apply the 
<i>"scientific"</i> principles of the neo-classical economics to our 
ideas. By so doing they make what Proudhon called <i>"the radical 
vice of political economy"</i>, namely <i>"affirming as a definitive 
state a transitory condition -- namely, the division of society 
intto patricians and proletares."</i> [<b>System of Economical 
Contradictions</b>, p. 67] Thus any attempt to apply the <i>"laws"</i> 
developed from theorising about capitalism to anarchism will 
fail to capture the dynamics of a non-capitalist system 
(given that neo-classical economics fails to understand the
dynamics of capitalism, what hope does it have of understanding
non-capitalist systems which reject the proprietary despotism and
inequalities of capitalism?). 
<p>
John Crump stresses this point in his discussion of Japanese 
anarchism:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"When considering the feasibility of the social system
advocated by the pure anarchists, we need to be clear
about the criteria against which it should be measured.
It would, for example, be unreasonable to demand that
it be assessed against such yardsticks of a capitalist
economy as annual rate of growth, balance of trade
and so forth . . . evaluating anarchist communism by
means of the criteria which have been devised to
measure capitalism's performance does not make sense
. . . capitalism would be . . . baffled if it were
demanded that it assess its operations against the
performance indicators to which pure anarchists 
attached most importance, such as personal liberty,
communal solidarity and the individual's unconditional
right to free consumption. Faced with such demands,
capitalism would either admit that these were not
yardsticks against which it could sensibly measure
itself or it would have to resort to the type of
grotesque ideological subterfuges which it often
employs, such as identifying human liberty with the 
market and therefore with wag slavery. . . The pure 
anarchists' confidence in the alternative society 
they advocated derived not from an expectation that 
it would <b>quantitatively</b> outperform capitalism in 
terms of GNP, productivity or similar capitalist 
criteria. On the contrary, their enthusiasm for 
anarchist communism flowed from their understanding 
that it would be <b>qualitatively</b> different from 
capitalism. Of course, this is not to say that the 
pure anarchists were indifferent to questions of 
production and distribution . . . they certainly 
believed that anarchist communism would provide 
economic well-being for all. But neither were they 
prepared to give priority to narrowly conceived 
economic expansion, to neglect individual liberty 
and communal solidarity, as capitalism regularly 
does."</i> [<b>Hatta Shuzo and Pure Anarchism in Interwar 
Japan</b>, pp. 191-3]
</blockquote><p>
As Kropotkin argued, <i>"academic political economy has been 
only an enumeration of what happens under the . . . conditions 
[of capitalism] -- without distinctly stating the conditions 
themselves. And then, having described <b>the facts</b> [academic
neo-classical economics usually does not even do that, we 
must stress, but Kropotkin had in mind the likes of Adam 
Smith and Ricardo, <b>not</b> modern neo-classical economics] which
arise in our societies under these conditions, they represent
to use these <b>facts</b> as rigid, <b>inevitable economic laws.</b>"</i> 
[<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets</b>, p. 179] So, by changing
the conditions we change the <i>"economic laws"</i> of a society and
so capitalist economics is not applicable to post (or pre)
capitalist society (nor are its justifications for existing
inequalities in wealth and power).
<p>
<a name="seci41"><h2>I.4.1 What is the point of economic activity in anarchy?</h2>
<p>
The basic point of economic activity is an anarchist society is 
to ensure that we produce what we desire to consume and that our 
consumption is under our own control and not vice versa. The 
second point may seem strange; how can consumption control us -- 
we consume what we desire and no one forces us to do so! It may 
come as a surprise that the idea that we consume only what we 
desire is not quite true under a capitalist economy. Capitalism, 
in order to survive, <b>must</b> expand, <b>must</b> create more and more 
profits. This leads to irrational side effects, for example, the 
advertising industry. While it goes without saying that producers 
need to let consumers know what is available for consumption, 
capitalism ensures advertising goes beyond this by creating 
needs that did not exist.
<p>
Therefore, the point of economic activity in an anarchist society 
is to produce as and when required and not, as under capitalism, to 
organise production for the sake of production. Production, to use
Kropotkin's words, is to become <i>"the mere servant of consumption;
it must mould itself on the wants of the consumer, not dictate to
him [or her] conditions."</i> [<b>Act For Yourselves</b>, p. 57] However,
while the basic aim of economic activity in an anarchist society is, 
obviously, producing wealth -- i.e. of satisfying individual needs -- 
without enriching capitalists or other parasites in the process, it 
is far more than that. Yes, an anarchist society will aim to create 
society in which everyone will have a standard of living suitable for 
a fully human life. Yes, it will aim to eliminate poverty, inequality, 
individual want and social waste and squalor, but it aims for far 
more than that. It aims to create free individuals who express their 
individuality within and without <i>"work."</i> After all, what is the most 
important thing that comes out of a workplace? Pro-capitalists may 
say profits, others the finished commodity or good. In fact, the 
most important thing that comes out of a workplace is the <b>worker.</b> 
What happens to them in the workplace will have an impact on all 
aspects of their life and so cannot be ignored. 
<p>
Therefore, for anarchists, <i>"[r]eal wealth consists of things of 
utility and beauty, in things that help create strong, beautiful 
bodies and surroundings inspiring to live in."</i> Anarchism's <i>"goal
is the freest possible expression of all the latent powers of
the individual . . . [and this] is only possible in a state of
society where man [and woman] is free to choose the mode of
work, the conditions of work, and the freedom to work. One
whom making a table, the building of a house, or the tilling
of the soil is what the painting is to the artist and the
discovery to the scientist -- the result of inspiration, of
intense longing, and deep interest in work as a creative
force."</i> [Emma Goldman, <b>Red Emma Speaks</b>, p. 53 and p. 54]
<p>
To value <i>"efficiency"</i> above all else, as capitalism says it does
(it, in fact, values <b>profits</b> above all else and hinders developments
like workers' control which increase efficiency but harm power
and profits), is to deny our own humanity and individuality. Without 
an appreciation for grace and beauty there is no pleasure in creating 
things and no pleasure in having them. Our lives are made drearier 
rather than richer by <i>"progress."</i> How can a person take pride in 
their work when skill and care are considered luxuries (if not 
harmful to <i>"efficiency"</i> and, under capitalism, the profits and power 
of the capitalist and manager)? We are not machines. We have a need 
for craftspersonship and anarchist recognises this and takes it into 
account in its vision of a free society.
<p>
This means that, in an anarchist society, economic activity is the 
process by which we produce what is both useful <b>and</b> beautiful in 
a way that empowers the individual. As Oscar Wilde put it, individuals 
will produce what is beautiful. Such production will be based upon the 
<i>"study of the needs of mankind, and the means of satisfying them with 
the least possible waste of human energy."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>The 
Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 175] This means that anarchist economic ideas 
are the same as what Political Economy should be, not what it actually 
is, namely the <i>"essential basis of all Political Economy, the study of 
the most favourable conditions for giving society the greatest amount 
of useful products with the least waste of human energy"</i> (and, we 
must add today, the least disruption of nature). [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 144] 
<p>
The anarchists charge capitalism with wasting human energy and time 
due to its irrational nature and workings, energy that could be spent 
creating what is beautiful (both in terms of individualities and 
products of labour). Under capitalism we are <i>"toiling to live, that 
we may live to toil."</i> [William Morris, <b>Useful Work Versus Useless 
Toil</b>, p. 37]
<p>
In addition, we must stress that the aim of economic activity within
an anarchist society is <b>not</b> to create equality of outcome -- i.e.
everyone getting exactly the same goods. As we noted in 
<a href="secA2.html#seca25">section A.2.5</a>,
such a <i>"vision"</i> of <i>"equality"</i> attributed to socialists by pro-capitalists
indicates more the poverty of imagination and ethics of the critics
of socialism than a true account of socialist ideas. Anarchists, like
other socialists, support equality in order to maximise freedom, 
including the freedom to choose between options to satisfy ones 
needs.
<p>
To treat people equally, as equals, means to respect their desires
and interests, to acknowledge their right to equal liberty. To 
make people consume the same as everyone else does not respect
the equality of all to develop ones abilities as one sees fit.
Thus it means equality of opportunity to satisfy desires and 
interests, not the imposition of an abstract minimum (or maximum)
on unique individuals. To treat unique individuals equally means
to acknowledge that uniqueness, not to deny it.
<p>
Thus the <b>real</b> aim of economic activity within an anarchy is to 
ensure <i>"that every human being should have the material and moral 
means to develop his humanity."</i> [Michael Bakunin, <b>The Political 
Philosophy of Bakunin</b>, p. 295] And you cannot develop your humanity 
if you cannot express yourself freely. Needless to say, to treat 
unique people <i>"equally"</i> (i.e. identically) is simply evil. You 
cannot, say, have a 70 year old woman do the same work in order to 
receive the same income as a 20 year old man. No, anarchists do not 
subscribe to such <i>"equality,"</i> which is a product of the <i>"ethics of 
mathematics"</i> of capitalism and <b>not</b> of anarchist ideas. Such a 
scheme is alien to a free society. The equality anarchists desire 
is a social equality, based on control over the decisions that 
affect you. The aim of anarchist economic activity, therefore, is 
provide the goods required for <i>"equal freedom for all, an equality 
of conditions such as to allow everyone to do as they wish."</i> [Errico 
Malatesta, <b>Life and Ideas</b>, p. 49] Thus anarchists <i>"demand not
natural but social equality of individuals as the condition for
justice and the foundations of morality."</i> [Bakunin, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 249]
<p>
Under capitalism, instead of humans controlling production, production 
controls them. Anarchists want to change this and desire to create an 
economic network which will allow the maximisation of an individual's 
free time in order for them to express and develop their individuality 
(or to <i>"create what is beautiful"</i>). So instead of aiming just to produce 
because the economy will collapse if we did not, anarchists want to ensure 
that we produce what is useful in a manner which liberates the individual 
and empowers them in all aspects of their lives. They share this desire 
with (some of) the classical Liberals and agree totally with Humbolt's 
statement that <i>"the end of man  . . . is the highest and most harmonious 
development of his powers to a complete and consistent whole."</i> [quoted 
by J.S. Mill in <b>On Liberty and Other Essays</b>, p. 64] 
<p>
This desire means that anarchists reject the capitalist definition 
of <i>"efficiency."</i> Anarchists would agree with Albert and Hahnel when 
they argue that <i>"since people are conscious agents whose characteristics 
and therefore preferences develop over time, to access long-term efficiency 
we must access the impact of economic institutions on people's development."</i> 
[<b>The Political Economy of Participatory Economics</b>, p. 9] Capitalism, as
we have explained before, is highly inefficient in this light due to the
effects of hierarchy and the resulting marginalisation and disempowerment
of the majority of society. As Albert and Hahnel go on to note, 
<i>"self-management, solidarity, and variety are all legitimate valuative
criteria for judging economic institutions . . . Asking whether particular
institutions help people attain self-management, variety, and solidarity
is sensible."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
<p>
In other words, anarchists think that any economic activity in a free 
society is to do useful things in such a way that gives those doing it 
as much pleasure as possible. The point of such activity is to express 
the individuality of those doing it, and for that to happen they must 
control the work process itself. Only by self-management can work become 
a means of empowering the individual and developing his or her powers.
<p>
In a nutshell, to use William Morris' expression, useful work will replace 
useless toil in an anarchist society.
<p>
<a name="seci42"><h2>I.4.2 Why do anarchists desire to abolish work?</h2>
<p>
Anarchists desire to see humanity liberate itself from <i>"work."</i> This may
come as a shock for many people and will do much to <i>"prove"</i> that anarchism
is essentially utopian. However, we think that such an abolition is not
only necessary, it is possible. This is because <i>"work"</i> is one of the major
dangers to freedom we face. 
<p>
If by freedom we mean self-government, then it is clear that being subjected
to hierarchy in the workplace subverts our abilities to think and judge
for ourselves. Like any skill, critical analysis and independent thought
have to be practised continually in order to remain at their full potential.
However, as well as hierarchy, the workplace environment created by these
power structures also helps to undermine these abilities. This was
recognised by Adam Smith:
<p>
<i>"The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by
their ordinary employments."</i> That being so, <i>"the man whose life is spent
in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, 
perhaps, always the same, or nearly the same, has no occasion to extend 
his understanding . . . and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as 
it is possible for a human creature to be . . . But in every improved 
and civilised society this is the state into which the labouring poor, 
that is the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless 
government takes pains to prevent it."</i> [Adam Smith, quoted by Noam 
Chomsky, <b>Year 501</b>, p. 18] 
<p>
Smith's argument (usually ignored by those who claim to follow his 
ideas) is backed up by extensive evidence. The different types of 
authority structures and different technologies have different effects 
on those who work within them. Carole Pateman (in <b>Participation and 
Democratic Theory</b>) notes that the evidence suggests that <i>"[o]nly 
certain work situations were found to be conducive to the development 
of the psychological characteristics [suitable for freedom, such as] 
. . . the feelings of personal confidence and efficacy that underlay 
the sense of political efficacy."</i> [p. 51] She quotes one expert (R.
Blauner from his <b>Freedom and Alienation</b>) who argues that within 
capitalist companies based upon highly rationalised work environment,
extensive division of labour and <i>"no control over the pace or technique
of his [or her] work, no room to exercise skill or leadership"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, 
p. 51] workers, according to a psychological study, is <i>"resigned to his 
lot . . . more dependent than independent . . . he lacks confidence in 
himself . . . he is humble . . . the most prevalent feeling states . . . 
seem to be fear and anxiety."</i> [p. 52] 
<p>
However, in workplaces where <i>"the worker has a high degree of personal
control over his work . . . and a very large degree of freedom from 
external control . . .[or has] collective responsibility of a crew of
employees . . .[who] had control over the pace and method of getting
the work done, and the work crews were largely internally self-disciplining"</i> 
[p. 52] a different social character is seen. This was characterised by
<i>"a strong sense of individualism and autonomy, and a solid acceptance
of citizenship in the large society . . .[and] a highly developed feeling
of self-esteem and a sense of self-worth and is therefore ready to
participate in the social and political institutions of the community."</i> 
[p. 52] She notes that R. Blauner states that the <i>"nature of a man's 
work affects his social character and personality"</i> and that an 
<i>"industrial environment tends to breed a distinct social type."</i> 
[cited by Pateman, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 52] 
<p>
As Bob Black argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances 
are you'll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous. Work is a much better
explanation for the creeping cretinisation all around us than even such
significant moronising mechanisms as television and education. People who
are regimented all their lives, handed to work from school and bracketed by
the family in the beginning and the nursing home in the end, are habituated
to hierarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so
atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded
phobias. Their obedience training at work carries over into the families
they start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into
politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from
people at work, they'll likely submit to hierarchy and expertise in
everything. They're used to it."</i> [<b>The Abolition of Work</b>]
</blockquote><p>
For this reason anarchists desire, to use Bob Black's phrase, <i>"the
abolition of work."</i> <i>"Work,"</i> in this context, does not mean any form 
of productive activity. Far from it. <i>"Work"</i> (in the sense of doing necessary
things) will always be with us. There is no getting away from it; crops
need to be grown, schools built, homes fixed, and so on. No, <i>"work"</i> in 
this context means any form of labour in which the worker does not control 
his or her own activity. In other words, <b>wage labour</b> in all its many 
forms. As Kropotkin put it, <i>"the right to work"</i> simply <i>"means the right 
to be always a wage-slave, a drudge, ruled over and exploited by the 
middle class of the future"</i> and he contrasted this to the <i>"right to 
well-being"</i> which meant <i>"the possibility of living like human beings, 
and of bringing up children to be members of a society better than 
ours."</i> [<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 44]
<p>
A society based upon wage labour (i.e. a capitalist society) will result 
in a society within which the typical worker uses few of their abilities, 
exercise little or no control over their work because they are governed by 
a boss during working hours. This has been proved to lower the individual's 
self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, as would be expected in any social
relationship that denied self-government to workers. Capitalism is marked 
by an extreme division of labour, particularly between mental labour and 
physical labour. It reduces the worker to a mere machine operator, following 
the orders of his or her boss. Therefore, a libertarian that does not 
support economic liberty (i.e. self-management) is no libertarian at all.
<p>
Capitalism bases its rationale for itself on consumption. However, this
results in a viewpoint which minimises the importance of the time we
spend in productive activity. Anarchists consider that it is essential
for individual's to use and develop their unique attributes and capacities
in all walks of life, to maximise their powers. Therefore, the idea that
<i>"work"</i> should be ignored in favour of consumption is totally mad. Productive
activity is an important way of developing our inner-powers and express
ourselves; in other words, be creative. Capitalism's emphasis on consumption
shows the poverty of that system. As Alexander Berkman argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"We do not live by bread alone. True, existence is not possible without
opportunity to satisfy our physical needs. But the gratification of these
by no means constitutes all of life. Our present system of disinheriting
millions, made the belly the centre of the universe, so to speak. But in 
a sensible society . . . [t]he feelings of human sympathy, of justice and
right would have a chance to develop, to be satisfied, to broaden and grow."</i> 
[<b>ABC of Anarchism</b>, p. 15] 
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, capitalism is based on a constant process of alienated 
consumption, as workers try to find the happiness associated within
productive, creative, self-managed activity in a place it does not exist --
on the shop shelves. This can partly explain the rise of both mindless
consumerism and of religions, as individuals try to find meaning for
their lives and happiness, a meaning and happiness frustrated in wage
labour and hierarchy. 
<p>
Capitalism's impoverishment of the individual's spirit is hardly surprising. 
As William Godwin argued, <i>"[t]he spirit of oppression, the spirit of 
servility, and the spirit of fraud, these are the immediate growth of 
the established administration of property. They are alike hostile to 
intellectual and moral improvement."</i> [<b>The Anarchist Reader</b>, p. 131] In 
other words, any system based in wage labour or hierarchical relationships in 
the workplace will result in a deadening of the individual and the creation 
of a <i>"servile"</i> character. This crushing of individuality springs <b>directly</b> 
from what Godwin called <i>"the third degree of property"</i> namely <i>"a system. . .
by which one man enters into the faculty of disposing of the produce of 
another man's industry"</i> in other words, capitalism. [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 129]
<p>
Anarchists desire to change this and create a society based upon freedom in
all aspects of life. Hence anarchists desire to abolish work, simply because
it restricts the liberty and distorts the individuality of those who have to 
do it. To quote Emma Goldman:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Anarchism aims to strip labour of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom 
and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of 
colour, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in 
work both recreation and hope."</i> [<b>Anarchism and Other Essays</b>, p. 61]
</blockquote><p>
Anarchists do not think that by getting rid of work we will not have to 
produce necessary goods and so on. Far from it, an anarchist society <i>"doesn't
mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life 
based on play; in other words, a ludic revolution . . . a collective adventure 
in generalised joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn't passive."</i> 
[Bob Black, <b>Op. Cit.</b>]
<p>
This means that in an anarchist society every effort would be made to reduce 
boring, unpleasant activity to a minimum and ensure that whatever productive 
activity is required to be done is as pleasant as possible and based upon 
voluntary labour. However, it is important to remember Cornelius Castoriadis
point that a <i>"Socialist society will be able to reduce the length of the 
working day, and will have to do so, but this will not be the fundamental
preoccupation. Its first task will be to . . .transform the very nature of
work. The problem is not to leave more and more 'free' time to individuals -
which might well be empty time - so that they may fill it at will with 
'poetry' or the carving of wood. The problem is to make all time a time
of liberty and to allow concrete freedom to find expression in creative
activity."</i> Essentially, <i>"the problem is to put poetry into work."</i> 
[<b>Workers' Councils and the Economics of a Self-Managed Society</b>,
p. 14 and p. 15]
<p>
This is why anarchists desire to abolish <i>"work"</i> (i.e. wage labour), to 
ensure that whatever <i>"work"</i> (i.e. economic activity) is required to be 
done is under the direct control of those who do it. In this way it can 
be liberated and so become a means of self-realisation and not a form of 
self-negation. In other words, anarchists want to abolish work because 
<i>"[l]ife, the art of living, has become a dull formula, flat and inert."</i> 
[A. Berkman, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 27] Anarchists want to bring the spontaneity 
and joy of life back into productive activity and save humanity from 
the dead hand of capital. 
<p>
All this does not imply that anarchists think that individuals will 
not seek to <i>"specialise"</i> in one form of productive activity rather 
than another. Far from it, people in a free society will pick 
activities which interest them as the main focal point of their 
means of self-expression. <i>"It is evident,"</i> noted Kropotkin, <i>"that
all men and women cannot equally enjoy the pursuit of scientific
work. The variety of inclinations is such that some will find
more pleasure in science, some others in art, and other again in
some of the numberless branches of the production of wealth."</i> This 
<i>"division of work"</i> is commonplace in humanity and can be seen under 
capitalism -- most children and teenagers pick a specific line of 
work because they are interested, or at least desire to do a 
specific kind of work. This natural desire to do what interests 
you and what you are good at will be encouraged in an anarchist 
society. As Kropotkin argued, anarchists <i>"fully recognise the 
necessity of specialisation of knowledge, but we maintain that 
specialisation must follow general education, and that general 
education must be given in science and handicraft alike. To 
the division of society into brain workers and manual workers 
we oppose the combination of both kinds of activities . . . we 
advocate the <b>education integrale</b> [integral education], or 
complete education, which means the disappearance of that
pernicious division."</i> He was aware, however, that both 
individuals and society would benefit from a diversity of
activities and a strong general knowledge. In his words, <i>"[b]ut
whatever the occupations preferred by everyone, everyone
will be the more useful in his [or her] branch is he [or she]
is in possession of a serious scientific knowledge. And,
whosoever he [or she] might be . . . he would be the gainer
if he spent a part of his life in the workshop or the
farm (the workshop <b>and</b> the farm), if he were in contact
with humanity in its daily work, and had the satisfaction 
of knowing that he himself discharges his duties as an
unprivileged producer of wealth."</i> [<b>Fields, Factories and 
Workshops Tomorrow</b>, p. 186, p. 172 and p. 186]
<p>
However, while specialisation would continue, the permanent division 
of individuals into manual or brain workers would be eliminated.  
Individuals will manage all aspects of the <i>"work"</i> required (for 
example, engineers will also take part in self-managing their 
workplaces), a variety of activities would be encouraged and 
the strict division of labour of capitalism will be abolished. 
<p>
In other words, anarchists want to replace the division of labour 
by the division of  work. We must stress that we are not playing
with words here. John Crump presents a good summary of the ideas
of the Japanese anarchist Hatta Shuzo on this difference:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"[W]e must recognise the distinction which Hatta made between
the 'division of labour' . . . and the 'division of work' . . .
he did not see anything sinister in the division of work . . .
On the contrary, Hatta believed that the division of work
was a benign and unavoidable feature of any productive
process: 'it goes without saying that within society,
whatever the kind of production, there has to be a 
division of work.'"</i> [<b>Hatta Shuzo and Pure Anarchism in
Interwar Japan</b>, pp. 146-7]
</blockquote><p>
As Kropotin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"while a <b>temporary</b> division of functions remains the surest
guarantee of success in each separate undertaking, the <b>permanent</b>
division is doomed to disappear, and to be substituted by a variety
of pursuits -- intellectual, industrial, and agricultural --
corresponding to the different capacities of the individual, as 
well as to the variety of capacities within every human aggregate."</i> 
[<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, p. 26]
</blockquote><p>
As an aside, supporters of capitalism argue that <b>integrated</b> labour
must be more inefficient than <b>divided</b> labour as capitalist firms
have not introduced it. This is false for numerous reasons. 
<p>
Firstly, we have to put out the inhuman logic of the assertion. 
After all, few would argue in favour of slavery if it were, in fact, 
<b>more</b> productive than wage labour but such is the logical conclusion 
of this argument. If someone did argue that the only reason slavery
was not the dominant mode of labour simply because it was inefficient
we would consider them as less than human. Simply put, it is a sick
ideology which happily sacrifices individuals for the sake of
slightly more products. Sadly, that is what many defenders of
capitalism do, ultimately, argue for.
<p>
Secondly, capitalist firms are not neutral structures but rather 
a system of hierarchies, with entrenched interests and needs. 
Managers will only introduce a work technique that maintains 
their power (and so their profits). As we argue in 
<a href="secJ5.html#secj512">section J.5.12</a>, 
while workers' participation generally see a rise in 
efficiency managers generally stop the project simply because 
it undercuts their power by empowering workers who then can fight 
for a greater slice of the value they produce. So the lack of 
integrated labour under capitalism simply means that it does not 
empower management, not that it is less efficient. 
<p>
Thirdly, the attempts by managers and bosses to introduce 
<i>"flexibility"</i> by eliminating trade unions suggests that 
integration <b>is</b> more efficient. After all, one of the
major complains directed towards trade union contracts
were that they explicitly documented what workers could
and could not do. For example, union members would refuse 
to do work which was outside their agreed job descriptions. 
This is usually classed as an example of the evil of 
regulations.
<p>
However, if we look at it from the viewpoint of contract, it
exposes the inefficiency and inflexibility of contract as a
means of co-operation. After all, what is this refusal actually
mean? It means that the worker refuses to do what is not 
specified in his or her contract! Their job description indicates
what they have been contracted to do and anything else has 
not been agreed upon in advance. It specifies the division of
labour in a workplace by means of a contract between worker
and boss.
<p>
While being a wonderful example of a well-designed contract, 
managers discovered that they could not operate their workplaces 
because of them. Rather, they needed a general <i>"do what you are told"</i> 
contract (which of course is hardly an example of contract reducing 
authority) and such a contract <b>integrates</b> numerous work tasks 
into one. The managers diatribe against union contracts suggests 
that production needs some form of integrated labour to actually 
work (as well as showing the hypocrisy of the labour contract
under capitalism as labour <i>"flexibility"</i> simply means labour 
<i>"commodification"</i> -- a machine does not question what its used for, 
the ideal for labour under capitalism is a similar unquestioning
nature for labour). The union job description indicates that 
not only is the contract not applicable to the capitalist 
workplace but that production needs the integration of labour
while demanding a division of work. As Cornelius Caastoriadis
argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Modern production has destroyed many traditional professional
qualifications. It has created automatic or semi-automatic
machines. It has thereby itself demolished its own traditional
framework for the industrial division of labour. It has given
birth to a universal worker who is capable, after a relatively
short apprenticeship, of using most machines. Once one gets
beyond its class aspects, the 'posting' of workers to 
particular jobs in a big modern factory corresponds less and
less to a genuine division of <b>labour</b> and more and more
to a simple division of tasks. Workers are not allocated to
given areas of the productive process and then riveted to
them because their 'occupational skills' invariably
correspond to the 'skills required' by management. They
are placed there . . . just because a particular vacancy
happened to exist."</i> [<b>Political and Social Writings</b>,
vol. 2, p. 117]
</blockquote><p>
Of course, the other option is to get rid of capitalism by 
self-management. If workers managed their own time and labour, 
they would have no reason to say <i>"that is not my job"</i> as they 
have no contract with someone who tells them what to do. Similarly, 
the process of labour integration forced upon the worker would be 
freely accepted and a task freely accepted always produces superior
results than one imposed by coercion (or its threat). This
means that <i>"[u]nder socialism, factories would have no reason
to accept the artificially rigid division of labour now
prevailing. There will be every reason to encourage a
rotation of workers <b>between shops and departments</b> and
between production and office areas."</i> The <i>"residues of
capitalism's division of labour gradually will have to be
eliminated"</i> as <i>"socialist society cannot survive unless it
demolishes this division."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>] 
<p>
Division of tasks (or work) will replace division of labour
in a free society. <i>"The main subject of social economy,"</i> argued
Kropotkin, is <i>"the <b>economy</b> of energy required for the 
satisfaction of <b>human needs.</b>"</i> These needs obviously expressed
both the needs of the producers for empowering and interesting
work and their need for a healthy and balanced environment.
Thus Kropotkin discussed the <i>"advantages"</i> which could be 
<i>"derive[d] from a combination of industrial pursuits with
intensive agriculture, and of brain work with manual work."</i> 
The <i>"greatest sum total of well-being can be obtained when
a variety of agricultural, industrial and intellectual
pursuits are combined in each community; and that man [and
woman] shows his best when he is in a position to apply
his usually-varied capacities to several pursuits in the
farm, the workshop, the factory, the study or the studio,
instead of being riveted for life to one of these pursuits
only."</i> [<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, pp. 17-8]
<p>
By replacing the division of labour with the division of work,
productive activity can be transformed into an enjoyable task
(or series of tasks). By integrating labour, all the capacities
of the producer can be expressed so eliminating a major source
of alienation and unhappiness in society.
<p>
One last point on the abolition of work. May 1st -- International
Workers' Day -- which, as we discussed in 
<a href="secA5.html#seca52">section A.5.2</a>, was created
to commemorate the Chicago Anarchist Martyrs. Anarchists then, as
now, think that it should be celebrated by strike action and mass
demonstrations. In other words, for anarchists, International
Workers' Day should be a non-work day! That sums up the anarchist
position to work nicely -- that the celebration of workers' day
should be based on the rejection of work.
<p>
<a name="seci43"><h2>I.4.3 How do anarchists intend to abolish work?</h2>
<p>
Basically by workers' self-management of production and community 
control of the means of production. It is hardly in the interests 
of those who do the actual <i>"work"</i> to have bad working conditions, 
boring, repetitive labour, and so on. Therefore, a key aspect of 
the liberation from work is to create a self-managed society, <i>"a 
society in which everyone has equal means to develop and that all 
are or can be at the time intellectual and manual workers, and the 
only differences remaining between men [and women] are those which 
stem from the natural diversity of aptitudes, and that all jobs, 
all functions, give an equal right to the enjoyment of social 
possibilities."</i> [Errico Malatesta, <b>Anarchy</b>, p. 40]
<p>
Essential to this task is decentralisation and the use of appropriate 
technology. Decentralisation is important to ensure that those who do 
work can determine how to liberate it. A decentralised system will 
ensure that ordinary people can identify areas for technological 
innovation, and so understand the need to get rid of certain kinds 
of work. Unless ordinary people understand and control the 
introduction of technology, then they will never be fully aware 
of the benefits of technology and resist advances which may be in 
their best interests to introduce. This is the full meaning of 
appropriate technology, namely the use of technology which those 
most affected feel to be best in a given situation. Such technology
may or may not be technologically <i>"advanced"</i> but it will be of the kind
which ordinary people can understand and, most importantly, control.
<p>
The potential for rational use of technology can be seen from capitalism.
Under capitalism, technology is used to increase profits, to expand the
economy, not to liberate <b>all</b> individuals from useless toil (it does,
of course, liberate a few from such <i>"activity"</i>). As Ted Trainer argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Two figures drive the point home. In the long term, productivity (i.e. 
output per hour of work) increases at about 2 percent per annum, meaning 
that each 35 years we could cut the work week by half while producing as 
much as we were at the beginning. A number of OECD . . . countries could 
actually have cut from a five-day work week to around a one-day work 
week in the last 25 years while maintaining their output at the same 
level. In this economy we must therefore double the annual amount we 
consume per person every 35 years just to prevent unemployment from 
rising and to avoid reduction in outlets available to soak up 
investable capital.
<p>
"Second, according to the US Bureau for Mines, the amount of capital per
person available for investment in the United States will increase at 3.6 
percent per annum (i.e. will double in 20-year intervals). This indicates 
that unless Americans double the volume of goods and services they consume
every 20 years, their economy will be in serious difficulties
<p>
"Hence the ceaseless and increasing pressure to find more business 
opportunities"</i> [<i>"What is Development"</i>, p 57-90, <b>Society and Nature</b>, 
Issue No. 7, p. 49]
</blockquote><p>
And, remember, these figures include production in many areas of the
economy that would not exist in a free society - state and capitalist 
bureaucracy, weapons production, and so on. In addition, it does not
take into account the labour of those who do not actually produce
anything useful and so the level of production for useful goods would
be higher than Trainer indicates. In addition, goods will be built to 
last and so much production will become sensible and not governed by an
insane desire to maximise profits at the expense of everything else.
<p>
The decentralisation of power will ensure that self-management becomes 
universal. This will see the end of division of labour as mental and 
physical work becomes unified and those who do the work also manage it.
This will allow <i>"the free exercise of <b>all</b> the faculties of man"</i> both 
inside and outside "work." [Peter Kropotkin, <b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, 
p. 148] The aim of such a development would be to turn productive
activity, as far as possible, into an enjoyable experience. In the
words of Murray Bookchin it is the <b>quality</b> and <b>nature</b> of the
work process that counts:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"If workers' councils and workers' management of production
do not transform the work into a joyful activity, free time
into a marvellous experience, and the workplace into a
community, then they remain merely formal structures, in
fact, <b>class</b> structures. They perpetuate the limitations
of the proletariat as a product of bourgeois social conditions.
Indeed, no movement that raises the demand for workers'
councils can be regarded as revolutionary unless it tries to
promote sweeping transformations in the environment of the
work place."</i> [<b>Post-Scarcity Anarchism</b>, p. 146]
</blockquote><p>
Work will become, primarily, the expression of a person's pleasure in
what they are doing and become like an art - an expression of their 
creativity and individuality. Work as an art will become expressed in
the workplace as well as the work process, with workplaces transformed
and integrated into the local community and environment (see section 
I.4.15 -- <a href="secI4.html#seci415"><i>"What will the workplace of 
tomorrow be like?"</i></a>). This will
obviously apply to work conducted in the home as well, otherwise the 
<i>"revolution, intoxicated with the beautiful words, Liberty, Equality,
Solidarity, would not be a revolution if it maintained slavery at
home. Half [of] humanity subjected to the slavery of the hearth would 
still have to rebel against the other half."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>The 
Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 128]
<p>
In other words, anarchists desire <i>"to combine the best part (in fact, 
the only good part) of work -- the production of use-values -- with 
the best of play . . . its freedom and its fun, its voluntariness and 
its intrinsic gratification"</i>  -- the transformation of what economists 
call production into productive play. [Bob Black, <b>Smokestack Lightning</b>]
<p>
In addition, a decentralised system will build up a sense of community 
and trust between individuals and ensure the creation of an ethical 
economy, one based on interactions between individuals and not 
commodities caught in the flux of market forces. This ideal of a 
<b><i>"moral economy"</i></b> can be seen in both social anarchists desire for 
the end of the market system and the individualists insistence that 
<i>"cost be the limit of price."</i> Anarchists recognise that the <i>"traditional 
local market . . . is essentially different from the market as it 
developed in modern capitalism. Bartering on a local market offered 
an opportunity to meet for the purpose of exchanging commodities. 
Producers and customers became acquainted; they were relatively small 
groups . . . The modern market is no longer a meeting place but a
mechanism characterised by abstract and impersonal demand. One produces
for this market, not for a known circle of customers; its verdict is 
based on laws of supply and demand."</i> [<b>Man for Himself</b>, pp. 67-68]
<p>
Anarchists reject the capitalist notion that economic activity should 
be based on maximising profit as the be all and end all of such work 
(buying and selling on the <i>"impersonal market"</i>). As markets only work 
through people, individuals, who buy and sell (but, in the end, control 
them -- in the <i>"free market"</i> only the market is free) this means that 
for the market to be <i>"impersonal"</i> as it is in capitalism it implies 
that those involved have to be unconcerned about personalities, 
including their own. Profit, not ethics, is what counts. The 
<i>"impersonal"</i> market suggests individuals who act in an impersonal, 
and so unethical, manner. The morality of what they produce, why 
they produce it and how they produce it is irrelevant, as long as 
profits are produced. 
<p>
Instead, anarchists consider economic activity as an expression of the 
human spirit, an expression of the innate human need to express ourselves 
and to create. Capitalism distorts these needs and makes economic activity 
a deadening experience by the division of labour and hierarchy. Anarchists
think that <i>"industry is not an end in itself, but should only be a means to 
ensure to man his material subsistence and to make accessible to him the 
blessings of a higher intellectual culture. Where industry is everything 
and man is nothing begins the realm of a ruthless economic despotism 
whose workings are no less disastrous than those of any political despotism. 
The two mutually augment one another, and they are fed from the same 
source."</i> [Rudolph Rocker, <b>Anarcho-Syndicalism</b>, p. 11] 
<p>
Anarchists think that a decentralised social system will allow <i>"work"</i> to 
be abolished and economic activity humanised and made a means to an end
(namely producing useful things and liberated individuals). This would 
be achieved by, as Rudolf Rocker puts it, the <i>"alliance of free groups of 
men and women based on co-operative labour and a planned administration of 
things in the interest of the community."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 62] 
<p>
However, as things are produced by people, it could be suggested that a 
<i>"planned administration of things"</i> implies a <i>"planned administration of 
people"</i> (although few who suggest this danger apply it to capitalist 
firms which are like mini-centrally planned states). This objection is 
false simply because anarchism aims <i>"to reconstruct the economic life  
of the peoples from the ground up and build it up anew in the spirit of 
Socialism"</i> and, moreover, <i>"only the producers themselves are fitted for 
this task, since they are the only value-creating element in society out 
of which a new future can arise."</i> Such a reconstructed economic life 
would be based on anarchist principles, that is <i>"based on the principles 
of federalism, a free combination from below upwards, putting the right 
of self-determination of every member above everything else and recognising 
only the organic agreement of all on the basis of like interests and 
common convictions."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 61 and p. 53]
<p>
In other words, those who produce also administer and so govern themselves 
in free association (and it should be pointed out that any group of 
individuals in association will make <i>"plans"</i> and <i>"plan,"</i> the important
question is who does the planning and who does the work. Only in anarchy
are both functions united into the same people). Rocker emphasises this 
point when he writes that:
<p><blockquote>
    <i>"Anarcho-syndicalists  are  convinced  that  a  Socialist economic
     order  cannot  be  created  by  the  decrees  and  statutes  of a
     government,  but  only  by  the  solidaric  collaboration  of the
     workers with hand and brain in each special branch of production;
     that  is, through the taking over of the management of all plants
     by  the  producers  themselves  under such form that the separate
     groups,  plants, and branches of industry are independent members
     of  the  general  economic  organism  and systematically carry on
     production  and  the distribution of the products in the interest
     of the community on the basis of free mutual agreements."</i> 
     [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 55]
</blockquote><p>
In other words, the <i>"planned administration of things"</i> would be done
by the producers <b>themselves,</b> in independent groupings. This would 
likely take the form (as we indicated in 
<a href="secI3.html">section I.3</a>) of confederations 
of syndicates who communicate information between themselves and respond 
to changes in the production and distribution of products by increasing or
decreasing the required means of production in a co-operative (i.e. <i>"planned"</i>) 
fashion. No <i>"central planning"</i> or <i>"central planners"</i> governing the economy,
just workers co-operating together as equals (as Kropotkin argued, free
socialism <i>"must result from thousands of separate local actions, all
directed towards the same aim. It cannot be dictated by a central body:
it must result from the numberless local needs and wants."</i> [<b>Act for
Yourselves</b>, p. 54]). 
<p>
Therefore, an anarchist society would abolish work by ensuring that
those who do the work actually control it. They would do so in a network
of self-managed associations, a society <i>"composed of a number of societies
banded together for everything that demands a common effort: federations
of producers for all kinds of production, of societies for consumption . . .
All these groups will unite their efforts through mutual agreement . . .
Personal initiative will be encouraged and every tendency to uniformity
and centralisation combated."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, quoted by Buber in 
<b>Paths in Utopia</b>, p. 42]
<p>
In response to consumption patterns, syndicates will have to expand or 
reduce production and will have to attract volunteers to do the necessary 
work. The very basis of free association will ensure the abolition of work, 
as individuals will apply for <i>"work"</i> they enjoy doing and so would be 
interested in reducing <i>"work"</i> they did not want to do to a minimum. Such 
a decentralisation of power would unleash a wealth of innovation and ensure 
that unpleasant work be minimised and fairly shared (see 
<a href="secI4.html#seci413">section I.4.13</a>).
<p>
Now, any form of association requires agreement. Therefore, even a 
society based on the communist-anarchist maxim <i>"from each according 
to their ability, to each according to their need"</i> will need to make 
agreements in order to ensure co-operative ventures succeed. In other 
words, members of a co-operative commonwealth would have to make and 
keep to their agreements between themselves. This means that the members 
of a syndicate would agree joint starting and finishing times, require 
notice if individuals want to change "jobs" and so on within and between 
syndicates. Any joint effort requires some degree of co-operation and 
agreement. Moreover, between syndicates, an agreement would be reached 
(in all likelihood) that determined the minimum working hours required 
by all members of society able to work. How that minimum was actually 
organised would vary between workplace and commune, with work times, 
flexi-time, job rotation and so on determined by each syndicate
(for example, one syndicate may work 8 hours a day for 2 days, another 
4 hours a day for 4 days, one may use flexi-time, another more rigid 
starting and stopping times).
<p>
As Kropotkin argued, an anarchist-communist society would be based upon 
the following kind of <i>"contract"</i> between its members:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"We undertake to give you the use of our houses, stores, streets,  
means of transport, schools, museums, etc., on condition that, from 
twenty to forty-five or fifty years of age, you consecrate four or 
five hours a day to some work recognised as necessary to existence. 
Choose yourself the producing group which you wish to join, or organise 
a new group, provided that it will undertake to produce necessaries. And 
as for the remainder of your time, combine together with whomsoever you 
like, for recreation, art, or science, according to the bent of your 
taste . . . Twelve or fifteen hundred hours of work a year . . . is 
all we ask of you. For that amount of work we guarantee to you the 
free use of all that these groups produce, or will produce."</i> [<b>The 
Conquest of Bread</b>, pp. 153-4]
</blockquote><p>
With such work <i>"necessary to existence"</i> being recognised by individuals
and expressed by demand for labour from productive syndicates. It is, of
course, up to the individual to decide which work he or she desires to
perform from the positions available in the various associations in 
existence. A union card would be the means by which work hours would be 
recorded and access to the common wealth of society ensured. And, of course, 
individuals and groups are free to work alone and exchange the produce of 
their labour with others, including the confederated syndicates, if they so 
desired. An anarchist society will be as flexible as possible.
<p>
Therefore, we can imagine a social anarchist society being based on two 
basic arrangements -- firstly, an agreed minimum working week of, say, 20 
hours, in a syndicate of your choice, plus any amount of hours doing <i>"work"</i> 
which you feel like doing -- for example, art, experimentation, DIY, playing
music, composing, gardening and so on. The aim of technological progress 
would be to reduce the basic working week more and more until the very 
concept of necessary <i>"work"</i> and free time enjoyments is abolished. In 
addition, in work considered dangerous or unwanted, then volunteers could 
trade doing a few hours of such activity for more free time (see 
<a href="secI4.html#seci413">section I.4.13</a> for more on this).
<p>
It can be said that this sort of agreement is a restriction of liberty
because it is <i>"man-made"</i> (as opposed to the <i>"natural law"</i> of <i>"supply
and demand"</i>). This is a common defence of the free market by individualist
anarchists against anarcho-communism, for example. However, while in theory
individualist-anarchists can claim that in their vision of society, they
don't  care  when, where, or how a person earns a living, as long as they are 
not invasive about it the fact is that any economy is based on interactions
between individuals. The law of <i>"supply and demand"</i> easily, and often, makes
a mockery of the ideas that individuals can work as long as they like -
usually they end up working as long as required by market forces (i.e. the
actions of other individuals, but turned into a force outwith their control,
see 
<a href="secI1.html#seci13">section I.1.3</a>). 
This means that individuals do not work as long as 
they like, but as long as they have to in order to survive. Knowing that 
<i>"market forces"</i> is the cause of long hours of work hardly makes them any
nicer.
<p>
And it seems strange to the communist-anarchist that certain free 
agreements made between equals can be considered authoritarian while 
others are not. The individualist-anarchist argument that social 
co-operation to reduce labour is <i>"authoritarian"</i> while agreements 
between individuals on the market are not seems illogical to social 
anarchists. They cannot see how it is better for individuals to be 
pressured into working longer than they desire by <i>"invisible hands"</i> 
than to come to an arrangement with others to manage their own affairs 
to maximise their free time.
<p>
Therefore, free agreement between free and equal individuals is considered
the key to abolishing work, based upon decentralisation of power and
the use of appropriate technology.
<p>
<a name="seci44"><h2>I.4.4 What economic decision making criteria could be used in anarchy?</h2>
<p>
Firstly, it should be noted that anarchists do not have any set idea
about the answer to this question. Most anarchists are communists, 
desiring to see the end of money, but that does not mean they want 
to impose communism onto people. Far from it, communism can only be 
truly libertarian if it is organised from the bottom up. So, anarchists 
would agree with Kropotkin that it is a case of not <i>"determining in 
advance what form of distribution the producers should accept in 
their different groups -- whether the communist solution, or labour 
checks, or equal salaries, or any other method"</i> while considering a 
given solution best in their opinion. [<b>Kropotkin's Revolutionary 
Pamphlets</b>, p. 166] Free experiment is a key aspect of anarchism.
<p>
While certain anarchists have certain preferences on the
social system they want to live in and so argue for that, they 
are aware that objective circumstances and social desires will
determine what is introduced during a revolution (for example,
while Kropotkin was a communist-anarchist and considered it
essential that a revolution proceed towards communism as quickly
as possible, he was aware that it was unlikely it would be
introduced immediately -- see <a href="secI2.html#seci22">section I.2.2</a> 
for details).
<p>
However, we will outline some possible means of economic decision making
criteria as this question is an important one (it is the crux of the 
<i>"libertarian socialism is impossible"</i> argument, for example). Therefore,
we will indicate what possible solutions exist in different forms of
anarchism.
<p>
In a mutualist or collectivist system, the answer is easy. Prices will exist 
and be used as a means of making decisions. Mutualism will be more market 
orientated than collectivism, with collectivism being based on confederations 
of collectives to respond to changes in demand (i.e. to determine investment 
decisions and ensure that supply is kept in line with demand). Mutualism, 
with its system of market based distribution around a network of co-operatives 
and mutual banks, does not really need a further discussion as its basic 
operations are the same as in any non-capitalist market system. Collectivism 
and communism will have to be discussed in more detail. However, all systems 
are based on workers' self-management and so the individuals directly affected 
make the decisions concerning what to produce, when to do it, and how to do 
it. In this way workers retain control of the product of their labour. It 
is the social context of these decisions and what criteria workers use to 
make their decisions that differ between anarchist schools of thought.
<p>
Although collectivism promotes the greatest autonomy for worker associations, 
it should not be confused with a market economy as advocated by supporters
of mutualism (particularly in its Individualist form). The goods produced 
by the collectivised factories and workshops are exchanged not according to 
highest price that can be wrung from consumers, but according to their actual 
production costs. The determination of these honest prices is to be by a <i>"Bank
of Exchange"</i> in each community (obviously an idea borrowed from Proudhon). 
These <i>"Banks"</i> would represent the various producer confederations and 
consumer/citizen groups in the community and would seek to negotiate these
<i>"honest"</i> prices (which would, in all likelihood, include <i>"hidden"</i> costs
like pollution). These agreements would be subject to ratification by
the assemblies of those involved. 
<p>
As Guillaume puts it <i>"the value of the commodities having been established 
in advance by a contractual agreement between the regional co-operative 
federations [i.e. confederations of syndicates] and the various communes, 
who will also furnish statistics to the Banks of Exchange. The Bank of Exchange 
will remit to the producers negotiable vouchers representing the value of their 
products; these vouchers will be accepted throughout the territory included 
in the federation of communes."</i> [<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>, p. 366] These 
vouchers would be related to hours worked, for example, and when used as a
guide for investment decisions could be supplemented with cost-benefit 
analysis of the kind possibly used in a communist-anarchist society (see 
below).
<p>
Although this scheme bears a strong resemblance to Proudhonian <i>"People's 
Banks,"</i> it should be noted that the Banks of Exchange, along with a <i>"Communal 
Statistical Commission,"</i> are intended to have a <i>"planning"</i> function as well
to ensure that supply meets demand. This does not imply a <i>"command"</i> economy,
but simple book keeping for <i>"each Bank of Exchange makes sure in advance that 
these products are in demand [in order to risk] nothing by immediately issuing 
payment vouchers to the producers."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 367] The workers syndicates
would still determine what orders to produce and each commune would be free
to choose its suppliers.
<p>
As will be discussed in more depth later (see 
<a href="secI4.html#seci48">section I.4.8</a>) information 
about consumption patterns will be recorded and used by workers to inform
their production and investment decisions. In addition, we can imagine that
production syndicates would encourage communes as well as consumer groups and 
co-operatives to participate in making these decisions. This would ensure 
that produced goods reflect consumer needs. Moreover, as conditions permit, 
the exchange functions of the communal <i>"banks"</i> would (in all likelihood) be 
gradually replaced by the distribution of goods <i>"in accordance with the needs 
of the consumers."</i> In other words, most supporters of collectivist anarchism 
see it as a temporary measure before anarcho-communism could develop. 
<p>
Communist anarchism would be similar to collectivism, i.e. a system of
confederations of collectives, communes and distribution centres (<i>"Communal
stores"</i>). However, in an anarcho-communist system, prices are not used. How 
will economic decision making be done? One possible solution is as follows:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"As to decisions involving choices of a general nature, such as what 
forms of energy to use, which of two or more materials to employ to 
produce a particular good, whether to build a new factory, there is 
a . . . technique . . . that could be [used] . . . 'cost-benefit 
analysis' . . . in socialism a points scheme for attributing relative 
importance to the various relevant  considerations could be used . . . 
The points attributed to these considerations would be subjective, 
in the sense that this would depend on a deliberate social decision 
rather than some objective standard, but this is the case even under 
capitalism when a monetary value has to be attributed to some such 
'cost' or 'benefit' . . . In the sense that one of the aims of socialism
is precisely to rescue humankind from the capitalist fixation with 
production time/money, cost-benefit analyses, as a means of taking into
account other factors, could therefore be said to be more appropriate for
use in socialism than under capitalism. Using points systems to attribute
relative importance in this way would not be to recreate some universal
unit of evaluation and calculation, but simply to employ a technique to
facilitate decision-making in particular concrete cases."</i> [Adam Buick and 
John Crump, <b>State Capitalism: The Wages System Under New Management</b>, 
pp. 138-139]
</blockquote><p>
This points system would be the means by which producers and consumers
would be able to determine whether the use of a particular good is 
efficient or not. Unlike prices, this cost-benefit analysis system 
would ensure that production and consumption reflects social and 
ecological costs, awareness and priorities. Moreover, this analysis
would be a <b>guide</b> to decision making and not a replacement of human
decision making and evaluation. As Lewis Mumford argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"it is plan that in the decision as to whether to build a bridge
or a tunnel there is a human question that should outweigh the
question of cheapness or mechanical feasibility: namely the number
of lives that will be lost in the actual building or the advisability
of condemning a certain number of men [and women] to spend their
entire working days underground supervising tunnel traffic. As soon
as our thought ceases to be automatically conditioned by the mine,
such questions become important. Similarly the social choice
between silk and rayon is not one that can be made simply on 
the different costs of production, or the difference in quality 
between the fibres themselves: there also remains, to be integrated 
in the decision, the question as to difference in working-pleasure
between tending silkworms and assisting in rayon production. What
the product contributes to the labourer is just as important as what
the worker contributes to the product. A well-managed society might
alter the process of motor car assemblage, at some loss of speed
and cheapness, in order to produce a more interesting routine for
the worker: similarly, it would either go to the expense of
equipping dry-process cement making plants with dust removers -- 
or replace the product itself with a less noxious substitute. When
none of these alternatives was available, it would drastically
reduce the demand itself to the lowest possible level."</i> [<b>The
Future of Technics and Civilisation</b>, pp. 160-1]
</blockquote><p>
Obviously, today, we would include ecological issues as well as
human ones. However Mumford's argument is correct. Any decision
making process which disregards the quality of work or the effect
on the human and natural environment is a deranged process. However,
this is how capitalism operates, with the market rewarding capitalists
and managers who introduce de-humanising and ecologically harmful
practices. Indeed, so biased against labour and the environment
is capitalism that economists and pro-capitalists argue that 
reducing <i>"efficiency"</i> by such social concerns is actually <b>harmful</b>
to an economy, which is a total reversal of common sense and
human feelings (after all, surely the economy should satisfy human
needs and not sacrifice those needs to the economy?). The argument
is that consumption would suffer as resources (human and material)
would be diverted from more <i>"efficient"</i> productive activities and 
so reduce, over all, our economic well-being. What this argument 
ignores is that consumption does not exist in isolation from the 
rest of the economy. What we what to consume is conditioned, in 
part, by the sort of person we are and that is influenced by the 
kind of work we do, the kinds of social relationships we have, 
whether we are happy with our work and life, and so on. If our 
work is alienating and of low quality, then so will our consumption 
decisions. If our work is subject to hierarchical control and
servile in nature then we cannot expect our consumption decisions
of totally rational -- indeed they may become an attempt to find
happiness via shopping, a self-defeating activity as consumption
cannot solve a problem created in production. Thus rampant 
consumerism may be the result of capitalist <i>"efficiency"</i> and so
the objection against socially aware production is question
begging.
<p>
Of course, as well as absolute scarcity, prices under capitalism 
also reflect relative scarcity (while in the long term, market prices 
tend towards their production price plus a mark-up based on the
degree of monopoly in a market, in the short term prices can change 
as a result of changes in supply and demand). How a communist society 
could take into account such short term changes and communicate them 
through out the economy is discussed in section I.4.5 (
<a href="secI4.html#seci45">"What about <i>'supply 
and demand'</i>?"</a>). Needless 
to say, production and investment decisions based 
upon such cost-benefit analysis would take into account the current 
production situation and so the relative scarcity of specific goods.
<p>
Therefore, a communist-anarchist society would be based around a network 
of syndicates who communicate information between each other. Instead of 
the <i>"price"</i> being communicated between workplaces as in capitalism, actual
physical data will be sent. This data is a summary of the use values
of the good (for example labour time and energy used to produce it,
pollution details, relative scarcity and so forth). With this information a 
cost-benefit analysis will be conducted to determine which good will be best 
to use in a given situation based upon mutually agreed common values. The
data for a given workplace could be compared to the industry as a whole (as
confederations of syndicates would gather and produce such information -- 
see 
<a href="secI3.html#seci35">section I.3.5</a>) 
in order to determine whether a specific workplace will
efficiently produce the required goods (this system has the additional 
advantage of indicating which workplaces require investment to bring them
in line, or improve upon, the industrial average in terms of working 
conditions, hours worked and so on). In addition, common rules of thumb 
would possibly be agreed, such as agreements not to use scarce materials 
unless there is no alternative (either ones that use a lot of labour, 
energy and time to produce or those whose demand is currently exceeding 
supply capacity). 
<p>
Similarly, when ordering goods, the syndicate, commune or individual involved 
will have to inform the syndicate why it is required in order to allow the 
syndicate to determine if they desire to produce the good and to enable them 
to prioritise the orders they receive. In this way, resource use can be guided 
by social considerations and <i>"unreasonable"</i> requests ignored (for example, if
an individual <i>"needs"</i> a ship-builders syndicate to build a ship for his 
personal use, the ship-builders may not <i>"need"</i> to build it and instead builds
ships for the transportation of freight). However, in almost all cases of 
individual consumption, no such information will be needed as communal stores 
would order consumer goods in bulk as they do now. Hence the economy would be 
a vast network of co-operating individuals and workplaces and the dispersed 
knowledge which exists within any society can be put to good effect (<b>better</b> 
effect than under capitalism because it does not hide social and ecological 
costs in the way market prices do and co-operation will eliminate the business 
cycle and its resulting social problems).
<p>
Therefore, production units in a social anarchist society, by virtue of 
their autonomy within association, are aware of what is socially useful 
for them to produce and, by virtue of their links with communes, also 
aware of the social (human and ecological) cost of the resources they 
need to produce it. They can combine this knowledge, reflecting overall 
social priorities, with their local knowledge of the detailed circumstances 
of their workplaces and communities to decide how they can best use their 
productive capacity. In this way the division of knowledge within society 
can be used by the syndicates effectively as well as overcoming the 
restrictions within knowledge communication imposed by the price mechanism.
<p>
Moreover, production units, by their association within confederations 
(or Guilds) ensure that there is effective communication between them. This 
results in a process of negotiated co-ordination between equals (i.e. horizontal
links and agreements) for major investment decisions, thus bringing together 
supply and demand and allowing the plans of the various units to be 
co-ordinated. By this process of co-operation, production units can reduce 
duplicating effort and so reduce the waste associated with over-investment 
(and so the irrationalities of booms and slumps associated with the price 
mechanism, which does not provide sufficient information to allow
workplaces to efficiently co-ordinate their plans - see 
<a href="secC7.html#seci72">section C.7.2</a>). 
<p>
Needless to say, this issue is related to the <i>"socialist calculation"</i> 
issue we discussed in 
<a href="secI1.html#seci12">section I.1.2</a>. To clarify our ideas, we shall
present an example.
<p>
Consider two production processes. Method A requires 70 tons of steel 
and 60 tons of concrete while Method B requires 60 tons of steel and 
70 tons of concrete.  Which method should be preferred? One of the 
methods will be more economical in terms of leaving more resources
available for other uses than the other but in order to establish 
which we need to compare the relevant quantities. 
<p>
Supporters of capitalism argue that only prices can supply the necessary
information as they are heterogeneous quantities. Both steel and 
concrete have a price (say $10 per ton for steel and $5 per ton for
concrete). The method to choose is clearly B as it has a lower
price that A ($950 for B compared to $1000 for A). However, this
does not actually tell us whether B is the more economical method
of production in terms of minimising waste and resource use, it 
just tells us which costs less in terms of money. 
<p>
Why is this? Simply because, as we argued in 
<a href="secI1.html#seci12">section I.1.2</a>, 
prices do not totally reflect social, economic and ecological 
costs. They are influenced by market power, for example, and 
produce externalities, environmental and health costs which 
are not reflected in the price. Indeed, passing on costs in 
the form of externalities and inhuman working conditions 
actually are rewarded in the market as it allows the company
so doing to cut their prices. As far as market power goes, this
has a massive influence on prices, directly in terms of prices
charged and indirectly in terms of wages and conditions of
workers. Due to natural barriers to entry (see 
<a href="secC4.html">section C.4</a>), 
prices are maintained artificially high by the market power of big 
business. For example, steel could, in fact cost $5 per ton to 
produce but market power allows the company to charge $10 per ton, 
<p>
Wage costs are, again, determined by the bargaining power of 
labour and so do not reflect the real costs in terms of health, 
personality and alienation the workers experience. They may 
be working in unhealthy conditions simply to get by, with 
unemployment or job insecurity hindering their attempts to 
improve their conditions or find a new job. Nor are the social
and individual costs of hierarchy and alienation factored
into the price, quite the reverse. It seems ironic that an
economy which it defenders claim meets human needs (as 
expressed by money, of course) totally ignores individuals 
in the workplace, the place they spend most of their waking 
hours in adult life.
<p>
So the relative costs of each production method have to be
evaluated but price does not, indeed cannot, provide an real
indication of whether a method is economical in the sense of
actually minimising resource use. Prices do reflect some of
these costs, of course, but filtered through the effects of
market power, hierarchy and externalities they become less
and less accurate. Unless you take the term <i>"economical"</i> to
simply mean <i>"has the least cost in price"</i> rather than the
sensible <i>"has the least cost in resource use, ecological
impact and human pain"</i> you have to accept that the price
mechanism is not a great indicator of economic use.
<p>
What is the alternative? Obviously the exact details will be 
worked out in practice by the members of a free society,
but we can suggest a few ideas based on our comments above. 
<p>
When evaluating production methods we need to take into account 
as many social and ecological costs as possible and these have 
to be evaluated. Which costs will be taken into account, of 
course, be decided by those involved, as will how important 
they are relative to each other (i.e. how they are weighted).
Moreover, it is likely that they will factor in the desirability 
of the work performed to indicate the potential waste in human 
time involved in production (see 
<a href="secI4.html#seci413">section I.4.13</a> for a discussion
of how the desirability of productive activity could be indicated
in an anarchist society). The logic behind this is simple, a 
resource which people <b>like</b> to produce will be a better use 
of the scare resource of an individual's time than one people 
hate producing. 
<p>
So, for example, steel may take 3 person hours to produce one 
ton, produce 200 cubic metres of waste gas, 2000 kilo-joules 
of energy, and has excellent working conditions. Concrete, 
on the other hand, may take 4 person hours to produce one ton,
produce 300 cubic metres of waste gas, uses 1000 kilo-joules
of energy and has dangerous working conditions due to dust. 
What would be the best method? Assuming that each factor is 
weighted the same, then obviously Method A is the better
method as it produces the least ecological impact and has the
safest working environment -- the higher energy cost is offset 
by the other, more important, factors. 
<p>
What factors to take into account and how to weigh them
in the decision making process will be evaluated constantly
and reviewed so to ensure that it reflects real costs and
social concerns. Moreover, simply accounting tools can be
created (as a spreadsheet or computer programme) that
takes the decided factors as inputs and returns a cost
benefit analysis of the choices available.
<p>
Therefore, the claim that communism cannot evaluate different
production methods due to lack of prices is inaccurate. Indeed,
a look at the actual capitalist market -- marked as it is by
differences in bargaining and market power, externalities 
and wage labour -- soon shows that the claims that prices
accurately reflect costs is simply not accurate.
<p>
One final point on this subject. As social anarchists consider it important 
to encourage all to participate in the decisions that affect their lives, 
it would be the role of communal confederations to determine the relative
points value of given inputs and outputs. In this way, <b>all</b> individuals in a
community determine how their society develops, so ensuring that economic 
activity is responsible to social needs and takes into account the desires of 
everyone affected by production. In this way the problems associated with
the <i>"Isolation Paradox"</i> (see 
<a href="secB6.html">section B.6</a>) can be over come and so consumption 
and production can be harmonised with the needs of individuals as members 
of society and the environment they live in. 
<p>
<a name="seci45"><h2>I.4.5 What about <i>"supply and demand"</i>?</h2>
<p>
Anarchists do not ignore the facts of life, namely that at a given moment
there is so much a certain good produced and so much of is desired to be
consumed or used. Neither do we deny that different individuals have different 
interests and tastes. However, this is not what is usually meant by <i>"supply 
and demand."</i> Often in general economic debate, this formula is given a 
certain mythical quality which ignores the underlying realities which it 
reflects as well as some unwholesome implications of the theory. So, before 
discussing <i>"supply and demand"</i> in an anarchist society, it is worthwhile to 
make a few points about the <i>"law of supply and demand"</i> in general.
<p>
Firstly, as E.P. Thompson argues, <i>"supply and demand"</i> promotes <i>"the notion
that high prices were a (painful) remedy for dearth, in drawing supplies to 
the afflicted region of scarcity. But what draws supply are not high prices
but sufficient money in their purses to pay high prices. A characteristic
phenomenon in times of dearth is that it generates unemployment and empty
pursues; in purchasing necessities at inflated prices people cease to be
able to buy inessentials [causing unemployment] . . . Hence the number of
those able to pay the inflated prices declines in the afflicted regions,
and food may be exported to neighbouring, less afflicted, regions where
employment is holding up and consumers still have money with which to pay.
In this sequence, high prices can actually withdraw supply from the most
afflicted area."</i> [<b>Customs in Common</b>, pp. 283-4]
<p>
Therefore <i>"the law of supply and demand"</i> may not be the <i>"most efficient"</i> 
means of distribution in a society based on inequality. This is clearly
reflected in the <i>"rationing"</i> by purse which this system is based on. While
in the economics books, price is the means by which scare resources are
<i>"rationed"</i> in reality this creates many errors. Adam Smith argued that
high prices discourage consumption, putting <i>"everybody more or less, but
particularly the inferior ranks of people, upon thrift and good management."</i> 
[cited by Thompson, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 284] However, as Thompson notes, <i>"[h]owever
persuasive the metaphor, there is an elision of the real relationships
assigned by price, which suggests. . .ideological sleight-of-mind. Rationing
by price does not allocate resources equally among those in need; it 
reserves the supply to those who can pay the price and excludes those
who can't. . .The raising of prices during dearth could 'ration' them
[the poor] out of the market altogether."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 285]
<p>
In other words, the market cannot be isolated and abstracted from the network
of political, social and legal relations within which it is situated. This
means that all that <i>"supply and demand"</i> tells us is that those with money
can demand more, and be supplied with more, than those without. Whether this
is the <i>"most efficient"</i> result for society cannot be determined (unless, of
course, you assume that rich people are more valuable than working class
ones <b>because</b> they are rich). This has an obvious effect on production, 
with <i>"effective demand"</i> twisting economic activity. As Chomsky notes, 
<i>"[t]hose who have more money tend to consume more, for obvious reasons. So 
consumption is skewed towards luxuries for the rich, rather than necessities 
for the poor."</i> George Barrett brings home of the evil of such a <i>"skewed"</i> 
form of production:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"To-day the scramble is to compete for the greatest profits. If there is 
more profit to be made in satisfying my lady's passing whim than there is 
in feeding hungry children, then competition brings us in feverish haste 
to supply the former, whilst cold charity or the poor law can supply the 
latter, or leave it unsupplied, just as it feels disposed. That is how it 
works out."</i> [<b>Objections to Anarchism</b>] 
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, as far as <i>"supply and demand"</i> is concerned, anarchists are 
well aware of the need to create and distribute necessary goods to those 
who require them. This, however, cannot be achieved under capitalism. In 
effect, supply and demand under capitalism results in those with most money 
determining what is an <i>"efficient"</i> allocation of resources for if financial 
profit is the sole consideration for resource allocation, then the wealthy
can outbid the poor and ensure the highest returns. The less wealthy can
do without.
<p>
However, the question remains of how, in an anarchist society, do you know 
that valuable labour and materials might be better employed elsewhere? How 
do workers judge which tools are most appropriate? How do they decide 
among different materials if they all meet the technical specifications?
How important are some goods than others? How important is cellophane
compared to vacuum-cleaner bags?
<p>
It is answers like this that the supporters of the market claim that their
system answers. However, as indicated, it does answer them in irrational and
dehumanising ways under capitalism but the question is: can anarchism answer 
them? Yes, although the manner in which this is done varies between anarchist 
threads. In a mutualist economy, based on independent and co-operative labour, 
differences in wealth would be vastly reduced, so ensuring that irrational 
aspects of the market that exist within capitalism would be minimised. 
The workings of supply and demand would provide a more just result than 
under the current system.
<p>
However, collectivist, syndicalist and communist anarchists reject the 
market. This rejection often implies, to some, central planning. As the 
market socialist David Schweickart puts it, <i>"[i]f profit considerations do 
not dictate resource usage and production techniques, then central direction 
must do so. If profit is not the goal of a productive organisation, then 
physical output (use values) must be."</i> [<b>Against Capitalism</b>, p. 86]
<p>
However, Schweickart is wrong. Horizontal links need not be market 
based and co-operation between individuals and groups need not be 
hierarchical. What is implied in this comment is that there is just 
two ways to relate to others -- namely, by bribery or by authority. 
In other words, either by prostitution (purely by cash) or by 
hierarchy (the way of the state, the army or capitalist workplace). 
But people relate to each other in other ways, such as friendship, 
love, solidarity, mutual aid and so on. Thus you can help or 
associate with others without having to be ordered to do so or 
by being paid cash to do so -- we do so all the time. You can 
work together because by so doing you benefit yourself and 
the other person. This is the <b>real</b> communist way, that of 
mutual aid and free agreement. 
<p>
So Schweickart is ignoring the vast majority of relations in any 
society. For example, love/attraction is a horizontal link between 
two autonomous individuals and profit considerations do not enter 
into the relationship. Thus anarchists argue that Schweickart's 
argument is flawed as it fails to recognise that resource usage 
and production techniques can be organised in terms of human need 
and free agreement between economic actors, without profits or 
central command. This system does not mean that we all have to
love each other (an impossible wish). Rather, it means that we
recognise that by voluntarily co-operating as equals we ensure
that we remain free individuals and that we can gain the 
advantages of sharing resources and work (for example, a reduced
working day and week, self-managed work in safe and hygienic 
working conditions and a free selection of the product of
a whole society). In other words, a self-interest which exceeds
the narrow and impoverished <i>"egotism"</i> of capitalist society.
In the words of John O'Neil:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"[F]or it is the institutions themselves that define what
counts as one's interests. In particular, the market 
encourages egoism, not primarily because it encourages
an individual to be 'self-interested' -- it would be
unrealistic not to expect individuals to act for the
greater part in a 'self-interested' manner -- but rather
because it defines an individual's interests in a
particularly narrow fashion, most notably in terms of
possession of certain material goods. In consequence,
where market mechanism enter a particular sphere of
life, the pursuit of goods outside this narrow range 
of market goods is institutionally defined as an act
of altruism."</i> [<b>The Market</b>, p. 158]
</blockquote><p>
Thus free agreement and horizontal links are not limited
to market transactions -- they develop for numerous reasons
and anarchists recognise this. As George Barret argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Let us imagine now that the great revolt of the workers has taken
place, that their direct action has made them masters of the
situation. It is not easy to see that some man in a street that
grew hungry would soon draw a list of the loaves that were needed,
and take it to the bakery where the strikers were in possession?
Is there any difficulty in supposing that the necessary amount
would then be baked according to this list? By this time the
bakers would know what carts and delivery vans were needed to
send the bread out to the people, and if they let the carters
and vanmen know of this, would these not do their utmost to
supply the vehicles. . . If . . . [the bakers needed] more 
benches [to make bread] . . . the carpenters would supply
them [and so on] . . . So the endless continuity goes on
-- a well-balanced interdependence of partss guaranteed, because
<b>need</b> is the motive force behind it all. . . In the same way
that each free individual has associated with his brothers
[and sisters] to produce bread, machinery, and all that is
necessary for life, driven by no other force than his desire
for the full enjoyment of life, so each institution is free
and self-contained, and co-operates and enters into agreements
with other because by so doing it extends its own possibilities.
There is no centralised State exploiting or dictating, but the
complete structure is supported because each part is dependent
on the whole . . . It will be a society responsive to the wants
of the people; it will supply their everyday needs as quickly
as it will respond to their highest aspirations. Its changing
forms will be the passing expressions of humanity."</i> [<b>The
Anarchist Revolution</b>, pp. 17-19]
</blockquote><p>
To make productive decisions we need to know what others need and
information in order to evaluate the alternative options available
to us to satisfy that need. Therefore, it is a question of distributing 
information between producers and consumers, information which the market 
often hides (or actively blocks) or distorts due to inequalities in 
resources (i.e. need does not count in the market, <i>"effective demand"</i> 
does and this skews the market in favour of the wealthy). This information 
network has partly been discussed in the 
<a href="secI4.html#seci44">last section</a> where a method of 
comparison between different materials, techniques and resources based 
upon use value was discussed. However, the need to indicate the current 
fluctuations in production and consumption needs to be indicated which 
complements that method.
<p>
In a non-Mutualist anarchist system it is assumed that confederations of
syndicates will wish to adjust their capacity if they are aware of the need
to do so. Hence, price changes in response to changes in demand would not
be necessary to provide the information that such changes are required. This
is because a <i>"change in demand first becomes apparent as a change in the
quantity being sold at existing prices [or being consumed in a moneyless
system] and is therefore reflected in changes in stocks or orders. Such 
changes are perfectly good indicators or signals that an imbalance between
demand and current output has developed. If a change in demand for its
products proved to be permanent, a production unit would find its stocks
being run down and its order book lengthening, or its stocks increasing and
orders falling . . . Price changes in response to changes in demand are 
therefore not necessary for the purpose of providing information about the 
need to adjust capacity."</i> [Pat Devine, <b>Democracy and Economic Planning</b>, 
p. 242]
<p>
To indicate the relative changes in scarcity of a given good it 
will be necessary to calculate a <i>"scarcity index."</i> This would inform 
potential users of this good whether its demand is outstripping its
supply so that they may effectively adjust their decisions in light 
of the decisions of others. This index could be, for example, a 
percentage figure which indicates the relation of orders placed
for a commodity to the amount actually produced. For example, a good 
which has a demand higher than its supply would have an index value 
of 101% or higher. This value would inform potential users to start 
looking for substitutes for it or to economise on its use. Such a 
scarcity figure would exist for each collective as well as (possibly) 
a generalised figure for the industry as a whole on a regional, 
"national," etc. level. 
<p>
In this way, a specific good could be seen to be in high demand and 
so only those producers who <b>really</b> required it would place orders 
for it (so ensuring effective use of resources). Needless to say, 
stock levels and other basic book-keeping techniques would be 
utilised in order to ensure a suitable buffer level of a specific 
good existed. This may result in some excess supply of goods being 
produced and used as stock to buffer out unexpected changes in the 
aggregate demand for a good.
<p>
Such a buffer system would work on an individual workplace level and at
a communal level. Syndicates would obviously have their inventories, 
stores of raw materials and finished goods <i>"on the shelf,"</i> which can be 
used to meet excesses in demand. Communal stores, hospitals and so on
would have their stores of supplies in case of unexpected disruptions
in supply. This is a common practice even in capitalism, although it
would (perhaps) be extended in a free society to ensure changes in 
supply and demand do not have disruptive effects.
<p>
Communes and confederations of communes may also create buffer stocks
of goods to handle unforeseen changes in demand and supply. This
sort of inventory has been used by capitalist countries like the
USA to prevent changes in market conditions for agricultural products
and other strategic raw materials producing wild spot-price 
movements and inflation. Post-Keynesian economist Paul Davidson
argued that the stability of commodity prices this produced <i>"was
an essential aspect of the unprecedented prosperous economic
growth of the world's economy"</i> between 1945 and 1972. US President
Nixon dismantled these buffer zone programmes, resulting in
<i>"violent commodity price fluctuations"</i> which had serious economic
effects. [<b>Controversies in Post-Keynesian Economics</b>, p. 114
and p. 115]
<p>
Again, an anarchist society is likely to utilise this sort of buffer 
system to iron out short-term changes in supply and demand. By reducing 
short-term fluctuations of the supply of commodities, bad investment 
decisions would be reduced as syndicates would not be mislead, as is 
the case under capitalism, by market prices being too high or too low 
at the time when the decisions where being made. Indeed, if market
prices are not at their equilibrium level then they do not (and 
cannot) provide adequate knowledge for rational calculation. The 
misinformation conveyed by dis-equilibrium prices can cause very 
substantial macroeconomic distortions as profit-maximising 
capitalists response to unsustainable prices for, say, tin, and 
over-invest in a given branch of industry. Such mal-invest could 
spread through the economy, causing chaos and recession. 
<p>
This, combined with cost-benefit analysis described in 
<a href="secI4.html#seci44">section I.4.4</a>, 
would allow information about changes within the <i>"economy"</i> to rapidly 
spread throughout the whole system and influence all decision makers 
without the great majority knowing anything about the original causes 
of these changes (which rest in the decisions of those directly affected). 
The relevant information is communicated to all involved, without having 
to be order by an <i>"all-knowing"</i> central body as in a Leninist centrally
planned economy. As argued in 
<a href="secI1.html#seci12">section I.1.2</a>, anarchists have long realised
that no centralised body could possibly be able to possess all the 
information dispersed throughout the economy and if such a body attempted
to do so, the resulting bureaucracy would effectively reduce the amount of
information available to society and so cause shortages and inefficiencies.
<p>
To get an idea how this system could work, let use take the example 
of a change in the copper industry. Let use assume that a source of 
copper unexpectedly dries up or, what amounts to the same thing, that 
the demand for copper increases. What would happen?
<p>
First, the initial difference would be a diminishing of stocks of 
copper which each syndicate maintains to take into account 
unexpected changes in requests for copper. This would help <i>"buffer
out"</i> expected, and short lived, changes in supply or requests. 
Second, naturally, there is an increase in demand for copper 
for those syndicates which are producing it. This immediately
increases the <i>"scarcity index"</i> of those firms, and so the 
<i>"scarcity index"</i> for the copper they produce and for the 
industry as a whole. For example, the index may rise from
95% (indicating a slight over-production in respect to current
demand) to 115% (indicating that the demand for copper has
risen in respect to the current level of production).
<p>
This change in the <i>"scarcity index"</i> (combined with difficulties in 
finding copper producing syndicates which can supply their orders) 
enters into the decision making algorithms of other syndicates. 
This, in turn, results in changes in their plans (for example, 
substitutes for copper may be used as they have become a more 
efficient resource to use). 
<p>
This would aid a syndicate when it determined which method of
production to use when creating a consumer good. The 
cost-benefit analysis out-lined in the 
<a href="secI4.html#seci44">last section</a> would 
allow a syndicate to determine the costs involved between
competing productive techniques (i.e. to ascertain which
used up least resources and therefore left the most over
for other uses). Producers would already have an idea of 
the absolute costs involved in any good they are planning to 
use, so relative changes between them would be a deciding factor.
<p>
In this way, requests for copper products fall and soon only reflects 
those requests that need copper and do not have realistic substitutes
available for it. This would result in the demand falling with 
respect to the current supply (as indicated by requests from other 
syndicates and to maintain buffer stock levels). Thus a general 
message has been sent across the <i>"economy"</i> that copper has become 
(relatively) scare and syndicates plans have changed in light of 
this information. No central planner made these decisions nor was money
required to facilitate them. We have a decentralised, non-market
system based on the free exchange of products between self-governing
associations.
<p>
Looking at the wider picture, the question of how to response
to this change in supply/requests for copper presents itself.
The copper syndicate federation and cross-industry syndicate
federations have regular meetings and the question of the 
changes in the copper situation present themselves. The 
copper syndicates, and their federation, must consider how
to response to these changes. Part of this is to determine
whether this change is likely to be short term or long term.
A short term change (say caused by a mine accident, for example)
would not need new investments to be planned. However, long 
term changes (say the new requests are due to a new product
being created by another syndicate or an existing mine becoming
exhausted) may need co-ordinated investment (we can expect 
syndicates to make their own plans in light of changes, for
example, by investing in new machinery to produce copper
more efficiently or to increase efficiency). If the expected
changes of these plans approximately equal the predicted 
long term changes, then the federation need not act. However,
if they do then investment in new copper mines or large scale
new investment across the industry may be required. The
federation would propose such plans.
<p>
Needless to say, the future can be guessed, it cannot be 
accurately predicted. Thus there may be over-investment in
certain industries as expected changes do not materialise.
However, unlike capitalism, this would not result in an
economic crisis as production would continue (with over
investment within capitalism, workplaces close due to lack 
of profits, regardless of social need). All that would happen 
is that the syndicates would rationalise production, close
down relatively inefficient plant and concentrate production
in the more efficient ones. The sweeping economic crises
of capitalism would be a thing of the past.
<p>
Therefore, each syndicate receives its own orders and supplies and sends 
its own produce out. Similarly, communal distribution centres would order
required goods from syndicates it determines. In this way consumers can
change to syndicates which respond to their needs and so production units 
are aware of what it is socially useful for them to produce as well as the 
social cost of the resources they need to produce it. In this way a network 
of horizontal relations spread across society, with co-ordination achieved 
by equality of association and not the hierarchy of the corporate structure.
This system ensures a co-operative response to changes in supply and
demand and so reduces the communication problems associated with the 
market which help causes periods of unemployment and economic downturn 
(see <a href="secC7.html#secc72">section C.7.2</a>).
<p>
While anarchists are aware of the <i>"isolation paradox"</i> (see 
<a href="secB6.html">section B.6</a>) 
this does not mean that they think the commune should make decisions <b>for</b> 
people on what they were to consume. This would be a prison. No, all 
anarchists agree that is up to the individual to determine their own needs 
and for the collectives they join to determine social requirements like parks, 
infrastructure improvements and so on. However, social anarchists think that
it would be beneficial to discuss the framework around which these decisions
would be made. This would mean, for example, that communes would agree to 
produce eco-friendly products, reduce waste and generally make decisions
enriched by social interaction. Individuals would still decide which sort 
goods they desire, based on what the collectives produce but these goods 
would be based on a socially agreed agenda. In this way waste, pollution
and other <i>"externalities"</i> of atomised consumption could be reduced. For 
example, while it is rational for individuals to drive a car to work, 
collectively this results in massive <b>irrationality</b> (for example, traffic 
jams, pollution, illness, unpleasant social infrastructures). A sane society
would discuss the problems associated with car use and would agree to
produce a fully integrated public transport network which would reduce
pollution, stress, illness, and so on. 
<p>
Therefore, while anarchists recognise individual tastes and desires, 
they are also aware of the social impact of them and so try to create 
a social environment where individuals can enrich their personal 
decisions with the input of other people's ideas. 
<p>
On a related subject, it is obvious that different collectives would 
produce slightly different goods, so ensuring that people have a choice. 
It is doubtful that the current waste implied in multiple products from 
different companies (sometimes the same company) all doing the same job 
would be continued in an anarchist society. However, production will be 
<i>"variations on a theme"</i> in order to ensure consumer choice and to allow 
the producers to know what features consumers prefer. It would be 
impossible to sit down beforehand and make a list of what features a 
good should have -- that assumes perfect knowledge and that technology 
is fairly constant. Both these assumptions are of limited use in real life. 
Therefore, co-operatives would produce goods with different features and 
production would change to meet the demand these differences suggest (for 
example, factory A produces a new CD player, and consumption patterns 
indicate that this is popular and so the rest of the factories convert). 
This is in addition to R&D experiments and test populations. In this way 
consumer choice would be maintained, and enhanced as consumers would be 
able to influence the decisions of the syndicates as producers (in some 
cases) and through syndicate/commune dialogue.
<p>
Therefore, anarchists do not ignore <i>"supply and demand."</i> Instead, they
recognise the limitations of the capitalist version of this truism and
point out that capitalism is based on <b>effective</b> demand which has no
necessary basis with efficient use of resources. Instead of the market, 
social anarchists advocate a system based on horizontal links between 
producers which effectively communicates information across society about 
the relative changes in supply and demand which reflect actual needs of
society and not bank balances. The response to changes in supply and
demand will be discussed in section I.4.8 
(<a href="secI4.html#seci48"><i>What about investment decisions?"</i></a>) 
and section I.4.13 (<a href="secI4.html#seci413"><i>"Who will do 
the dirty or unpleasant work?"</i></a>) will discuss the allocation of work tasks.
<p>
<a name="seci46"><h2>I.4.6 Surely anarchist-communism would just lead to demand exceeding supply?</h2>
<p>
Its a common objection that communism would lead to people wasting 
resources by taking more than they need. Kropotkin stated that <i>"free 
communism . . . places the product reaped or manufactured at the 
disposal of all, leaving to each the liberty to consume them as he 
pleases in his own home."</i> [<b>The Place of Anarchism in the Evolution 
of Socialist Thought</b>, p. 7]
<p>
But, some argue, what if an individual says they <i>"need"</i> a luxury house or
a personal yacht? Simply put, workers may not <i>"need"</i> to produce for that
need. As Tom Brown puts it, <i>"such things are the product of social labour. . .
Under syndicalism. . .it is improbable that any greedy, selfish person would
be able to kid a shipyard full of workers to build him a ship all for his 
own hoggish self. There would be steam luxury yachts, but they would be 
enjoyed in common"</i> [<b>Syndicalism</b>, p. 51]
<p>
Therefore, communist-anarchists are not blind to the fact that free access 
to products is based upon the actual work of real individuals -- <i>"society"</i> 
provides nothing, individuals working together do. This is reflected in 
the classic statement of communism -- <i>"From each according to their ability, 
to each according to their needs."</i> Therefore, the needs of both consumer 
<b>and</b> producer are taken into account. This means that if no syndicate or 
individual desires to produce a specific order an order then this order can 
be classed as an <i>"unreasonable"</i> demand - <i>"unreasonable"</i> in this context 
meaning that no one freely agrees to produce it. Of course, individuals 
may agree to barter services in order to get what they want produced if 
they <b>really</b> want something but such acts in no way undermines a 
communist society.
<p>
Communist-anarchists recognise that production, like consumption, must 
be based on freedom. However, it has been argued that free access would
lead to waste as people take more than they would under capitalism. This
objection is not as serious as it first appears. There are plenty of examples
within current society to indicate that free access will not lead to abuses.
Let us take three examples, public libraries, water and pavements. In public 
libraries people are free to sit and read books all day. However, few if any
actually do so. Neither do people always take the maximum number of books
out at a time. No, they use the library as they need to and feel no need to
maximise their use of the institution. Some people never use the library, 
although it is free. In the case of water supplies, its clear that people
do not leave taps on all day because water is often supplied freely or for
a fixed charge. Similarly with pavements, people do not walk everywhere
because to do so is free. In such cases individuals use the resource as 
and when they need to. 
<p>
We can expect a similar results as other resources become freely available. 
In effect, this argument makes as much sense as arguing that individuals will
travel to stops <b>beyond</b> their destination if public transport is based on
a fixed charge! And only an idiot would travel further than required in 
order to get <i>"value for money."</i> However, for many the world seems to be 
made up of such idiots. Perhaps it would be advisable for such critics to
hand out political leaflets in the street. Even though the leaflets are
free, crowds rarely form around the person handing them out demanding
as many copies of the leaflet as possible. Rather, those interested in
what the leaflets have to say take them, the rest ignore them. If free
access automatically resulted in people taking more than they need then
critics of free communism would be puzzled by the lack of demand for what 
they were handing out!
<p>
Part of the problem is that capitalist economics have invented a
fictional type of person, <b>Homo Economicus,</b> whose wants are limitless:
an individual who always wants more and more of everything and so
whose needs could only satisfied if resources were limitless too. 
Needless to say, such an individual has never existed. In reality,
wants are not limitless -- people have diverse tastes and rarely
want everything available nor want more of a good than that which
satisfies their need.
<p>
Communist Anarchists also argue that we cannot judge people's
buying habits under capitalism with their actions in a free
society. After all, advertising does not exist to meet people's
needs but rather to create needs by making people insecure 
about themselves. Simply put, advertising does not amplify 
existing needs or sell the goods and services that people 
already wanted. Advertising would not need to stoop to the 
level of manipulative ads that create false personalities for
products and provide solutions for problems that the advertisers 
themselves create if this was the case.
<p>
Crude it may be, but advertising is based on the creation of insecurities, 
preying on fears and obscuring rational thought. In an alienated society
in which people are subject to hierarchical controls, feelings of 
insecurity and lack of control and influence would be natural. It is
these fears that advertising multiples -- if you cannot have real
freedom, then at least you can buy something new. Advertising is the
key means of making people unhappy with what they have (and who they are). 
It is naive to claim that advertising has no effect on the psyche of the 
receiver or that the market merely responds to the populace and makes no
attempt to shape their thoughts. Advertising creates insecurities about 
such matter-of-course things and so generates irrational urges to buy
which would not exist in a libertarian communist society. 
<p>
However, there is a deeper point to be made here about consumerism. 
Capitalism is based on hierarchy and not liberty. This leads to a 
weakening of individuality and a lose of self-identity and sense of 
community. Both these senses are a deep human need and consumerism 
is often a means by which people overcome their alienation from their 
selves and others (religion, ideology and drugs are other means of escape). 
Therefore the consumption within capitalism reflects <b>its</b> values, not 
some abstract <i>"human nature."</i> As Bob Black argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"what we want, what we are capable of wanting is relative to the 
forms of social organisation. People 'want' fast food because they 
have to hurry back to work, because processed supermarket food 
doesn't taste much better anyway, because the nuclear family (for 
the dwindling minority who have even that to go home to) is too small
and too stressed to sustain much festivity in cooking and eating
-- and so forth. It is only people who can''t get what they want
who resign themselves to want more of what they can get. Since 
we cannot be friends and lovers, we wail for more candy."</i> 
 [<b>Smokestack Lightning</b>]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, most anarchists think that consumerism is a product of a 
hierarchical society within which people are alienated from themselves 
and the means by which they can make themselves <b>really</b> happy (i.e. 
meaningful relationships, liberty, work, and experiences). Consumerism 
is a means of filling the spiritual hole capitalism creates within us by 
denying our freedom.
<p>
This means that capitalism produces individuals who define themselves by 
what they have, not who they are. This leads to consumption for the sake 
of consumption, as people try to make themselves happy by consuming more
commodities. But, as Erich Fromm points out, this cannot work for and only 
leads to even more insecurity (and so even more consumption):
<p><blockquote>
<i>"<b>If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I?</b>
Nobody but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way 
of living. Because I <b>can</b> lose what I have, I am necessarily 
constantly worried that I <b>shall</b> lose what I have."</i> [<b>To Have 
Or To Be</b>, p. 111] 
</blockquote><p>
Such insecurity easily makes consumerism seem a <i>"natural"</i> way of life 
and so make communism seem impossible. However, rampant consumerism is 
far more a product of lack of meaningful freedom within an alienated 
society than a <i>"natural law"</i> of human existence. In a society that 
encouraged and protected individuality by non-hierarchical social 
relationships and organisations, individuals would have a strong 
sense of self and so be less inclined to mindlessly consume. As 
Fromm puts it: <i>"If <b>I am what I am</b> and not what I have, nobody 
can deprive me of or threaten my security and my sense of identity.
My centre is within myself."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 112] Such self-centred 
individuals do not have to consume endlessly to build a sense of 
security or happiness within themselves (a sense which can never 
actually be created by those means).
<p>
In other words, the well-developed individuality that an anarchist society
would develop would have less need to consume than the average person in a
capitalist one. This is not to suggest that life will be bare and without
luxuries in an anarchist society, far from it. A society based on the
free expression of individuality could be nothing but rich in wealth and
diverse in goods and experiences. What we are arguing here is that an 
anarchist-communist society would not have to fear rampant consumerism 
making demand outstrip supply constantly and always precisely because 
freedom will result in a non-alienated society of well developed 
individuals.
<p>
Of course, this may sound totally utopian. Possibly it is. However, as 
Oscar Wilde said, a map of the world without Utopia on it is not worth
having. One thing is sure, if the developments we have outlined above fail
to appear and attempts at communism fail due to waste and demand exceeding
supply then a free society would make the necessary decisions and introduce
some means of limiting supply (such as, for example, labour notes, equal
wages, and so on). Whether or not full communism <b>can</b> be introduced instantly
is a moot point amongst anarchists, although most would like to see society
develop towards a communist goal eventually.
<p>
<a name="seci47"><h2>I.4.7 What will stop producers ignoring consumers?</h2>
<p>
It is often claimed that with a market producers would ignore the needs
of consumers. Without the threat (and fear) of unemployment and destitution
and the promise of higher profits, producers would turn out shoddy goods.
The holders of this argument point to the example of the Soviet Union
which was notorious for terrible goods and a lack of consumer goods.
<p>
Capitalism, in comparison to the old Soviet block, does, to some 
degree make the producers accountable to the consumers. If the
producer ignores the desires of the producer then they will loose
business to those who do not and be forced, perhaps, out of
business (large companies, of course, due to their resources can
hold out far longer than smaller ones). Thus we have the carrot 
(profits) and the stick (fear of poverty) -- although, of course,
the carrot can be used as a stick against the consumer (no profit, 
no sale, no matter how much the consumer may need it). Ignoring the 
obvious objection to this analogy (namely we are human beings, <b>not</b> 
donkeys!) it does have contain an important point. What will ensure
that consumer needs are meet in an anarchist society?
<p>
In an Individualist-Mutualist anarchist system, as it is based on 
a market, producers would be subject to market forces and so have 
to meet consumers needs. Of course, there are three problems with
this system. Firstly, those without money have no access to the goods 
produced and so the ill, the handicapped, the old and the young may go 
without. Secondly, inequalities may become more pronounced as successful
producers drive others out of business. Such inequality would skew
consumption as it does in capitalism, so ensuring that a minority
get all the good things in life (Individualist anarchists would claim
that this is unlikely, as non-labour income would be impossible). 
Lastly, there is the danger that the system would revert back to
capitalism. This is because unsuccessful co-operatives may fail and 
cast their members into unemployment. This creates a pool of unemployed
workers, which (in turn) creates a danger of wage-labour being re-created 
as successful firms hire the unemployed but do not allow them to join the
co-operative. This would effectively end self-management and anarchy.
Moreover, the successful could hire <i>"protection agencies"</i> (i.e. thugs)
to enforce capitalist ideas of property rights.
<p>
This problem was recognised by Proudhon, who argued for an agro-industrial
federation to protect self-management from the effects of market forces,
as well as the collectivist-anarchists. In both these schemes, self-management
would be protected by agreements between co-operative workplaces to share
their resources with others in the confederation, so ensuring that new
workers would gain access to the means of life on the same terms as those
who already use it. In this way wage-labour would be abolished. In addition,
the confederation of workplaces would practice mutual aid and provide
resources and credit at cost to their members, so protecting firms from
failure while they adjust their production to meet consumer needs. 
<p>
In both these systems producers would be accountable to consumers by the 
process of buying and selling between co-operatives. As James Guillaume 
put it, the workers' associations would <i>"deposit their unconsumed commodities 
in the facilities provided by the [communal] Bank of Exchange . . . The Bank 
of Exchange would remit to the producers negotiable <b>vouchers</b> representing 
the value of their products"</i> (this value <i>"having been established in 
advance by a contractual agreement between the regional co-operative
federations and the various communes"</i>). [<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>, pp. 366] 
If the goods are not in demand then the producer associations would not 
be able to sell the product of their labour to the Bank of Exchange and 
so they would adjust their output accordingly. Overtime Guillaume hopes
that this system would evolve into free communism as production develops
and continually meets demand [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 368].
<p>
While mutualist and collectivist anarchists can argue that producers
would respond to consumer needs otherwise they would not get an
income, communist-anarchists (as they seek a moneyless society)
cannot argue their system would reward producers in this way. So
what mechanism exists to ensure that <i>"the wants of all"</i> are, in
fact, met? How does anarcho-communism ensure that production
becomes <i>"the mere servant of consumption"</i> and <i>"mould itself on
the wants of the consumer, not dictate to him conditions"</i>? [Peter
Kropotkin, <b>Act for Yourselves</b>, p. 57]
<p>
Libertarian communists argue that in a <b>free</b> communist society 
consumers' needs would be meet. This is because of the decentralised 
and federal nature of a communist-anarchist society.
<p>
So what is the mechanism which makes producers accountable to consumers
in a libertarian communist society? Firstly, communes would practice
their power of <i>"exit"</i> in the distributive network. If a syndicate was 
producing sub-standard goods or refusing to change their output in
the face of changing consumer needs, then the communal stores would
turn to those syndicates which <b>were</b> producing the goods desired. The
original syndicates would then be producing for their own stocks, a
pointless task and one few, if any, would do. After all, people generally
desire their work to have meaning, to be useful. To just work, producing
something no-one wanted would be such a demoralising task that few, if
any, sane people would do it (under capitalism people put up with spirit
destroying work as some income is better than none, such an <i>"incentive"</i> 
would not exist in a free society).
<p>
As can be seen, <i>"exit"</i> would still exit in libertarian communism. 
However, it could be argued that unresponsive or inefficient 
syndicates would still exist, exploiting the rest of society by 
producing rubbish (or goods which are of less than average 
quality) and consuming the products of other people's labour, 
confident that without the fear of poverty and unemployment 
they can continue to do this indefinitely. Without the market, 
it is argued, some form of bureaucracy would be required (or 
develop) which would have the power to punish such syndicates. 
Thus the state would continue in <i>"libertarian"</i> communism, with 
the <i>"higher"</i> bodies using coercion against the lower ones to 
ensure they meet consumer needs or produced enough.
<p>
While, at first glance, this appears to be a possible problem on closer
inspection it is flawed. This is because anarchism is based not only
on <i>"exit"</i> but also <i>"voice."</i> Unlike capitalism, libertarian communism
is based on association and communication. Each syndicate and commune
is in free agreement and confederation with all the others. Thus, is
a specific syndicate was producing bad goods or not pulling its
weight, then those in contact with them would soon realise this.
First, those unhappy with a syndicate's work would appeal to them 
directly to get their act together. If this did not work, then 
they would notify their disapproval by refusing to <i>"contract"</i> with
them in the future (i.e. they would use their power of <i>"exit"</i> as
well as refusing to provide the syndicate with any goods <b>it</b> 
requires). They would also let society as a whole know (via the
media) as well as contacting consumer groups and co-operatives
and the relevant producer and communal confederations which
they and the other syndicate are members of, who would, in turn,
inform their members of the problems (the relevant confederations
could include local and regional communal confederations, the
general cross-industry confederation, its own industrial/communal 
confederation and the confederation of the syndicate not pulling
its weight). In today's society, a similar process of <i>"word of
mouth"</i> warnings and recommendations goes on, along with consumer
groups and programmes. Our suggestions here are an extension of this
common practice (that this process exists suggests that the price
mechanism does not, in fact, provide consumers with all the 
relevant information they need to make decisions, but this is an
aside).
<p>
If the syndicate in question, after a certain number of complaints
had been lodged against it, still did not change its ways, then
it would suffer non-violent direct action. This would involve
the boycotting of the syndicate and (perhaps) its local commune
with products and investment, so resulting in the syndicate being 
excluded from the benefits of association. The syndicate would 
face the fact that no one else wanted to associate with it and 
suffer a drop in the goods coming its way, including consumption 
products for its members. In effect, a similar process would occur 
to that of a firm under capitalism that looses its customers and 
so its income. However, we doubt that a free society would subject 
any person to the evils of destitution or starvation (as capitalism
does). Rather, it would provide a bare minimum of goods required
for survival would still be available.
<p>
In the unlikely event this general boycott did not result in a change 
of heart, then two options are left available. These are either the
break-up of the syndicate and the finding of its members new work
places or the giving/selling of the syndicate to its current users
(i.e. to exclude them from the society they obviously do not want
to be part off). The decision of which option to go for would depend
on the importance of the workplace in question and the desires of the
syndicates' members. If the syndicate refused to disband, then option
two would be the most logical choice (unless the syndicate controlled
a scare resource). The second option would, perhaps, be best as this
would drive home the benefits of association as the expelled syndicate 
would have to survive on its own, subject to survival by selling the 
product of its labour and would soon return to the fold.
<p>
Kropotkin argued in these terms over 100 years ago. It is worthwhile
to quote him at length:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"First of all, is it not evident that if a society, founded on
the principle of free work, were really menaced by loafers, it
could protect itself without the authoritarian organisation
we have nowadays, and without having recourse to wagedom
[or payment by results]?
<p>
"Let us take a group of volunteers, combining for some particular
enterprise. Having its success at heart, they all work with a will,
save one of the associates, who is frequently absent from his post.
. . . some day the comrade who imperils their enterprise will be
told: 'Friend, we should like to work with you; but as you are
often absent from your post, and you do your work negligently,
we must part. Go and find other comrades who will put up with
your indifference!'
<p>
"This is so natural that it is practised everywhere, even nowadays,
in all industries . . . [I]f [a worker] does his work badly, if he 
hinders his comrades by his laziness or other defects, if he is 
quarrelsome, there is an end of it; he is compelled to leave the 
workshop.
<p>
"Authoritarian pretend that it is the almighty employer and his 
overseers who maintain regularity and quality of work in factories. 
In reality . . . it is the factory itself, the workmen [and women] 
who see to the good quality of the work . . .
<p>
"Not only in industrial workshops do things go in this way; it happens 
everywhere, every day, on a scale that only bookworms have as yet no 
notion of. When a railway company, federated with other companies, 
fails to fulfil its engagements, when its trains are late and goods 
lie neglected at the stations, the other companies threaten to cancel 
the contract, and that threat usually suffices.
<p>
"It is generally believed . . . that commerce only keeps to its 
engagements from fear of lawsuits. Nothing of the sort; nine times 
in ten the trader who has not kept his word will not appear before 
a judge. . . the sole fact of having driven a creditor to bring a 
lawsuit suffices for the vast majority of merchants to refuse for 
good to have any dealings with a man who has compelled one of them 
to go to law.
<p>
"This being so, why should means that are used today among workers 
in the workshop, traders in the trade, and railway companies in the 
organisation of transport, not be made use of in a society based on 
voluntary work?"</i> [<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, pp. 152-3]
</blockquote><p>
Thus, to ensure producer accountability of production to consumption, 
no bureaucratic body is required in libertarian communism (or any other 
form of anarchism). Rather, communication and direct action by those 
affected by unresponsive producers would be an effective and efficient 
means of ensuring the accountability of production to consumption.
<p>
<a name="seci48"><h2>I.4.8 What about investment decisions?</h2>
<p>
Obviously, a given society needs to take into account changes in 
consumption and so invest in new means of production. An anarchist 
society is no different. As G.D.H Cole points out, <i>"it is essential 
at all times, and in accordance with considerations which vary from 
time to time, for a community to preserve a balance between production 
for ultimate use and production for use in further production. And 
this balance is a matter which ought to be determined by and on 
behalf of the whole community."</i> [<b>Guild Socialism Restated</b>, p. 144]
<p>
How this balance is determined varies according to the school of 
anarchist thought considered. All agree, however, that such an 
important task should be under effective community control. 
<p>
The mutualists see the solution to the problems of investment as 
creating a system of mutual banks, which reduce interest rates to 
zero. This would be achieved <i>"[b]y the organisation of credit, on 
the principle of reciprocity or mutualism. . .In such an organisation 
credit is raised to the dignity of a social function, managed by 
the community; and, as society never speculates upon its members, 
it will lend its credit . . . at the actual cost of transaction."</i> 
[Charles A. Dana, <b>Proudhon and his <i>"Bank of the People"</i></b>, p. 36] 
This would allow money to be made available to those who needed 
it and so break the back of the capitalist business cycle (i.e. 
credit would be available as required, not when it was profitable 
for bankers to supply it) as well as capitalist property relations. 
<p>
So under a mutualist regime, credit for investment would be 
available from two sources. Firstly, an individual's or 
co-operative's own saved funds and, secondly, as zero interest 
loans from mutual banks, credit unions and other forms of credit 
associations. Loans would be allocated to projects which the mutual 
banks considered likely to succeed and repay the original loan.
<p>
Collectivist and communist anarchists recognise that credit is 
based on human activity, which is represented as money. As the 
Guild Socialist G.D.H. Cole pointed out, the <i>"understanding of 
this point [on investment] depends on a clear appreciation of 
the fact that all real additions to capital take the form of 
directing a part of the productive power of labour and using 
certain materials not for the manufacture of products and the 
rendering of services incidental to such manufacture for purposes 
of purposes of further production."</i> [<b>Guild Socialism Restated</b>, 
p. 143] So collectivist and communist anarchists agree with 
their Mutualist cousins when they state that <i>"[a]ll credit 
presupposes labour, and, if labour were to cease, credit 
would be impossible"</i> and that the <i>"legitimate source of 
credit"</i> was <i>"the labouring classes"</i> who <i>"ought to control 
it"</i> and <i>"whose benefit [it should] be used"</i> [Charles A. 
Dana, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 35]
<p>
Therefore, in collectivism, investment funds would exist for
syndicates, communes and their in community (<i>"People's"</i>) 
<i>"banks."</i> These would be used to store depreciation funds and 
as well as other funds agreed to by the collectives for
investment projects (for example, collectives may agree 
to allocate a certain percentage of their labour notes to 
a common account in order to have the necessary funds available 
for major investment projects). Similarly, individual syndicates 
and communes would also create a store of funds for their own 
investment projects. In this, collectivist anarchism is like 
mutualism, with communal credit banks being used to facilitate 
investment by organising credit and savings on a 
non-exploitative basis (i.e. issuing credit at zero 
interest). 
<p>
However, the confederations of syndicates to which these 
<i>"People's Banks"</i> would be linked would have a defined
planning function as well -- i.e. taking a role in investment
decisions to ensure that production meets demand (see below). 
This would be one factor in deciding which investment plans 
should be given funding (this, we stress, is hardly <i>"central 
planning"</i> as capitalist firms also plan future investments to 
meet expected demand).
<p>
In a communist-anarchist society, things would be slightly different
as this would not have the labour notes used in mutualism and
collectivism. This means that the collectives would agree that 
a certain part of their output and activity will be directed to 
investment projects. In effect, each collective is able to 
draw upon the sums approved of by the Commune in the form of 
an agreed claim on the labour power of all the collectives 
(investment <i>"is essentially an allocation of material and
labour, and fundamentally, an allocation of human productive
power."</i> [Cole, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, pp. 144-5]). In this way, mutual aid 
ensures a suitable pool of resources for the future from which 
all benefit.
<p>
How would this work? Obviously investment decisions have
implications for society as a whole. The implementation of
these decisions require the use of <b>existing</b> capacity and
so must be the responsibility of the appropriate level of
the confederation in question. Investment decisions taken
at levels above the production unit become effective in the
form of demand for the current output of the syndicates which
have the capacity to produce the goods required. This would
require each syndicate to <i>"prepare a budget, showing
its estimate of requirements both of goods or services
for immediate use, and of extensions and improvements."</i> 
[Cole, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 145] These budgets and investment
projects would be discussed at the appropriate level
of the confederation (in this, communist-anarchism would
be similar to collectivist anarchism).
<p>
The confederation of syndicates/communes would be the ideal 
forum to discuss (communicate) the various investment
plans required -- and to allocate scarce resources between
competing ends. This would involve, possibly, dividing 
investment into two groups -- necessary and optional --
and using statistical techniques to consider the impact
of an investment decision (for example, the use of 
input-output tables could be used to see if a given
investment decision in, say, the steel industry would
require investment in energy production). In this way
social needs <b>and</b> social costs would be taken into
account and ensure that investment decisions are not
taken in isolation from one another, so causing 
bottle-necks and insufficient production due to lack
of inputs from other industries.
<p>
Necessary investments are those which have been agreed upon
by the appropriate confederation. It means that resources
and productive capacity are prioritised towards them, as
indicated in the agreed investment project. It will not be 
required to determine precisely <b>who</b> will provide the 
necessary goods for a given investment project, just 
that it has priority over other requests. When a bank 
gives a company credit, it rarely asks exactly where that
money will be built. Rather, it gives the company the power
to command the labour of other workers by supplying them
with credit. Similarly in an anarcho-communist society,
except that the other workers have agreed to supply their
labour for the project in question by designating it a
<i>"necessary investment."</i> This means when a request arrives
at a syndicate for a <i>"necessary investment"</i> a syndicate
must try and meet it (i.e. it must place the request
into its production schedule before <i>"optional"</i> requests,
assuming that it has the capacity to meet it). A list of
necessary investment projects, including what they require
and if they have been ordered, will be available to all 
syndicates to ensure such a request is a real one. 
<p>
Optional investment is simply investment projects which
have not been agreed to by a confederation. This means
that when a syndicate or commune places orders with a
syndicate they may not be meet or take longer to arrive.
The project may go ahead, but it depends on whether the
syndicate or commune can find workers willing to do that
work. This would be applicable for small scale investment
decisions or those which other communes/syndicates do not
think of as essential.
<p>
This we have two inter-related investment strategies. A
communist-anarchist society would prioritise certain forms 
of investment by the use of <i>"necessary"</i> and <i>"optional"</i> 
investment projects. This socialisation of investment 
will allow a free society to ensure that social needs 
are meet while maintaining a decentralised and dynamic 
"economy." Major projects to meet social needs will be
organised effectively, but with diversity for minor
projects. In addition, it will also allow such a society
to keep track of what actual percentage of resources
are being used for investment, so ensuring that current
needs are not sacrificed for future ones and vice-versa. 
<p>
As for when investment is needed, it is clear that this will be 
based on the changes in demand for goods in both collectivist
and communist anarchism. As Guilliame puts it, <i>"[b]y means 
of statistics gathered from all the communes in a region, 
it will be possible to scientifically balance production and 
consumption. In line with these statistics, it will also be 
possible to add more help in industries where production is 
insufficient and reduce the number of men where there is a 
surplus of production."</i> [<b>Bakunin on Anarchism</b>, p. 370] 
Obviously, investment in branches of production with a high 
demand would be essential and this would be easily seen from 
the statistics generated by the collectives and communes. Tom 
Brown states this obvious point:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Goods, as now, will be produced in greater variety, for workers 
like producing different kinds, and new models, of goods. Now if 
some goods are unpopular, they will be left on the shelves. . . 
Of other goods more popular, the shops will be emptied. Surely 
it is obvious that the assistant will decrease his order of the 
unpopular line and increase his order of the popular."</i> 
[<b>Syndicalism</b>, p. 55]
</blockquote><p>
As a rule of thumb, syndicates that produce investment goods would 
be inclined to supply other syndicates who are experiencing excess 
demand before others, all other things being equal. Because of such 
guidelines and communication between producers, investment would 
go to those industries that actually required them. In other words,
customer choice (as indicated by individuals choosing between
the output of different syndicates) would generate information
that is relevant to investment decisions. 
<p>
As production would be decentralised as far as it is sensible and
rationale to do so, each locality/region would be able to understand 
its own requirements and apply them as it sees fit. This means that
large-scale planning would not be conducted (assuming that it
could work in practice, of course) simply because it would not
be needed.
<p>
This, combined with an extensive communications network, would 
ensure that investment not only did not duplicate unused plant 
within the economy but that investments take into account the 
specific problems and opportunities each locality has. Of course, 
collectives would experiment with new lines and technology as well 
as existing lines and so invest in new technologies and products. 
As occurs under capitalism, extensive consumer testing would
occur before dedicating major investment decisions to new products. 
<p>
In addition, investment decisions would also require information 
which showed the different outcomes of different options. By this 
we simply mean an analysis of how different investment projects 
relate to each other in terms of inputs and outputs, compared to 
the existing techniques. This would be in the form of cost-benefit 
analysis (as outlined in 
<a href="secI4.html#seci44">section I.4.4</a>) 
and would show when it 
would make economic, social and ecological sense to switch 
industrial techniques to more efficient and/or more empowering 
and/or more ecologically sound methods. Such an evaluation would
indicate levels of inputs and compare them to the likely
outputs. For example, if a new production technique reduced
the number of hours worked in total (comparing the hours
worked to produce the machinery with that reduced in using
it) as well as reducing waste products for a similar output,
then such a technique would be implemented.
<p>
Similarly with communities. A commune will obviously have to 
decide upon and plan civic investment (e.g. new parks, housing 
and so forth). They will also have the deciding say in industrial 
developments in their area as it would be unfair for syndicate to 
just decide to build a cement factory next to a housing co-operative 
if they did not want it. There is a case for arguing that the local 
commune will decide on investment decisions for syndicates in its 
area (for example, a syndicate may produce X plans which will be 
discussed in the local commune and 1 plan finalised from the 
debate). For regional decisions (for example, a new hospital) 
would be decided at the appropriate level, with information 
fed from the health syndicate and consumer co-operatives. The 
actual location for investment decisions will be worked out by 
those involved. However, local syndicates must be the focal 
point for developing new products and investment plans in 
order to encourage innovation.
<p>
Therefore, under social anarchism no capital market is required 
to determine whether investment is required and what form it 
would take. The work that apologists for capitalism claim 
currently is done by the stock market can be replaced by 
co-operation and communication between workplaces in a 
decentralised, confederated network. The relative needs of 
different consumers of a product can be evaluated by the 
producers and an informed decision reached on where it 
would best be used. 
<p>
Without a capital market, housing, workplaces and so on will no 
longer be cramped into the smallest space possible. Instead, housing, 
schools, hospitals, workplaces and so on will be built within a <i>"green"</i> 
environment. This means that human constructions will be placed within 
a natural setting and no longer stand apart from nature. In this way 
human life can be enriched and the evils of cramping as many humans 
and things into a small a space as is <i>"economical"</i> can be overcome.
<p>
In addition, the stock market is hardly the means by which capital 
is actually raised within capitalism. As Engler points out, 
<i>"[s]upporters of the system . . . claim that stock exchanges 
mobilise funds for business. Do they? When people buy and sell 
shares, 'no investment goes into company treasuries . . . Shares 
simply change hands for cash in endless repetition.' Company 
treasuries get funds only from new equity issues. These accounted 
for an average of a mere 0.5 per cent of shares trading in the US 
during the 1980s."</i> [<b>Apostles of Greed</b>, pp. 157-158] Indeed, 
Doug Henwood argues that <i>"the signals emitted by the stock market 
are either irrelevant or harmful to real economic activity, and 
that the stock market itself counts little or nothing as a source 
of finance. Shareholders . . . have no useful role."</i> [<b>Wall Street</b>, 
p. 292]
<p>
Moreover, the existence of a stock market has serious (negative) 
effects on investment. As Henwood notes, there <i>"are serious 
communication problems between managers and shareholders."</i> This 
is because <i>"[e]ven if participants are aware of an upward bias 
to earnings estimates [of companies], and even if they correct 
for it, managers would still have an incentive to try to fool 
the market. If you tell the truth, your accurate estimate
will be marked down by a sceptical market. So, it's entirely 
rational for managers to boost profits in the short term, either 
through accounting gimmickry or by making only investments with 
quick paybacks."</i> So, managers <i>"facing a market [the stock market] 
that is famous for its preference for quick profits today rather 
than patient long-term growth have little choice but to do its 
bidding. Otherwise, their stock will be marked down, and the 
firm ripe for takeover."</i> While <i>"[f]irms and economies can't 
get richer by starving themselves"</i> stock market investors <i>"can 
get richer when the companies they own go hungry -- at least 
in the short term. As for the long term, well, that's someone 
else's problem the week after next."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 171]
<p>
Ironically, this situation has a parallel with Stalinist central
planning. Under that system manager of State workplaces had an
incentive to lie about their capacity to the planning bureaucracy.
The planner would, in turn, assume higher capacity, so harming
honest managers and encouraging them to lie. This, of course, 
had a seriously bad impact on the economy. Unsurprisingly, the
similar effects caused by capital markets on economies subject
to them as just as bad, downplaying long term issues and investment.
<p>
And it hardly needs to be repeated that capitalism results in 
production being skewed away from the working class and that the 
<i>"efficiency"</i> of market allocation is highly suspect.
<p>
Only by taking investment decisions away from <i>"experts"</i> and placing 
it in the hands of ordinary people will current generations be able 
to invest according to their, and future generations', self-interest. 
It is hardly in our interest to have a institution whose aim is to 
make the wealthy even wealthier and on whose whims are dependent 
the lives of millions of people.
<p>
<a name="seci49"><h2>I.4.9 Should technological advance be seen as anti-anarchistic?</h2>
<p>
Not necessarily. This is because technology can allow us to <i>"do more 
with less,"</i> technological progress can improve standards of living for 
all people, and technologies can be used to increase personal freedom: 
medical technology, for instance, can free people from the scourges of 
pain, illness, and a <i>"naturally"</i> short life span; technology 
can be used to free labour from mundane chores associated with 
production; advanced communications technology can enhance our 
ability to freely associate. The list goes on and on. Therefore, 
most anarchists agree with Kropotkin when he pointed out that the 
<i>"development of [the industrial] technique at last gives man [sic!]
the opportunity to free himself from slavish toil."</i> [<b>Ethics</b>, p. 2]
<p>
For example, increased productivity under capitalism usually 
leads to further exploitation and domination, displaced workers, 
economic crisis, etc. But it does not have to in an anarchist 
world. By way of example, consider a commune in which all 
resources are distributed equally amongst the members. Let 
us say that this commune has 5 people who desire to be bakers 
(or 5 people are needed to work the communal bakery) and, for 
the sake of argument, 20 hours of production per person, per 
week is spent on baking bread for the local commune. Now, what 
happens if the introduction of automation, <b>as desired, planned 
and organised by the workers themselves</b>, reduces the amount 
of labour required for bread production to 15 person-hours 
per week, including the labour cost spent in creating and 
maintaining the new machinery? Clearly, no one stands to lose 
-- even if someone's work is <i>"displaced""</i>, that person will 
continue to receive the same resource income as before -- 
and they might even gain. This last is due to the fact that 
5 person-hours have been freed up from the task of bread 
production, and those person-hours may now be used elsewhere 
or converted to leisure, either way increasing each person's 
standard of living. 
<p>
Obviously, this happy outcome derives not only from the technology 
used, but also (and critically) from its use in an equitable 
economic and social system. Certainly, a wide variety of outcomes 
would be possible under alternative social systems. Yet, we have 
managed to prove our point: in the end, there is no reason why 
the use of technology cannot be used to empower people and 
increase their freedom! 
<p>
Of course technology can be used for oppressive ends. Human knowledge, 
like all things, can be used to increase freedom or to decrease it,
to promote inequality or reduce it, to aid the worker or to subjugate
them, and so on. Technology, as we argued in 
<a href="secD10.html">section D.10</a>, cannot be
considered in isolation from the society it is created and used in. 
In a hierarchical society, technology will be introduced that 
serves the interests of the powerful and helps marginalise and 
disempower the majority (<i>"technology is political,"</i> to use David 
Noble's expression), it does not evolve in isolation from human 
beings and the social relationships and power structures between
them. <i>"Capitalism has created,"</i> Cornelius Castoriadais correctly 
argued, <i>"a capitalist technology, for its <b>own</b> ends, which are by 
no means neutral. The real essence of capitalist technology is not 
to develop production for production's sake: it is to subordinate 
and dominate the producers."</i> This means that in an anarchist society, 
technology would have to be transformed and/or developed which 
empowered those who used it, so reducing any oppressive aspects 
of it. In the words of Cornelius Castoriadais, the <i>"conscious 
transformation of technology will . . . be a central task of a 
society of free workers."</i> [<b>Workers' Councils and the Economics 
of a Self-Managed Society</b>, p. 13]
<p>
However, as Kropotkin argued, we are (potentially) in a good position, 
because <i>"[f]or the first time in the history of civilisation, mankind 
has reached a point where the means of satisfying its needs are in excess 
of the needs themselves. To impose, therefore, as hitherto been done, 
the curse of misery and degradation upon vast divisions of mankind, 
in order to secure well-being and further development for the few, 
is needed no more: well-being can be secured for all, without 
placing on anyone the burden of oppressive, degrading toil and 
humanity can at last build its entire social life on the basis 
of justice."</i> [<b>Ethics</b>, p. 2] The question is, for most anarchists, 
how can we humanise and modify this technology and make it socially 
and individually liberatory, rather than destroying it (where
applicable, of course, certain forms of technology will probably
be eliminated due to their inherently destructive nature).
<p>
For Kropotkin, like most anarchists, the way to humanise technology
and industry was for <i>"the workers [to] lay hands on factories, 
houses and banks"</i> and so <i>"present production would be completely 
revolutionised by this simple fact."</i> This would be the start
of a process which would <b>integrate</b> industry and agriculture,
as it was <i>"essential that work-shops, foundries and factories
develop within the reach of the fields."</i> [<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>,
p. 190] Such a process would obviously involve the transformation
of both the structure and technology of capitalism rather than
its simple and unthinking application.
<p>
There is another reason for anarchists seeking to transform
rather then eliminate current technology. As Bakunin pointed 
out, <i>"to destroy. . . all the instruments of labour [i.e. 
technology and industry] . . . would be to condemn all humanity -- 
which is infinity too numerous today to exist. . . on the simple 
gifts of nature . . . -- to . . . death by starvation."</i> His solution 
to the question of technology was, like Kropotkin's, to place it 
at the service of those who use it, to create <i>"the intimate and 
complete union of capital and labour"</i>  so that it would <i>"not . . . 
remain concentrated in the hands of a separate, exploiting class."</i> 
Only this could <i>"smash the tyranny of capital."</i> [<b>The Basic Bakunin</b>, 
pp. 90-1] 
<p>
Thus, most anarchists seek to transform technology and industry 
rather than get rid of it totally.
<p>
Most anarchists are aware that <i>"Capital invested in machines that would 
re-enforce the system of domination [within the capitalist workplace], 
and this decision to invest, which might in the long run render the 
chosen technology economical, was not itself an economical decision but 
a political one, with cultural sanction."</i> [David Noble, <b>Progress Without 
People</b>, p. 6] But this does not change the fact that we need to be in 
possession of the means of production before we can decide what to keep, 
what to change and what to throw away as inhuman. In other words, it is 
not enough to get rid of the boss, although this is a necessary first step!
<p>
It is for these reasons that anarchists have held a wide range of 
opinions concerning the relationship between human knowledge and 
anarchism. Some, such as Peter Kropotkin, were themselves scientists 
and saw great potential for the use of advanced technology to expand 
human freedom. Others have held technology at arm's length, concerned 
about its oppressive uses, and a few have rejected science and technology 
completely. All of these are, of course, possible anarchist positions. 
But most anarchists support Kropotkin's viewpoint, but with a healthy 
dose of practical Luddism when viewing how technology is (ab)used in 
capitalism (<i>"The worker will only respect machinery <b>in the day</b> when 
it becomes his friend, shortening his work, rather than as <b>today,</b> 
his enemy, taking away jobs, killing workers."</i> [Emile Pouget quoted 
by David Noble, <b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 15]).
<p>
Anarchists of all types recognise the importance of critically 
evaluating technology, industry and so on. The first step of any 
revolution will be the seizing of the means of production. The 
second <b>immediate</b> step will be the start of their radical
transformation by those who use them and are affected by them
(i.e. communities, those who use the products they produce and
so on). Few, if any, anarchists seek to maintain the current
industrial set-up or apply, unchanged, capitalist technology.
We doubt that many of the workers who use that technology and
work in industry will leave either unchanged. Rather, they will
seek to liberate the technology they use from the influences of
capitalism, just as they liberated themselves. In Kropotkin's
words <i>"if most of the workshops we know are foul and unhealthy,
it is because the workers are of no account in the organisation
of factories"</i> and <i>"[s]laves can submit to them, but free
men will create new conditions, and their will be pleasant
and infinitely more productive."</i> [<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>,
p. 121 and p. 123] 
<p>
This will, of course, involve the shutting down (perhaps 
instantly or over a period of time) of many branches of 
industry and the abandonment of such technology which 
cannot be transformed into something more suitable for 
use by free individuals. And, of course, many workplaces 
will be transformed to produce new goods required to meet 
the needs of the revolutionary people or close due to 
necessity as a social revolution will disrupt the market 
for their goods -- such as producers of luxury export goods 
or suppliers of repressive equipment for state security 
forces. Altogether, a social revolution implies the
transformation of technology and industry, just as it
implies the transformation of society.
<p>
This process of transforming work can be seen from the Spanish
Revolution. Immediately after taking over the means of production,
the Spanish workers started to transform it. They eliminated
unsafe and unhygienic working conditions and workplaces and
created new workplaces based on safe and hygienic working 
conditions. Working practices were transformed as those 
who did the work (and so understood it) managed it. Many
workplaces were transformed to create products required by
the war effort (such as weapons, ammunition, tanks and so on)
and to produce consumer goods to meet the needs of the local 
population as the normal sources of such goods, as Kropotkin
predicted, were unavailable due to economic disruption and
isolation. Needless to say, these were only the beginnings 
of the process but they clearly point the way any libertarian 
social revolution would progress, namely the total transformation 
of work, industry and technology. Technological change would 
develop along new lines, ones which will take into account
human and ecological needs rather the power and profits of 
a minority.
<p>
Explicit in anarchism is the believe that capitalist and
statist methods cannot be used for socialist and libertarian
ends. In our struggle for workers' and community self-management
is the awareness that workplaces are not merely sites of
production -- they are also sites of <b>re</b>production, the
reproduction of certain social relationships based on
specific relations of authority between those who give
orders and those who take them. The battle to democratise
the workplace, to place the collective initiative of the
direct producers at the centre of any productive activity,
is clearly a battle to transform the workplace, the nature
of work and, by necessity, technology as well.
<p>
As Kropotkin argued, a <i>"revolution is more than a mere
change of the prevailing political system. It implies
the awakening of human intelligence, the increasing of
the inventive spirit tenfold, a hundredfold; it is the
dawn of a new science . . . It is a revolution in the
minds of men, as deep, and deeper still, than in their
institutions . . . the sole fact of having laid hands
on middle-class property will imply the necessity of
completely re-organising the whole of economic life
in the workplaces, the dockyards, the factories."</i> 
[<b>The Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 192] And some think that
industry and technology will remain unchanged by such
a process and that workers will continue doing the
same sort of work, in the same way, using the same
methods! 
<p>
For Kropotkin <i>"all production has taken a wrong direction, as 
it is not carried on with a view to securing well-being for all"</i> 
under capitalism. [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 101] Well-being for all obviously 
includes those who do the producing and so covers the structure 
of industry and the technological processes used. Similarly, 
well-being also includes a person's environment and surroundings 
and so technology and industry must be evaluated on an 
ecological basis. Thus Kropotkin supported the integration of 
agriculture and industry, with <i>"the factory and workshop at the 
gates of your fields and gardens."</i> These factories would be 
<i>"airy and hygienic, and consequently economical, factories in 
which human life is of more account than machinery and the making 
of extra profits."</i> [<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, 
p. 197]
<p>
Technological progress in an anarchist society, needless to say, 
will have to take into account these factors as well as others 
people think are relevant, otherwise the ideal of <i>"well-being for 
all"</i> is rejected.
<p>
Capitalism has developed many technologies, some of them harmful or 
dangerous, but those technologies do not develop by themselves. 
The technology of cheap solar power, for example, has scarcely 
moved at all because the capitalists have not chosen to invest in 
it. Chainsaws do not cut down rain forests, people do; and they do 
so because they have irresistible economic incentives to do so 
(whether they be capitalists who stand to make profits or workers 
who have no other way to survive). Until the economic system is 
abolished, these incentives will continue to drive technological
progress and change.
<p>
So, technology always partakes of and expresses the basic values of 
the social system in which it is embedded. If you have a system 
(capitalism) that alienates everything, it will naturally produce 
alienated forms of technology and it will orient those technologies 
so as to reinforce itself. As we argued in 
<a href="secD10.html">section D.10</a>, capitalists
will select technology which re-enforces their power and profits and
skew technological change in that direction rather than in those
which empower individuals and make the workplace more egalitarian.
<p>
This does not mean that we have to reject all technology and industry
because it has been shaped by, or developed within, class society.
Certain technologies are, of course, so insanely dangerous that they
will no doubt be brought to a prompt halt in any sane society. Similarly,
certain forms of technology and industrial process will be impossible
to transform as they are inherently designed for oppressive ends. 
Many other industries which produce absurd, obsolete or superfluous
commodities will, of course, cease automatically with the disappearance 
of their commercial or social rationales. But many technologies, however 
they may presently be misused, have few if any inherent drawbacks. They
could be easily adapted to other uses. When people free themselves from 
domination, they will have no trouble rejecting those technologies that 
are harmful while adapting others to beneficial uses. 
<p>
So if it is true that technology reflects the society which creates it, 
then technology cannot be inherently bad. A liberated, non-exploitative 
society will naturally create liberating, non-exploitative technologies, 
just as the present alienated social system naturally produces alienated 
forms (or uses) of technology. 
<p>
Does this argument mean that most anarchists are against the <i>"abolition
of work"</i>? No, unless you confuse all kinds of productive activity with
work. It always takes some <i>"work"</i> to create a product (even only if it
is food) but that work does not necessarily have to be wage labour or
otherwise alienated or subject to domination and hierarchy. A life 
without dead time does not mean a life where you never have to move a 
muscle or use your head. 
<p>
And, of course, different communities and different regions would choose 
different priorities and different lifestyles. As the CNT's 
Zaragoza resolution on libertarian communism made clear, <i>"those 
communes which reject industrialisation . . . may agree upon a 
different model of co-existence."</i> Using the example of <i>"naturists 
and nudists,"</i> it argues that they <i>"will be entitled to an autonomous 
administration released from the general commitments"</i> agreed by the 
communes and their federations and <i>"their delegates to congresses of 
the . . . Confederation of Autonomous Libertarian Communes will be 
empowered to enter into economic contacts with other agricultural 
and industrial Communes."</i> [quoted by Jose Peirats, <b>The CNT in the 
Spanish Revolution</b>, vol. 1, p. 106]
<p>
(See Ken Knabb's <b>The Poverty of Primitivism</b> for more details
-- we have extracted some of the above arguuments from this
excellent text).
<p>
All this means, of course, that technological progress is not neutral
but dependent on who makes the decisions. As David Noble argues,
<i>"[t]echnological determinism, the view that machines make history
rather than people, is not correct . . . If social changes now
upon us seem necessary, it is because they follow not from any
disembodied technological logic, but form a social logic."</i> 
Technology conforms to <i>"the interests of power"</i> but as 
<i>"technological process is a social process"</i> then <i>"it is,
like all social processes, marked by conflict and struggle,
and the outcome, therefore, is always ultimately indeterminate."</i> 
Viewing technological development <i>"as a social process rather
than as an autonomous, transcendent, and deterministic force
can be liberating . . . because it opens up a realm of
freedom too long denied. It restores people once again to
their proper role as subjects of the story, rather than mere
pawns of technology . . . And technological development itself,
now seen as a social construct, becomes a new variable rather
than a first cause, consisting of a range of possibilities and
promising a multiplicity of futures."</i> [<b>Forces of Production</b>,
pp. 324-5]
<p>
Change society and the technology introduced and utilised will 
likewise change. By viewing technological progress as a new
variable, dependent on those who make the decisions and the
type of society they live in, allows us to see that technological
development is not inherently anti-anarchist. A non-oppressive,
non-exploitative, ecological society will develop non-oppressive, 
non-exploitative, ecological technology just as capitalism has 
developed technology which facilitates exploitation, oppression
and environmental destruction. Thus an anarchist questions 
technology: The best technology? Best for whom? Best for what? 
Best according to what criteria, what visions, according to 
whose criteria and whose visions?
<p>
For most anarchists, technological advancement is important 
in a free society in order to maximise the free time available 
for everyone and replace mindless toil with meaningful work. The 
means of doing so is the use of <b>appropriate</b> technology (and 
<b>not</b> the worship of technology as such). Only by critically 
evaluating technology and introducing such forms which empower, 
are understandable and are controllable by individuals and 
communities as well as minimising ecological distribution (in 
other words, what is termed appropriate technology) can this 
be achieved. Only this critical approach to technology can do 
justice to the power of the human mind and reflect the creative 
powers which developed the technology in the first place. 
Unquestioning acceptance of technological progress is just 
as bad as being unquestioningly anti-technology.
<p>
Whether technological advance is a good thing or sustainable depends on 
the choices we make, and on the social, political, and economic systems we 
use. We live in a universe that contains effectively infinite resources 
of matter and energy, yet at the moment we are stuck on a planet whose 
resources can only be stretched so far. Anarchists (and others) differ as 
to their assessments of how much development the earth can take, and of the 
best course for future development, but there's no reason to believe that
advanced technological societies per se cannot be sustained into the 
foreseeable future if they are structured and used properly. 
<p>
<a name="seci410"><h2>I.4.10 What would be the advantage of a wide basis of surplus distribution?</h2>
<p>
We noted earlier (in 
<a href="secH7.html">section H.7</a>) that competition between syndicates 
can lead to <i>"petty-bourgeois co-operativism,"</i> and that to eliminate 
this problem, the basis of collectivisation needs to be widened so that 
surpluses are distributed industry-wide or even society-wide. We also 
pointed out another advantage of a wide surplus distribution: that it 
allows for the consolidation of enterprises that would otherwise compete, 
leading to a more efficient allocation of resources and technical 
improvements. Here we will back up this claim with illustrations 
from the Spanish Revolution. 
<p>
Collectivisation in Catalonia embraced not only major industries like
municipal transportation and utilities, but smaller establishments as
well: small factories, artisan workshops, service and repair shops, etc. 
Augustin Souchy describes the process as follows:  
<p><blockquote>
<i>"The artisans and small workshop owners, together with their employees 
and apprentices, often joined the union of their trade. By consolidating 
their efforts and pooling their resources on a fraternal basis, the shops 
were able to undertake very big projects and provide services on a much 
wider scale . . . The collectivisation of the hairdressing shops provides 
an excellent example of how the transition of a small-scale manufacturing 
and service industry from capitalism to socialism was achieved."</i> 
<p>
<i>"Before July 19th, 1936 [the date of the Revolution], there were 1,100
hairdressing parlours in Barcelona, most of them owned by poor wretches
living from hand to mouth. The shops were often dirty and ill-maintained. 
The 5,000 hairdressing assistants were among the most poorly paid 
workers. . . Both owners and assistants therefore voluntarily decided 
to socialise all their shops. 
<p>
<i>"How was this done?  All the shops simply joined the union. At a general
meeting they decided to shut down all the unprofitable shops. The 1,100
shops were reduced to 235 establishments, a saving of 135,000 pesetas 
per month in rent, lighting, and taxes. The remaining 235 shops were
modernised and elegantly outfitted. From the money saved, wages were 
increased by 40%. Everyone having the right to work and everyone
received the same wages. The former owners were not adversely affected 
by socialisation. They were employed at a steady income. All worked 
together under equal conditions and equal pay. The distinction 
between employers and employees was obliterated and they were 
transformed into a working community of equals -- socialism from 
the bottom up."</i> ["Collectivisations in Catalonia,"</i> in Sam Dolgoff, 
<b>The Anarchist Collectives</b>, pp. 93-94]
</blockquote><p>
Therefore, co-operation ensures that resources are efficiently allocated
and waste is minimised by cutting down needless competition. As consumers
have choices in which syndicate to consume from as well as having direct
communication between consumer co-operatives and productive units, there
is little danger that rationalisation in production will hurt the interests
of the consumer.
<p>
Another way in which wide distribution of surplus can be advantageous
is in investment and research and development. By creating a fund for
research and development which is independent of the fortunes of
individual syndicates, society as a whole can be improved by access
to useful new technologies and processes.
<p>
Therefore, in a libertarian-socialist society, people (both within the 
workplace and in communities) are likely to decide to allocate significant 
amounts of resources for basic research from the available social output. 
This is because the results of this research would be freely available to 
all enterprises and so would aid everyone in the long term. In addition, 
because workers directly control their workplace and the local community 
effectively <i>"owns"</i> it, all affected would have an interest in exploring 
research which would reduce labour, pollution, raw materials and so on 
or increase output with little or no social impact.
<p>
This means that research and innovation would be in the direct interests of
everyone involved. Under capitalism, this is not the case. Most research
is conducted in order to get an edge in the market by increasing productivity
or expanding production into new (previously unwanted) areas. Any increased
productivity often leads to unemployment, deskilling and other negative
effects for those involved. Libertarian socialism will not face this problem.
<p>
It should also be mentioned here that research would be pursued more and
more as people take an increased interest in both their own work and 
education. As people become liberated from the grind of everyday life,
they will explore possibilities as their interests take them and so
research will take place on many levels within society - in the workplace,
in the community, in education and so on.
<p>
In addition, it should be noted that basic research is not something which
capitalism does well. The rise of the Pentagon system in the USA indicates 
that basic research often needs state support in order to be successful. 
As Kenneth Arrow noted over thirty years ago that market forces are 
insufficient to promote basic research:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Thus basic research, the output of which is only used as an informational
input into other inventive activities, is especially unlikely to be
rewarded. In fact, it is likely to be of commercial value to the firm
undertaking it only if other firms are prevented from using the
information. But such restriction reduces the efficiency of inventive
activity in general, and will therefore reduce its quantity also."</i> 
["Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Inventiveness,"</i> 
in National Bureau of Economic Research, <b>The Rate and Direction of
Inventive Activity</b>, p. 618]
</blockquote><p>
Would modern society have produced so many innovations if it had 
not been for the Pentagon system, the space race and so on? Take 
the Internet, for example -- it is unlikely that this would have 
got off the ground if it had not been for the state. Needless to
say, of course, much of this technology has been developed for
evil reasons and purposes and would be in need of drastic change
(and, in many cases, abolition) before it could be used in a
libertarian society. However, the fact remains that it is unlikely
that a pure market based system could have generated most of the
technology we take for granted. As Noam Chomsky argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"[Alan] Greenspan [head of the US Federal Reserve] gave a talk
to newspaper editors in the US. He spoke passionately about the
miracles of the market, the wonders brought by consumer choice,
and so on. He also gave examples: the Internet, computers, 
information processing, lasers, satellites, transistors. It's
an interesting list: these are textbook examples of creativity
and production in the public sector. In the case of the Internet,
for 30 years it was designed, developed and funded primarily
in the public sector, mostly the Pentagon, then the National
Science Foundation -- that's most of the hardware, the software,
new ideas, technology, and so on. In just the last couple of
years it has been handed over to people like Bill Gates . . .
In the case of the Internet, consumer choice was close to
zero, and during the crucial development stages that same was
true of computers, information processing, and all the rest . . .
<p>
"In fact, of all the examples that Greenspan gives, the only
one that maybe rises above the level of a joke is transistors,
and they are an interesting case. Transistors, in fact, were 
developed in a private laboratory -- Bell Telephone Laboratories
of AT&T -- which also made major contributions to solar cells,
radio astronomy, information theory, and lots of other
important things. But what is the role of markets and
consumer choice in that? Well, again, it turns out, zero.
AT&T was a government supported monopoly, so there was no
consumer choice, and as a monopoly they could charge high
prices: in effect a tax on the public which they could use
for institutions like Bell Laboratories . . . So again, it's
publicly subsidised. As if to demonstrate the point, as
soon as the industry was deregulated, Bell Labs went out of
existence, because the public wasn't paying for it any more
. . . But that's only the beginning of the story. True,
Bell invented transistors, but they used wartime technology,
which, again, was publicly subsidised and state-initiated.
Furthermore, there was nobody to but transistors at that
time, because they were very expensive to produce. So, for
ten years the government was the major procurer . . .
Government procurement provided entrepreneurial initiatives
and guided the development of the technology, which could
then be disseminated to industry."</i> [<b>Rogue States</b>, 
pp. 192-3]
</blockquote><p>
As well as technological developments, a wide basis of surplus
generation would help improve the skills and knowledge of the
members of a community. As Keynesian economist Michael Stewart
points out, <i>"[t]here are both theoretical and empirical reasons 
to suppose that market forces under-provide research and development 
expenditures, as well as both education and training."</i> [<b>Keynes
in the 1990s</b>, p. 77]
<p>
If we look at vocational training and education, a wide basis
of surplus distribution would aid this no end. Under free market
capitalism, vocational training suffers due to the nature of
the market. The argument is simple. Under free market capitalism,
if companies stood to gain, in terms of higher profits, from
training more workers, they would train them. If they did not,
that just proves that training was not required. Unfortunately,
this piece of reasoning overlooks the fact that profit
maximising firms will not incur costs that will be enjoyed
by others. This means that firms will be reluctant to spend
money on training if they fear that the trained workers
will soon be poached by other firms which can offer more money
because they had not incurred the cost of providing training.
This means that few firms will provide the required training
as they could not be sure that the trained workers will not
leave for their competitors (and, of course, a trained work
force also, due to their skill, have more workplace power and
are less replaceable).
<p>
By socialising training via confederations of workplaces,
syndicates could increase productivity via increasing the
skill levels of their members. Higher skill levels will
also tend to increase innovation and enjoyment at <i>"work"</i> 
when combined with workers' self-management. This is because
an educated workforce in control of their own time will be
unlikely to tolerate mundane, boring, machine-like work
and seek ways to eliminate it, improve the working environment
and increase productivity to give them more free time.
<p>
The free market can also have a negative impact on innovation.
This is because, in order to please shareholders with higher 
share prices, companies may reduce funds available for real 
investment and R&D, which would also depress growth and 
employment in the long term. What shareholders might condemn 
as <i>"uneconomic"</i> (investment projects and R&D) can, and does, 
make society as a whole better off. However, these gains are 
over the long term and, within capitalism, it is short-term 
gains which count. Higher share prices in the here and now 
are essential in order to survive and so see the long-run.
<p>
In a more socialised economy, wide-scale collectivisation
could aid in allocating resources for Research and Development,
long term investment, innovation and so on. Via the use of
mutual banks or confederations of syndicates and communes,
resources could be allocated which take into account the
importance of long-term priorities, as well as social costs, 
which are not taken into account (indeed, are beneficial to 
ignore) under capitalism. Rather than penalise long term investment 
and research and development, a socialised economy would ensure 
that adequate funds are available, something which would benefit 
everyone in society in some way.
<p>
In addition to work conducted by syndicates, education establishments,
communes and so on, it would be essential to provide resources
for individuals and small groups to pursue <i>"pet projects."</i> Of
course, syndicates and confederations will have their own research 
institutions but the innovatory role of the interested <i>"amateur"</i> 
cannot be over-rated. As Kropotkin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"What is needed to promote the spirit of innovation is . . . the
awakening of thought, the boldness of conception, which our
entire education causes to languish; it is the spreading of a
scientific education, which would increase the numbers of
inquirers a hundred-fold; it is faith that humanity is going to
take a step forward, because it is enthusiasm, the hope of doing
good, that has inspired all the great inventors. The Social
Revolution alone can give this impulse to thought, this boldness,
this knowledge, this conviction of working for all.
<p>
"Then we shall have vast institutes . . . immense industrial
laboratories open to all inquirers, where men will be able to
work out their dreams, after having acquitted themselves of
their duty towards society; . . . where they will make their
experiments; where they will find other comrades, experts in
other branches of industry, likewise coming to study some
difficult problem, and therefore able to help and enlighten
each other -- the encounter of their ideas and experiences
causing the longed-for solution to be found."</i> [<b>The Conquest
of Bread</b>, p. 117]
</blockquote><p>
In addition, unlike under capitalism, where inventors often
<i>"carefully hide their inventions from each other, as they
are hampered by patents and Capitalism -- that bane of present
society, that stumbling-block in the path of intellectual
and moral progress,"</i> inventors within a free society will be
able to build upon the knowledge of everyone and past generations.
Rather than hide knowledge from others, in case they get a
competitive advantage, knowledge would be shared, enriching all
involved as well as the rest of society [<b>Ibid.</b>]. As John O'Neil
argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"There is, in a competitive market economy, a disincentive to
communicate information. The market encourages secrecy, which
is inimical to openness in science. It presupposes a view of
property in which the owner has rights to exclude others. In 
the sphere of science, such rights of exclusion place limits 
on the communication of information and theories which are
incompatible with the growth of knowledge . . . science tends 
to grow when communication is open. . . [In addition a] necessary
condition for the acceptability of a theory or experimental
result is that it pass the public, critical scrutiny of
competent scientific judges. A private theory or result 
is one that is shielded from the criteria of scientific 
acceptability."</i> [<b>The Market</b>, p. 153]  
</blockquote><p>
Thus socialisation would aid innovation and scientific development.
This is two fold, by providing the necessary resources for such
work and by providing the community spirit required to push the
boundaries of science forward.
<p>
Lastly, there is the issue of those who cannot work and general 
provision of public goods. With a wide distribution to surplus,
communal hospitals, schools, universities and so on can be
created. This simple fact is that any society has members who
cannot (indeed, should not) work. For example, the young, the
old and the sick. In a mutualist society, particularly an
Individualist Anarchists mutualist society, there is no real
provision for these individuals unless someone (a family member
or friend) provides them with the money required for hospital
fees and so on. However, with a communal basis for distribution
every member of the commune can receive an education, health
care and so on as a right -- and so live a fully human life
as a right, rather than a privilege. Moreover, the experience
of capitalist countries suggests that socialising, say, health
care, leads to a service with lower costs than one which is
predominately privatised. For example, the administrative costs 
of the British National Health Service are a fraction of the U.S. 
or Chilean systems (where a sizeable percentage of income ends
up as profit rather than as health care).
<p>
This tendency for the use of surplus for communal services
(such as hospitals and education) can be seen from the
Spanish Revolution. Many collectives funded new hospitals
and colleges for their members, providing hundreds of 
thousands with services they could never have afforded by
their own labour. This is a classic example of co-operation
helping the co-operators achieve far more than they could
by their own isolated activities.
<p>
<a name="seci411"><h2>I.4.11 If libertarian socialism eliminates the profit motive, won't 
       creativity and performance suffer?</h2>
<p>
Firstly, just to be totally clear, by the profit motive we mean
money profit. As anarchists consider co-operation to be in our
self-interest -- i.e. we will <i>"profit"</i> from it in the widest 
sense possible -- we are <b>not</b> dismissing the fact people usually
act to improve their situation. However, money profit is a <b>very</b>
narrow form of <i>"self-interest,"</i> indeed so narrow as to be positively
harmful to the individual in many ways (in terms of personal 
development, interpersonal relationships, economic and social
well-being, and so on). In other words, do not take our discussion
in this section of the FAQ on the <i>"profit motive"</i> to imply a denial
of self-interest, quite the reverse. Anarchists simply reject the
<i>"narrow concept of life which consist[s] in thinking that <b>profits</b>
are the only leading motive of human society."</i> [Peter Kropotkin,
<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, p. 25]
<p>
Secondly, we cannot hope to deal fully with the harmful effects
of competition and the profit motive. For more information, we
recommend Aflie Kohn's <b>No Contest: The Case Against Competition</b>
and <b>Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive
Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes</b>. He documents the extensive
evidence accumulated that disproves the <i>"common sense"</i> of
capitalism that competition and profits are the best way to
organise a society.
<p>
According to Alfie Kohn, a growing body of psychological research 
suggests that rewards can lower performance levels, especially 
when the performance involves creativity. [<i>"Studies Find Reward 
Often No Motivator,"</i> <b>Boston Globe</b>, Monday 19 January 1987]
Kohn notes that <i>"a related series of studies shows that intrinsic 
interest in a task -- the sense that something is worth doing for 
its own sake -- typically declines when someone is rewarded for 
doing it."</i>  
<p>
Much of the research on creativity and motivation has been 
performed by Theresa Amabile, associate professor of psychology 
at Brandeis University. One of her recent experiments involved 
asking elementary school and college students to make <i>"silly"</i> 
collages. The young children were also asked to invent stories. 
Teachers who rated the projects found that those students who 
had contracted for rewards did the least creative work. <i>"It 
may be that commissioned work will, in general, be less
creative than work that is done out of pure interest,"</i> 
Amabile says. In 1985, she asked 72 creative writers at 
Brandeis and at Boston University to write poetry:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Some students then were given a list of
extrinsic (external) reasons for writing, such as impressing teachers,
making money and getting into graduate school, and were asked to think
about their own writing with respect to these reasons. Others were given
a list of intrinsic reasons:  the enjoyment of playing with words,
satisfaction from self-expression, and so forth. A third group was not
given any list. All were then asked to do more writing.
<p>
"The results were clear. Students given the extrinsic reasons not only
wrote less creatively than the others, as judged by 12 independent poets,
but the quality of their work dropped significantly. Rewards, Amabile
says, have this destructive effect primarily with creative tasks,
including higher-level problem-solving. 'The more complex the activity,
the more it's hurt by extrinsic reward, she said.'"</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
</blockquote><p>
In another study, by James Gabarino of Chicago's Erikson Institute for
Advanced Studies in Child Development, it was found that girls in the
fifth and sixth grades tutored younger children much less effectively if
they were promised free movie tickets for teaching well. <i>"The study, 
showed that tutors working for the reward took longer to communicate
ideas, got frustrated more easily, and did a poorer job in the end than
those who were not rewarded"</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>]
<p>
Such studies cast doubt on the claim that financial reward is the only
effective way -- or even the best way -- to motivate people. As Kohn
notes, <i>"[t]hey also challenge the behaviourist assumption that any activity
is more likely to occur if it is rewarded."</i>  Amabile concludes that her
research <i>"definitely refutes the notion that creativity can be operantly
conditioned."</i> 
<p>
These findings re-enforce the findings of other scientific fields. 
Biology, social psychology, ethnology and anthropology all present 
evidence that support co-operation as the natural basis for human 
interaction. For example, ethnological studies indicate that 
virtually all indigenous cultures operate on the basis of 
highly co-operative relationships and anthropologists have 
presented evidence to show that the predominant force driving 
early human evolution was co-operative social interaction, leading 
to the capacity of hominids to develop culture. This is even
sinking into capitalism, with industrial psychology now promoting 
<i>"worker participation"</i> and team functioning because it is decisively 
more productive than hierarchical management. More importantly, the 
evidence shows that co-operative workplaces are more productive 
than those organised on other principles. All other things equal, 
producers' co-operatives will be more efficient than capitalist 
or state enterprises, on average. Co-operatives can often achieve 
higher productivity even when their equipment and conditions are 
worse. Furthermore, the better the organisation approximates the 
co-operative ideal, the better the productivity.
<p>
All this is unsurprising to social anarchists (and it should make 
individualist anarchists reconsider their position). Peter Kropotkin 
argued that, <i>"[i]f we . . . ask Nature: 'Who are the fittest: those 
who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one 
another?' we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of 
mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest. They have more chances to 
survive, and they attain, in their respective classes, the highest 
development of intelligence and bodily organisation."</i> [<b>Mutual Aid</b>, 
p. 24] From his observation that mutual aid gives evolutionary 
advantage to those who practice it, he derived his political 
philosophy -- a philosophy which stressed community and 
co-operative endeavour.
<p>
Modern research has reinforced his argument. For example, as noted, 
Alfie Kohn is also the author of <b>No Contest: The Case Against 
Competition</b> and he spent seven years reviewing more than 400 
research studies dealing with competition and co-operation. Prior 
to his investigation, he believed that <i>"competition can be natural 
and appropriate and healthy."</i> After reviewing research findings, 
he radically revised this opinion, concluding that, the <i>"ideal 
amount of competition . . . in any environment, the classroom, 
the workplace, the family, the playing field, is none . . . 
[Competition] is always destructive."</i> [<b>Noetic Sciences Review</b>, 
Spring 1990]
<p>
Here we present a very short summary of his findings. According to 
Kohn, there are three principle consequences of competition:
<p>
Firstly, it has a negative effect on productivity and excellence. 
This is due to increased anxiety, inefficiency (as compared to 
co-operative sharing of resources and knowledge), and the 
undermining of inner motivation. Competition shifts the focus 
to victory over others, and away from intrinsic motivators 
such as curiosity, interest, excellence, and social interaction. 
Studies show that co-operative behaviour, by contrast, consistently
predicts good performance--a finding which holds true under a wide 
range of subject variables. Interestingly, the positive benefits 
of co-operation become more significant as tasks become more 
complex, or where greater creativity and problem-solving 
ability is required (as indicated above).
<p>
Secondly, competition lowers self-esteem and hampers the 
development of sound, self-directed individuals. A strong 
sense of self is difficult to attain when self-evaluation 
is dependent on seeing how we measure up to others. On the 
other hand, those whose identity is formed in relation to 
how they contribute to group efforts generally possess greater 
self-confidence and higher self-esteem.
<p>
Finally, competition undermines human relationships. Humans are 
social beings; we best express our humanness in interaction with 
others. By creating winners and losers, competition is destructive 
to human unity and prevents close social feeling. 
<p>
Social Anarchists have long argued these points. In the competitive 
mode, people work at cross purposes, or purely for (material) 
personal gain. This leads to an impoverishment of society and 
hierarchy, with a lack of communal relations that result in an 
impoverishment of all the individuals involved (mentally, 
spiritually, ethically and, ultimately, materially). This not 
only leads to a weakening of individuality and social disruption, 
but also to economic inefficiency as energy is wasted in class 
conflict and invested in building bigger and better cages to 
protect the haves from the have-nots. Instead of creating useful 
things, human activity is spent in useless toil reproducing an 
injustice and authoritarian system.
<p>
All in all, the results of competition (as documented by a host of 
scientific disciplines) shows its poverty as well as indicating that 
co-operation is the means by which the fittest survive.
<p>
Moreover, as Kohn discusses in <b>Punished by Rewards</b>, the 
notion that material rewards result in better work is
simply not true. Basing itself on simple behavourist 
psychology, such arguments fail to meet the test of long-term
success (and, indeed, can be counter-productive). Indeed, it
means treating human beings as little better that pets or
other animals (he argues that it is <i>"not an accident that
the theory behind 'Do this and you'll get that' derives 
from work with other species, or that behaviour management
is frequently described in words better suited to animals."</i>)
In other words, it <i>"is by its very nature dehumanising."</i> 
[<b>Punished by Rewards</b>, p. 24 and p. 25]
<p>
Rather than simply being motivated by outside stimuli like
mindless robots, people are not passive. We are <i>"beings
who possess natural curiosity about ourselves and our
environment, who search for and overcome challenges, who
try and master skills and attain competence, and who seek
new levels of complexity in what we learn and do . . . 
in general we act on the environment as much as we are
acted on by it, and we do not do so simply in order to
receive a reward."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 25]
<p>
Kohn presents extensive evidence to back upon his case that
rewards harm activity and individuals. We cannot do justice
to it here. We will present a few examples. One study with
college students showed that those paid to work on a puzzle
<i>"spent less time on it than those who hadn't been paid"</i> when
they were given a choice of whether to work on it or not.
<i>"It appeared that working for a reward made people less
interested in the task."</i> Another study with children
showed that <i>"extrinsic rewards reduce intrinsic motivation."</i> 
Scores of other studies confirmed this. This is because
a reward is effectively saying that a given activity is
not worth doing for its own sake -- and why would anyone
wish to do something they have to be bribed to do?
[<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 70 and p. 71]
<p>
In the workplace, a similar process goes on. Kohn presents
extensive evidence to show that extrinsic motivation also
does not work in the workplace. Indeed, he argues that
<i>"economists have it wrong if they think of work as a
'disutility' -- something unpleasant we must do in order
to be able to buy what we need, merely a means to an
end."</i> Kohn stresses that <i>"to assume that money is what drives
people is to adopt an impoverished understanding of human
motivation."</i> Moreover, <i>"the risk of <b>any</b> incentive or 
pay-for-performance system is that it will make people
less interested in their work and therefore less likely
to approach it with enthusiasm and a commitment to
excellence. Furthermore, <b>the more closely we tie
compensation (or other rewards) to performance, the
most damage we do.</b>"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 131, p. 134 and 
p. 140]
<p>
Kohn argues that the idea that human's will only work for profit
or rewards <i>"can be fairly described as dehumanising"</i> if
<i>"the capacity for responsible action, the natural love of
learning, and the desire to do good work are already part
of who we are."</i> Also, it is <i>"a way of trying to control
people"</i> and so to <i>"anyone who is troubled by a model of
human relationships founded principally on the idea of
one person controlling another must ponder whether rewards
are as innocuous as they are sometimes made out to be."</i> 
He uses the example of a workplace, where <i>"there is no
getting around the fact that 'the basic purpose of merit
pay is manipulative.' One observer more bluntly characterises
incentives as 'demeaning' since the message they really
convey is, 'Please big daddy boss and you will receive the
rewards that the boss deems appropriate.'"</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 26]
<p>
Given that much work is controlled by others and can
be a hateful experience under capitalism does not mean
that it has to be that way. Clearly, even under wage
slavery most workers can and do find work interesting
and seek to do it well -- not because of possible rewards
or punishment but because we seek meaning in our activities
and try and do them well. Given that research shows that
reward orientated work structures harm productivity and
excellence, social anarchists have more than just hope
to base their ideas. Such research confirms Kropotkin's
comments:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Wage-work is serf-work; it cannot, it must not, produce 
all it could produce. And it is high time to disbelieve
the legend which presents wagedom as the best incentive
to productive work. If industry nowadays brings in a 
hundred times more than it did in the days of our
grandfathers, it is due to the sudden awakening of
physical and chemical sciences towards the end of the
[18th] century; not to the capitalist organisation of
wagedom, but <b>in spite</b> of that organisation."</i> [<b>The
Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 150]
</blockquote><p>
For these reasons, social anarchists are confident that the 
elimination of the profit motive within the context of 
self-management will not harm productivity and creativity, 
but rather <b>enhance</b> them (within an authoritarian system 
in which workers enhance the power and income of bureaucrats, 
we can expect different results). With the control of their
own work and workplaces ensured, all working people can
express their abilities to the full. This will see an
explosion of creativity and initiative, not a reduction.
<p>
<a name="seci412"><h2>I.4.12 Won't there be a tendency for capitalist enterprise to reappear 
       in any socialist society?</h2>
<p>
This is a common right-libertarian objection. Robert Nozick, for 
example, imagines the following scenario:  
<p><blockquote>
<i>"[S]mall factories would spring up in a socialist society, unless 
forbidden. I melt some of my personal possessions and build a machine 
out of the material. I offer you and others a philosophy lecture once 
a week in exchange for yet other things, and so on . . . some persons 
might even want to leave their jobs in socialist industry and work 
full time in this private sector. . . [This is] how private property 
even in means of production would occur in a socialist society."</i>   
</blockquote><p>
Hence Nozick claims that <i>"the socialist society will have to forbid 
capitalist acts between consenting adults."</i> [<b>Anarchy, State and Utopia</b>, 
pp. 162-3]
<p>
As Jeff Stein points out, however, <i>"the only reason workers want to be
employed by capitalists is because they have no other means for making 
a living, no access to the means of production other than by selling
themselves. For a capitalist sector to exist there must be some form 
of private ownership of productive resources, and a scarcity of
alternatives. The workers must be in a condition of economic desperation
for them to be willing to give up an equal voice in the management of
their daily affairs and accept a boss."</i> [<i>"Market Anarchism?  Caveat
Emptor!"</i>, a review of  <b>A Structured Anarchism : An Overview of
Libertarian Theory and Practice</b> by John Griffin, <b>Libertarian 
Labour Review</b> #13, Winter 1992-93, pp. 33-39] 
<p>
In an anarchist society, there is no need for anyone to <i>"forbid"</i> 
capitalist acts. All people have to do is <b>refrain</b> from helping 
would-be capitalists set up monopolies of productive assets. 
This is because, as we have noted in 
<a href="secB3.html#secb32">section B.3.2</a>, capitalism 
cannot exist without some form of state to protect such monopolies. 
In a libertarian-socialist society, of course, there would be no 
state to begin with, and so there would be no question of it 
<i>"refraining"</i> from doing anything, including protecting would-be 
capitalists' monopolies of the means of production. In other
words, would-be capitalists would face stiff competition for 
workers in an anarchist society. This is because self-managed 
workplaces would be able to offer workers more benefits (such 
as self-government, better working conditions, etc.) than the 
would-be capitalist ones. The would-be capitalists would have 
to offer not only excellent wages and conditions but also, in 
all likelihood, workers' control and hire-purchase on capital 
used. The chances of making a profit once the various monopolies 
associated with capitalism are abolished are slim.
<p>
It should be noted that Nozick makes a serious error in his case. 
He assumes that the <i>"use rights"</i> associated with an anarchist (i.e. 
socialist) society are identical to the <i>"property rights"</i> of a 
capitalist one. This is <b>not</b> the case, and so his argument is 
weakened and loses its force. Simply put, there is no such thing 
as an absolute or <i>"natural"</i> law of property. As John Stuart Mill 
pointed out, <i>"powers of exclusive use and control are very various, 
and differ greatly in different countries and in different states of 
society."</i> [<i>"Chapters on Socialism,"</i> <b>Principles of Political Economy</b>, 
p. 432] Therefore, Nozick slips an ideological ringer into his example 
by erroneously interpreting socialism (or any other society for that 
matter) as specifying a distribution of private property rights (like 
those he, and other supporters of capitalism, believes in) along with 
the wealth. As Mill argued, <i>"[o]ne of the mistakes oftenest committed,
and which are the sources of the greatest practical errors in human
affairs, is that of supposing that the same name always stands for
the same aggregation of ideas. No word has been subject of more of
this kind of misunderstanding that the word property."</i> [<b>Ibid.</b>] 
Unfortunately, this errors seems particularly common with right-wing
libertarians, who assume any use of the word <i>"property"</i> means what
they mean by the word (this error reaches ridiculous levels when it
comes to their co-option of the Individualist Anarchists based on
this error!).
<p>
In other words, Nozick assumes that in <b>all</b> societies property rights 
must replace use rights in both consumption <b>and</b> production (an 
assumption that is ahistorical in the extreme). As Cheyney C. Ryan 
comments, <i>"[d]ifferent conceptions of justice differ not only in how 
they would apportion society's holdings but in what rights individuals 
have over their holdings once they have been apportioned."</i> [<i>"Property 
Rights and Individual Liberty"</i>, in <b>Reading Nozick</b>, p. 331]  
<p>
In effect, what possessions someone holds within a libertarian 
socialist society will not be his or her property (in the capitalist 
sense) any more than a company car is the property of the employee under 
capitalism. This means that as long as an individual remained a member of
a commune and abided by the rules they helped create in that commune
then they would have full use of the resources of that commune and 
could use their possessions as they saw fit (even <i>"melt them down"</i> 
to create a new machine, or whatever). Such lack of <b>absolute</b>
<i>"ownership"</i> does not reduce liberty any more than the employee and the 
company car he or she uses (bar destruction and selling it, the employee 
can use it as they see fit).
<p>
This point highlights another flaw in Nozick's argument. If his argument
is true, then it applies equally to capitalist society. For 40 hours plus a
week, workers are employed by a boss. In that time they are given resources
to use, under instructions of their boss. They are most definitely <b>not</b>
allowed to melt down these resources to create a machine or use the resources
they have been given access to further their own plans. In other words, 
<i>"capitalist society will have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting 
adults."</i> This can apply equally to rented accommodation as well, for example
when landlords ban working from home or selling off the furniture that is
provided. Thus, ironically, capitalism forbids capitalist acts between 
consenting adults all the time.
<p>
Of course, Nozick's reply to this point would be that the individual's involved
have <i>"consented"</i> to these rules when they signed their contract. But the same
can be said of an anarchist society -- it is freely joined and freely left. 
To join a communist-anarchist society it would simply be a case of agreeing 
to <i>"exchange"</i> the product of ones labour freely with the other members of 
that society. Thus you could smelt down personal possessions and create a 
machine, exchange your time with others and so on. However, if wage labour 
becomes involved then the individuals involved have ceased being members of  
<i>"the socialist society"</i> by their actions. They have violated their agreements 
with their fellows and so it is not a case of <i>"forbidding"</i> certain acts. 
Rather it is a case of individuals meeting their self-created obligations. 
If this is <i>"authoritarian"</i> then so is capitalism -- and we must stress that 
at least anarchist associations are based on self-management and so the 
individuals involved have an equal say in the obligations they live under.
<p>
Notice also that Nozick confuses exchange with capitalism (<i>"I offer you a
lecture once a week in exchange for other things"</i>). This is a telling
mistake by someone who claims to be an expert on capitalism, because the
defining feature of capitalism is not exchange (which obviously took place
long before capitalism existed) but labour contracts involving capitalist
middlemen who appropriate a portion of the value produced by workers -- in
other words, wage labour. Nozick's example is merely a direct labour contract 
between the producer and the consumer. It does not involve any capitalist 
intermediary taking a percentage of the value created by the producer. Nor
does it involve exploitative wage labour, what makes capitalism capitalism. 
It is only this latter type of transaction that libertarian socialism 
prevents -- and not by <i>"forbidding"</i> it but simply by refusing to maintain 
the conditions necessary for it to occur, i.e. protection of capitalist 
property.
<p>
In addition, we must note that Nozick also confuses <i>"private property in
the means of production"</i> with capitalism. Liberation socialism can be
easily compatible with <i>"private property in the means of production"</i> 
when that <i>"private property"</i> is based on <b>possession</b> rather than 
capitalistic property. This can be seen from Kropotkin's arguments
that peasant and artisan workers, those who <i>"exploit nobody,"</i> would 
<b>not</b> be expropriated in an anarchist revolution. [<b>Act for Yourselves</b>, 
pp. 104-5] Nozick, in other words, confuses private property with
possession and confuses pre-capitalist forms of production with 
capitalist ones. Thus possession of the means of production by people
outside of the free commune is perfectly acceptable to social anarchists
(see also <a href="secI6.html#seci62">section I.6.2</a>).
<p>
Lastly, we must also note that Nozick also ignores the fact that acquisition 
<b>must</b> come before transfer, meaning that before <i>"consenting"</i> capitalist acts 
occur, individual ones must precede it. As argued above, for this to happen 
the would-be capitalist must steal communally owned resources by barring 
others from using them. This obviously would restrict the liberty of those 
who currently used them and so be hotly opposed by members of a community. 
If an individual did desire to use resources to employ wage labour then they
would have effectively removed themselves from <i>"socialist society"</i> and so
that society would bar them from using <b>its</b> resources (i.e. they would
have to buy access to all the resources they currently took for granted).
<p>
Thus an anarchist society would have a flexible approach to Nozick's
(flawed) argument. Individuals, in their free time, could <i>"exchange"</i> 
their time and possessions as they saw fit. These, however, are not
<i>"capitalist acts"</i> regardless of Nozick's claims. However, the moment
an individual employs wage labour then, by this act, they have broken
their agreements with their fellows and, therefore, no longer part
of <i>"socialist society."</i> This would involve them no longer having 
access to the benefits of communal life and to communal possessions.
They have, in effect, placed themselves outside of their community
and must fair for themselves. After all, if they desire to create
<i>"private property"</i> (in the capitalist sense) then they have no right
of access to communal possessions without paying for that right. For 
those who become wage slaves, a socialist society would, probably, 
be less strict. As 
Bakunin argued:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Since the freedom of every individual is inalienable, society shall
never allow any individual whatsoever legally to alienate his [or
her] freedom or engage upon any contract with another on any footing
but the utmost equality and reciprocity. It shall not, however, have
the power to disbar a man or woman so devoid of any sense of personal
dignity as to contract a relationship of voluntary servitude with
another individual, but it will consider them as living off private
charity and therefore unfit to enjoy political rights <b>throughout the
duration of that servitude.</b>"</i> [<b>Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings</b>,
pp. 68-9]
</blockquote><p>
It should also be noted here that Nozick's theory does not provide any 
support for such appropriation of commonly held resources, meaning that 
his (right) libertarianism is totally without foundations (see 
<a href="secB3.html#secb34">section B.3.4</a> 
for details). His argument in favour of such appropriations 
recognises that certain liberties are very definitely restricted by 
private property (and it should be keep in mind that the destruction 
of commonly held resources, such as village commons, were enforced by 
the state -- see 
<a href="secF8.html#secf83">section F.8.3</a>). 
As Cheyney C. Ryan points out, Nozick 
<i>"invoke[s] personal liberty as the decisive ground for rejecting patterned 
principles of justice [such as socialism] and restrictions on the ownership 
of capital. . .[b]ut where the rights of private property admittedly restrict 
the liberties of the average person, he seems perfectly happy to <b>trade off</b> 
such liberties against material gain for society as a whole."</i> [<i>"Property 
Rights and Individual Liberty"</i>, in <b>Reading Nozack</b>, p. 339]
<p>
Again, as pointed out in section F.2 (<a href="secF2.html">"What do 
'anarcho'-capitalists mean 
by 'freedom?'"</a>) right-libertarians would better be termed <i>"Propertarians."</i> 
Why is liberty according a primary importance when arguing against socialism
but not when private property restricts liberty? Obviously, Nozick considers
the liberties associated with private property as more important than 
liberty <b>in general.</b> Likewise, capitalism must forbid corresponding 
socialist acts by individuals (for example, squatting unused property or
trespassing on private property) and often socialist acts between consenting 
individuals (for example, the formation of unions against the wishes of the 
property owner who is, of course, sovereign over their property and those 
who use it, or the use of workplace resources to meet the needs of the
producer rather than the owner). 
<p>
So, to conclude, this question involves some strange logic (and many
question begging assumptions) and ultimately fails in its attempt to prove 
libertarian socialism must "ban" <i>"capitalistic acts between individuals."</i> 
In addition, the objection undermines capitalism because it cannot support 
the creation of private property out of communal property in the first 
place.
<p>
<a name="seci413"><h2>I.4.13 Who will do the <i>"dirty"</i> or unpleasant work?</h2>
<p>
This problem affects every society, including capitalism of course.
Under capitalism, this problem is <i>"solved"</i> by ensuring that such 
jobs are done by those at the bottom of the social pile. In other
words, it does not really solve the problem at all -- it just
ensures that some people are subject to this work the bulk of 
their working lives. However, most anarchists reject this flawed
solution in favour of something better, one that shares the good
with the bad and so ensure everyone's life is better.
<p>
How this would be done depends on the kind of libertarian community 
you are a member of. Obviously, few would argue against the idea that 
individuals will voluntarily work at things they enjoyed doing. However 
there are some jobs that few, if any, would enjoy (for example, 
collecting rubbish, processing sewage, dangerous work, etc.). So 
how would an anarchist society deal with it?
<p>
It will be clear what is considered unpleasant work in any society -- 
few people (if any) will volunteer to do it. As in any advanced society,
communities and syndicates who required extra help would inform others
of their need by the various form of media that existed. In addition, it
would be likely that each community would have a <i>"division of activity"</i> 
syndicate whose work would be to distribute information about these
posts and to which members of a community would go to discover what 
placements existed for the line of "work" they were interested in.
So we have a means by which syndicates and communes can ask for new 
hands and the means by which individuals can discover these placements. 
Obviously, some work will still require qualifications and that will 
be taken into account when syndicates and communes "advertise" for 
help.
<p>
For "work" placements in which supply exceeded demand, it would be easy 
to arrange a work share scheme to ensure that most people get a chance to do 
that kind of work (see below for a discussion of what could happen if the 
numbers applying for a certain form of work were too high for this to work). 
When such placements are marked by an excess of demand by supply, its obvious 
that the activity in question is not viewed as pleasant or desirable. Until 
such time as it can be automated away, a free society will have to encourage 
people to volunteer for "work" placements they do not particularly want to do. 
<p>
So, it is obvious that not all "jobs" are equal in interest or enjoyment. 
It is sometimes argued that people would start to join or form syndicates 
which are involved in more fun activities. By this process excess workers 
would be found in the more enjoyable "jobs" while the boring and dangerous 
ones would suffer from a scarcity of willing workers. Hence, so the argument
goes, a socialist society would have to force people to do certain jobs
and so that requires a state. Obviously, this argument ignores the fact that
under capitalism usually it is the boring, dangerous work which is the least
well paid with the worse working conditions. In addition, this argument 
ignores the fact that under workers self-management boring, dangerous work 
would be minimised and transformed as much as possible. Only under capitalist
hierarchy are people in no position to improve the quality of their work and 
working environment. As George Barrett argues:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Now things are so strangely organised at present that it is just the 
dirty and disagreeable work that men will do cheaply, and consequently
there is no great rush to invent machines to take their place. In a free
society, on the other hand, it is clear that the disagreeable work will be
one of the first things that machinery will be called upon to eliminate. It
is quite fair to argue, therefore, that the disagreeable work will, to a
large extent, disappear in a state of anarchism."</i> [<b>Objections to Anarchism</b>]
</blockquote><p>
Moreover, most anarchists would think that the argument that there would
be a flood of workers taking up <i>"easy"</i> work placements is abstract and
ignores the dynamics of a real society. While many individuals would
try to create new productive syndicates in order to express themselves
in innovative work outwith the existing research and development going
on within existing syndicates, the idea that the majority of individuals
would leave their current work at a drop of a hat is crazy. A workplace
is a community and part of a community and people would value the links 
they have with their fellow workers. As such they would be aware of the
impacts of their decisions on both themselves and society as a whole. So, 
while we would expect a turnover of workers between syndicates, the mass 
transfers claimed in this argument are unlikely. Most workers who did want 
to try their hand at new work would apply for work places at syndicates 
that required new people, not create their own ones. Because of this, work 
transfers would be moderate and easily handled. 
<p>
However, the possibility of mass desertions does exist and so must be
addressed. So how would a libertarian socialist society deal with a 
majority of its workers deciding to all do interesting work, leaving 
the boring and/or dangerous work undone? It, of course, depends on the 
type of anarchism in question and is directly related to the question 
of who will do the <i>"dirty work"</i> in an anarchist society. So, how will 
an anarchist society ensure that individual preferences for certain 
types of work matches the requirements of social demand for labour?
<p>
Under mutualism, those who desired a certain form of work done would
reach an agreement with a workers or a co-operative and pay them to do
the work in question. Individuals would form co-operatives with each 
co-operative would have to find its place on the market and so this
would ensure that work was spread across society as required. Individuals 
desiring to form a new co-operative would either provide their own start 
up credit or arrange a interest free loan from a mutual bank. However, this 
could lead to some people doing unpleasant work all the time and so is hardly 
a solution. As in capitalism, we may see some people doing terrible work 
because it is better than no work at all. This is a solution few anarchists 
would support.
<p>
In a collectivist or communist anarchist society, such an outcome would 
be avoided by sharing such tasks as fairly as possible between a community's 
members. For example, by allocating a few days a month to all fit members 
of a community to do work which no one volunteers to do, it would soon be 
done. In this way, every one shares in the unpleasant as well as pleasant
tasks (and, of course, minimises the time any one individual has to 
spend on it). Or, for tasks which are very popular, individuals would also
have to do unpleasant tasks as well. In this way, popular and unpopular
tasks would balance each other out.
<p>
Another possible solution could be to follow the ideas of Josiah 
Warren and take into account the undesirability of the work when 
considering the level of labour notes received or communal hours worked.
In other words, in a collectivist society the individuals who do unpleasant
work may be "rewarded" (along with social esteem) with a slightly higher
pay -- the number of labour notes, for example, for such work would be
a multiple of the standard amount, the actual figure being related to
how much supply exceeds demand (in a communist society, a similar solution 
could be possible, with the number of necessary hours required by an individual 
being reduced by an amount that corresponds to the undesirability of the 
work involved). The actual levels of "reward" would be determined by 
agreements between the syndicates.
<p>
To be more precise, in a collectivist society, individuals would either 
use their own savings and/or arrange loans of community labour banks 
for credit in order to start up a new syndicate. This will obviously
restrict the number of new syndicates being formed. In the case of individuals 
joining existing syndicates, the labour value of the work done would be 
related to the number of people interested in doing that work. For example, 
if a given type of work has 50% more people wanting to do it than actually 
required, then the labour value for one hours work in this industry would 
correspondingly be less than one hour. If fewer people applied than 
required, then the labour value would increase, as would holiday time, 
etc.
<p>
In this way, <i>"supply and demand"</i> for workers would soon approximate each 
other. In addition, a collectivist society would be better placed than the
current system to ensure work-sharing and other methods to spread unpleasant 
and pleasant tasks equally around society due to its organs of self-management
and the rising social awareness via participation and debate within those
organs.
<p>
A communist-anarchist society's solution would be similar to the collectivist
one. There would still be basic agreements between its members for work done 
and so for work placements with excess supply of workers the amount of hours 
necessary to meet the confederations agreed minimum would correspondingly 
increase. For example, an industry with 100% excess supply of volunteers 
would see its minimum requirement increase from (say) 20 hours a week to 30 
hours. An industry with less applicants than required would see the number
of required hours of <i>"work"</i> decrease, plus increases in holiday time and
so on. As G.D.H. Cole argues in respect of this point:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Let us first by the fullest application of machinery and scientific 
methods eliminate or reduce . . . 'dirty work' that admit to such 
treatment. This has never been tried. . . under capitalism. . . It is 
cheaper to exploit and ruin human beings. . . Secondly, let us see what 
forms of 'dirty work' we can do without . . . [and] if any form of work 
is not only unpleasant but degrading, we will do without it, whatever 
the cost. No human being ought to be allowed or compelled to do work 
that degrades. Thirdly, for what dull or unpleasant work remains, let 
us offer whatever special conditions are required to attract the necessary 
workers, not in higher pay, but in shorter hours, holidays extending over 
six months  in the year, conditions attractive enough to men who have 
other uses for their time or attention to being the requisite number 
to undertake it voluntarily."</i> [<b>Guild Socialism Restated</b>, p. 76]
</blockquote><p>
By these methods a balance between industrial sectors would be achieved 
as individuals would balance their desire for interesting work with their
desires for free time. Over time, by using the power of appropriate 
technology, even such time keeping would be minimised or even got 
eliminated as society developed freely.
<p>
And it is important to remember that the means of production required by
new syndicates do not fall from the sky. Other members of society will
have to work to produce the required goods. Therefore it is likely that
the syndicates and communes would agree that only a certain (maximum) 
percentage of production would be allocated to start-up syndicates (as
opposed to increasing the resources of existing confederations). Such a
figure would obviously be revised periodically in order to take into
account changing circumstances. Members of the community who decide to 
form syndicates for new productive tasks or syndicates which do the same
work but are independent of existing confederations would have to get the 
agreement of other workers to supply them with the necessary means of 
production (just as today they have to get the agreement of a bank to
receive the necessary credit to start a new business). By budgeting the 
amounts available, a free society can ensure that individual desires for 
specific kinds of work can be matched with the requirements of society for 
useful production. 
<p>
And we must point out (just to make sure we are not misunderstood) that 
there will be no group of <i>"planners"</i> deciding which applications for 
resources get accepted. Instead, individuals and associations would apply 
to different production units for resources, whose workers in turn decide 
whether to produce the goods requested. If it is within the syndicate's 
agreed budget then it is likely that they will produce the required materials. 
In this way, a communist-anarchist society will ensure the maximum amount 
of economic freedom to start new syndicates and join existing ones plus 
ensure that social production does not suffer in the process.
<p>
Of course, no system is perfect -- we are sure that not everyone will be
able to do the work they enjoy the most (this is also the case under 
capitalism, we may add). In an anarchist society every method of ensuring 
that individuals pursue the work they are interested in would be
investigated. If a possible solution can be found, we are sure that it will.
What a free society would make sure of was that neither the capitalist
market redeveloped (which ensures that the majority are marginalised into
wage slavery) or a state socialist <i>"labour army"</i> type allocation process 
developed (which would ensure that free socialism did not remain free or
socialist for long).
<p>
In this manner, anarchism will be able to ensure the principle of 
voluntary labour and free association as well as making sure that 
unpleasant and unwanted <i>"work"</i> is done. Moreover, most anarchists are
sure that in a free society such requirements to encourage people to
volunteer for unpleasant work will disappear over time as feelings
of mutual aid and solidarity become more and more common place. Indeed, 
it is likely that people will gain respect for doing jobs that others 
might find unpleasant and so it might become <i>"glamorous"</i> to do such 
activity. Showing off to friends can be a powerful stimulus in doing 
any activity. So anarchists would agree with Albert and Hahnel when 
they say that:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"In a society that makes every effort to depreciate the esteem that derives
from anything other than conspicuous consumption, it is not surprising that 
great income differentials are seen as necessary to induce effort. But to
assume that only conspicuous consumption can motivate people because under
capitalism we have strained to make it so is unwarranted. There is plenty
of evidence that people can be moved to great sacrifices for reasons other
than a desire for personal wealth...there is good reason to believe that for
nonpathological people wealth is generally coveted only as a <b>means</b> of 
attaining other ends such as economic security, comfort, social esteem,
respect, status, or power."</i> [<b>The Political Economy of Participatory 
Economics</b>, p. 52]
</blockquote><p>
We should note here that the education syndicates would obviously take
into account the trends in <i>"work"</i> placement requirements when deciding
upon the structure of their classes. In this way, education would 
respond to the needs of society as well as the needs of the individual
(as would any productive syndicate).
<p>
<a name="seci414"><h2>I.4.14 What about the person who will not work?</h2>
<p>
Anarchism is based on voluntary labour. If people do not desire to work
then they cannot (must not) be forced to. The question arises of what
to do with those (a small minority, to be sure) who refuse to work.
<p>
On this question there is some disagreement. Some anarchists, particularly
communist-anarchists, argue that the lazy should not be deprived of
the means of life. Social pressure, they argue, would force those
who take, but do not contribute to the community, to listen to their
conscience and start producing for the community that supports them.
Other anarchists are less optimistic and agree with Camillo Berneri when
he argues that anarchism should be based upon <i>"no compulsion to work, 
but no duty towards those who do not want to work."</i> [<i>"The Problem of Work"</i>, 
in <b>Why Work?</b>, Vernon Richards (ed.), p. 74] This means that an anarchist 
society will not continue to feed, clothe, house someone who can produce 
but refuses to. Most anarchists have had enough of the wealthy under
capitalism consuming but not producing and do not see why they should
support a new group of parasites after the revolution.
<p>
Obviously, there is a difference between not wanting to work and being 
unable to work. The sick, children, the old, pregnant women and so on 
will be looked after by their friends and family (or by the commune,
as desired by those involved). As child rearing would be considered
<i>"work"</i> along with other more obviously economic tasks, mothers and 
fathers will not have to leave their children unattended and work to 
make ends meet. Instead, consideration will be given to the needs of 
both parents and children as well as the creation of community 
nurseries and child care centres.
<p>
We have to stress here that an anarchist society will not deny anyone
the means of life. This would violate the voluntary labour which is at
the heart of all schools of anarchism. Unlike capitalism, the means of
life will not be monopolised by any group -- including the commune. This
means that someone who does not wish to join a commune or who does not
pull their weight within a commune and are expelled will have access to
the means of making a living outside the commune. 
<p>
We stated that we stress this fact as many supporters of capitalism
seem to be unable to understand this point (or prefer to ignore it and
so misrepresent the anarchist position). In an anarchist society, no
one will be forced to join a commune simply because they do not have
access to the means of production and/or land required to work alone. 
Unlike capitalism, where access to these essentials of life is dependent
on buying access to them from the capitalist class (and so, effectively,
denied to the vast majority), an anarchist society will ensure that all
have access and have a real choice between living in a commune and
working independently. This access is based on the fundamental difference
between possession and property -- the commune possesses as much land
as it needs, as do non-members. The resources used by them are subject
to the usual possession rationale -- they possess it only as long as
they use it and cannot bar others using it if they do not (i.e., it is
not property).
<p>
Thus an anarchist commune remains a voluntary association and ensures
the end of all forms of wage slavery (see also 
<a href="secI1.html#seci134">section I.1.4</a>). The
member of the commune has the choice of working as part of a community,
giving according to their abilities and taking according to their
needs (or some other means of organising production and consumption
such as equal income or receiving labour notes, and so on), or
working independently and so free of communal benefits as well as
any commitments (bar those associated with using communal resources
such as roads and so on). 
<p>
So, in most, if not all, anarchist communities, individuals have two 
options, either they can join a commune and work together as equals, or 
they can work as an individual or independent co-operative and exchange 
the product of their labour with others. If an individual joins a commune 
and does not carry their weight, even after their fellow workers ask them 
to, then that person will possibly be expelled and given enough land, tools 
or means of production to work alone. Of course, if a person is depressed, 
run down or otherwise finding it hard to join in communal responsibilities 
then their friends and fellow workers would do everything in their power 
to help and be flexible in their approach to the problem.
<p>
Some anarchist communities may introduce what Lewis Mumford termed
<i>"basic communism."</i> This means that everyone would get a basic amount
of <i>"purchasing power,"</i> regardless of productive activity. If some
people were happy with this minimum of resources then they need not
work. If they want access to the full benefits of the commune, then
they could take part in the communal labour process. This could be
a means of eliminating all forces, even communal ones, which drive
a person to work and so ensure that all labour is fully voluntary
(i.e. not even forced by circumstances). What method a community 
would use would depend on what people in that community thought
was best.
<p>
It seems likely, however, that in most anarchist communities people 
will have to work, but how they do so will be voluntary. If people 
did not work then some would live off the labour of those who do work 
and would be a reversion to capitalism. However, most social anarchists 
think that the problem of people trying not to work would be a very minor 
one in an anarchist society. This is because work is part of human life 
and an essential way to express oneself. With work being voluntary and 
self-managed, it will become like current day hobbies and many people 
work harder at their hobbies than they do at <i>"real"</i> work (this FAQ
can be considered as an example of this!). It is the nature of 
employment under capitalism that makes it <i>"work"</i> instead of 
pleasure. Work need not be a part of the day that we wish would 
end. As Kropotkin argued (and has been subsequently supported by
empirical evidence), it is <b>not</b> work that people hate. Rather
it is overwork, in unpleasant circumstances and under the control
of others that people hate. Reduce the hours of labour, improve 
the working conditions and place the work under self-management
and work will stop being a hated thing. In his own words:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Repugnant tasks will disappear, because it is evident that
these unhealthy conditions are harmful to society as a whole.
Slaves can submit to them, but free men create new conditions,
and their work will be pleasant and infinitely more productive.
The exceptions of today will be the rule of tomorrow."</i> [<b>The
Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 123]
</blockquote><p>
This, combined with the workday being shortened, will help ensure
that only an idiot would desire to work alone. As Malatesta argued, 
the <i>"individual who wished to supply his own material needs by working 
alone would be the slave of his labours."</i> [<b>The Anarchist Revolution</b>, 
p. 15]
<p>
So, enlightened self-interest would secure the voluntary labour and 
egalitarian distribution anarchists favour in the vast majority of the
population. The parasitism associated with capitalism would be a thing 
of the past. Thus the problem of the <i>"lazy"</i> person fails to understand
the nature of humanity nor the revolutionising effects of freedom and
a free society on the nature and content of work.
<p>
<a name="seci415"><h2>I.4.15 What will the workplace of tomorrow look like?</h2>
<p>
Given the anarchist desire to liberate the artist in all of us, we can 
easily imagine that a free society would transform totally the working
environment. No longer would workers be indifferent to their workplaces,
but they would express themselves in transforming them into pleasant 
places, integrated into both the life of the local community and into
the local environment. After all, <i>"no movement that raises the demand
for workers' councils can be regarded as revolutionary unless it 
tries to promote sweeping transformations in the environment of the
work place."</i> [Murray Bookchin, <b>Post-Scarcity Anarchism</b>, p. 146]
<p>
A glimpse of the future workplace can been seen from the actual class
struggle. In the 40 day sit-down strike at Fisher Body plant #1 in Flint,
Michigan in 1936, <i>"there was a community of two thousand strikers . . .
Committees organised recreation, information, classes, a postal service,
sanitation . . . There were classes in parliamentary procedure, public
speaking, history of the labour movement. Graduate students at the
University of Michigan gave courses in journalism and creative writing."</i>
[Howard Zinn, <b>A People's History of the United States</b>, p. 391] In
the same year, during the Spanish Revolution, collectivised workplaces
also created libraries and education facilities as well as funding
schools, health care and other social necessities (a practice, we
must note, that had started before the revolution when C.N.T. unions
had funded schools, social centres, libraries and so on). 
<p>
Therefore the workplace would be expanded to include education and
classes in individual development (and so following Proudhon's comment
that we should <i>"[o]rganise association, and by the same token, every 
workshop becoming a school, every worker becomes a master, every
student an apprentice."</i> [<b>No Gods, No Masters</b>, vol. 1, pp. 62-3]). 
This would allow work to become part of a wider community, drawing in 
people from different areas to share their knowledge and learn new 
insights and ideas. In addition, children would have part of their 
school studies with workplaces, getting them aware of the practicalities 
of many different forms of work and so allowing them to make informed 
decisions in what sort of activity they would be interested in pursuing 
when they were older.
<p>
Obviously, a workplace managed by its workers would also take care to make
the working environment as pleasant as possible. No more <i>"sick building
syndrome"</i> or unhealthy and stressful work areas. Buildings would be
designed to maximise space and allow individual expression within them.
Outside the workplace, we can imagine it surrounded by gardens and allotments
which were tended by workers themselves, giving a pleasant surrounding
to the workplace. There would, in effect, be a break down of the city/rural
divide -- workplaces would be placed next to fields and integrated into
the surroundings:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Have the factory and the workshop at the gates of your fields and
gardens, and work in them. Not those large establishments, of course,
in which huge masses of metals have to be dealt with and which are
better placed at certain spots indicated by Nature, but the countless
variety of workshops and factories which are required to satisfy
the infinite diversity  of tastes among civilised men [and women] . . .
factories and workshops which men, women and children will not be
driven by hunger, but will be attracted by the desire of finding an
activity suited to their tastes, and where, aided by the motor and
the machine, they will choose the branch of activity which best 
suits their inclinations."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Fields, Factories
and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, p. 197]
</blockquote><p>
This vision of rural and urban integration is just part of the
future anarchists see for the workplace. As Kropotkin argued,
<i>"[w]e proclaim <b>integration</b>. . . a society of integrated,
combined labour. A society where each individual is a producer 
of both manual and intellectual work; where each able-bodied
human being is a worker, and where each worker works both in 
the field and the industrial workshop; where every aggregation
of individuals, large enough to dispose of a certain variety of
natural resources -- it may be a nation, or rather a region --
produces and itself consumes most of its own agricultural and
manufactured produce."</i> [<b>Op. Cit.</b>, p. 26]
<p>
The future workplace would be an expression of the desires of 
those who worked there. It would be based around a pleasant working
environment, within gardens and with extensive library, resources 
for education classes and other leisure activities. All this, and 
more, will be possible in a society based upon self-realisation and 
self-expression and one in which individuality is not crushed by 
authority and capitalism. To re-quote Kropotkin, <i>"if most of the 
workshops we know are foul and unhealthy, it is because the workers 
are of no account in the organisation of factories"</i> and <i>"[s]laves 
can submit to them, but free men will create new conditions, and 
their will be pleasant and infinitely more productive."</i> [<b>The 
Conquest of Bread</b>, p. 121 and p. 123] 
<p>
<i>"So in brief,"</i> argued William Morris, <i>"our buildings will be beautiful
with their own beauty of simplicity as workshops . . . [and] besides
the mere workshops, our factory will have other buildings which may
carry ornament further than that, for it will need dinning-hall,
library, school, places for study of different kinds, and other such
structures."</i> Such a vision is possible and is only held back by 
capitalism which denounces such visions of freedom as <i>"uneconomic."</i> 
However, as William Morris points out:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"Impossible I hear an anti-Socialist say. My friend, please to remember 
that most factories sustain today large and handsome gardens, and not 
seldom parks . . .<b>only</b> the said gardens, etc. are twenty miles away from 
the factory, <b>out of the smoke,</b> and are kept up for <b>one member of the 
factory only,</b> the sleeping partner to wit"</i> [<b>A Factory as It Might Be</b>, 
p. 9 and pp. 7-8]
</blockquote><p>
Pleasant working conditions based upon the self-management of work can 
produce a workplace within which economic <i>"efficiency"</i> can be achieved
without disrupting and destroying individuality and the environment
(also see 
<a href="secI4.html#seci49">section I.4.9</a> 
for a fuller discussion of anarchism and
technology).
<p>
<a name="seci416"><h2>I.4.16 Won't a libertarian communist society be inefficient?</h2>
<p>
It is often argued that anarcho-communism and other forms of
non-market libertarian-socialism would promote inefficiency and 
unproductive work. The basis of this argument is that without market 
forces to discipline workers and the profit motive to reward them, 
workers would have no incentive to work in a way which minimises 
time or resources. The net effect of this would be inefficient
use of recourses, particularly individual's time.
<p>
This is a valid point in some ways; for example, a society can
(potentially) benefit from increasing productivity as the less 
time it takes to produce a certain good, the more time it gains 
for other activities (although, of course, in a class society
the benefits of increased productivity generally accrue to,
first and foremost, to those at the top). Indeed, for an 
individual, a decent society depends on people having time 
available for them to do what they want, to develop themselves 
in whatever way they want, to enjoy themselves. In addition, 
doing more with less can have a positive environment impact as 
well. And it is for these reasons that an anarchist society 
would be interested in promoting efficiency and productiveness 
during production.
<p>
While capitalism has turned improvements in productivity as 
a means of increasing work, enriching the few and generally 
proletarianising the working class, a free society would take
a different approach to the problem. As argued in 
<a href="secI4.html#seci43">section I.4.3</a>,
a communist-anarchist society would be based upon this principle:
<p><blockquote>
<i>"for some much per day (in money today, in labour tomorrow)
you are entitled to satisfy -- luxury excepted -- this or
the other of your wants."</i> [Peter Kropotkin, <b>Small Communal
Experiments and why the fail</b>, p. 8]
</blockquote><p>
Building upon this, we can imagine a situation where the 
average output for a given industry in a given amount of
time is used to encourage efficiency and productivity. If
a given syndicate can produce this average output with at
least average quality in less time than the agreed 
average/minimum (and without causing ecological or social 
externalities, of course) then the members of that 
syndicate can and should have that time off. 
<p>
This would be a powerful incentive to innovate, improve
productivity, introduce new machinery and processes as
well as work efficiently without reintroducing the profit
motive and material inequality. With the possibility of
having more time available for themselves and their own
projects, people involved in productive activities would
have a strong interest in being efficient. Of course, if
the work in question is something they enjoy then any
increases in efficiency would <b>enhance</b> what makes their
work enjoyable and not eliminate it. 
<p>
Rewarding efficiency with free time would also be an 
important means to ensure efficient use of resources
as well as a means of reducing time spent in productive
activity which was considered as boring or otherwise
undesirable. The incentive of getting unpleasant tasks 
over with as quickly as possible would ensure that the
tasks were done efficiently and that innovation was 
directed towards them.
<p>
Moreover, when it came to major investment decisions, a
syndicate would be more likely to get others to agree to its 
plans if the syndicate had a reputation of excellence. This, 
again, would encourage efficiency as people would know 
that they could gain resources for their communities and
workplaces (i.e. themselves) more easily if their work
is efficient and reliable. This would be a key means of
encouraging efficient and effective use of resources.
<p>
Similarly, an inefficient or wasteful syndicate would
have negative reactions from their fellow workers. As we 
argued in section I.4.7 (<a href="secI4.html#seci47"><i>"What 
will stop producers 
ignoring consumers?"</i></a>), a libertarian communist economy 
would be based on free association. If a syndicate or 
community got a reputation for being inefficient with
resources then others would not associate with them (i.e.
they would not supply them with materials, or place them
at the end of the queue when deciding which production
requests to supply, and so on). As with a syndicate which 
produced shoddy goods, the inefficient syndicate would also 
face the judgement of its peers. This will produce an
environment which will encourage efficient use of resources
and time. 
<p>
All these factors, the possibility of increased free time, 
the respect and resources gained for an efficient and excellent
work and the possibility of a lack of co-operation with others
for inefficient use of resources, would ensure that an 
anarchist-communist or anarchist-collectivist society would
have no need to fear inefficiency. Indeed, by placing the benefits
of increased efficiency into the hands of those who do the work, 
efficiency will no doubt increase.
<p>
With self-management, we can soon see human time being used
efficiently and productively simply because those doing the 
work would have a direct and real interest in it. Rather than 
alienate their liberty, as under capitalism, they would apply 
their creativity and minds to transforming their productive
activity in such a way as to make it enjoyable and not
a waste of their time.
<p>
Little wonder Kropotkin argued, modern knowledge could be
applied to a society in which people, <i>"with the work of
their own hands and intelligence, and by the aid of the
machinery already invented and to be invented, should
themselves create all imaginable riches. Technics and
science will not be lagging behind if production takes
such a direction. Guided by observation, analysis and
experiment, they will answer all possible demands. They
will reduce the time required for producing wealth to any
desired amount, so as to leave to everyone as much
leisure as he or she may ask for. . . they guarantee
. . . the happiness that can be found in the full and 
varied exercise of the different capacities of the
human being, in work that need not be overwork."</i> 
[<b>Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow</b>, 
pp. 198-9] 
<p>
One last point. A free society will undoubtedly create
new criteria for what counts as an efficient use of
resources and time. What passes for <i>"efficient"</i> use
capitalism often means what is efficient in increasing
the power and profits of the few, without regard to the
wasteful use of individual time, energy and potential
as well as environmental and social costs. Such a narrow
criteria for decision making or evaluating efficient production 
will not exist in an anarchist society (see our discussion
of the irrational nature of the price mechanism in 
<a href="secI1.html#seci12">section I.1.2</a>, for example). 
While we use the term efficiency 
we mean the dictionary definition of efficiency (i.e. reducing
waste, maximising use of resources) rather than what the 
capitalist market distorts this into (i.e. what creates most
profits for the boss).
<p>
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