Sunday, 9 October 2011


It is a weak but unfortunately common argument technique to play down or ignore the advantages of something you are against, play up the disdadvantges of it, and do the opposite of the thing you are in favour of.

This is seen a lot by critics of TZM/TVP especially when they light on money, because of course in an RBE there would be no need for money, and some proponents see actively getting rid of money as a transitional step in bringing in an RBE.

Undeniably money was introduced for practical reasons - a means of exchange, a store of value, a unit of accounting - the classical purposes of money - and it is counter intuitive to claim to be able to do without these functions. [In an RBE we would account for every resource. Difficult, maybe, but look at all the intellect and technology that goes into finance and weaponry. Imagine if that was diverted towards fulfilling human need and measuring sustainability].

To balance the claim of the usefulness and inevitability of momey we can look at corruption as one example of something an RBE would eradicate. I saw a TV programme about black South Africans in shanty towns. Some of them were bribing officials to get what we would call a coucikl house. One family fetaured had applied for and been allocated a council house, only to find that the house was already occupied bu someone (equally desperate) who had 'bought' the house - ie bribed an official.

In an RBE there would be no money to bribe people with, and with resources shared fairly no desire to be bribed. With human needs put first there would be no-one living in a slum. Opponents of an RBE need to put their cards on the table. Do they actually want a world where human needs are met and corruption is designed out? If so, they need to fit it into the monetary system, where scarcity (in this example of decent homes) brings an opportunity to make money.

Free market capitalists often argue that their favoured system will eventually benefit all, but this promise of jam tomorrow doesn't seem likely to be fulfilled based on experience so far. And given that human need is not being well enough fulfilled the while the limited resources of the planet are being squandered as if they were limitless, I say we try something else. Maybe no system has so far been beter than capitalism, bt this doesn't mean no better system is possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment