This article is going to deal with the issue of how we fulfil our material needs and provide solutions improving the efficiency of said process.
Each and every working solution has an even better alternative that can be identified and implemented over time. We are entities having needs and living in an environment providing supplies for us. The way we organize the supply process and the fulfilment of our needs both determine the effectiveness of the process and ultimately - the quality of our lives.
The state of affairs we know, namely – the one in the case of which we obtain money in various ways and then are granted access to goods and services we need, along with the entire mechanism ensuring the efficiency of said process, is an out-dated and inefficient solution. The concept of a system that currently manages resources, workers’ time, and the distribution of goods and services in the society, namely – capitalism – was created and served us well when countries were involved in conflicts, when everything was scarce, when there was no foundation for environmental protection, and when people found it easier to fight than to cooperate.
From the point of view of available possibilities, we do not fulfil our needs nowadays, we rather play at fulfilling them instead. Day after day, we choose harder routes that neither give us as much as we want from life, nor make us feel good about it.
I would like to keep this message as short as possible, so I will only focus on the most important thing. If you are interested in the topic, I would like to encourage you to familiarize yourself with my book entitled: "Life after we choose, the way beyond capitalism".
What determines material abundance in our lives? Mainly, it is determined by the amount of available raw materials and their by-products in the form of food, clothes, electronic devices, apartments, means of transport, etc. Services are a secondary element that we care about when main needs are fulfilled. Behind every manifestation of poverty, there is a greater or lesser lack of the aforementioned goods.
How do we get access to them? Most often, we point to money allowing us to buy them. Money, however, is not the reason of abundance in our lives. Furthermore, the system is created in such a way to control and - if necessary - limit the amount of money in our wallets, thereby controlling the purchasing power of the society in accordance to the quantity of goods available. In other words, the system makes efforts for the society not to accumulate the excess of money and not to buy too many goods, because such a state of affairs would lead to lack thereof. Additionally, due to the fact that in the free market, no one can order producing more goods needed (because business owners make such a decision independently, basing solely on the profitability of production), the system must limit the distribution of money in the society by adjusting its amount to the number of products available. As a result, we experience a continuous money shortage; we think we do not have enough of it to get what we need and want for ourselves. However, it is not the money, but the lacking goods we need to continue living a healthy life. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the uneven growth of service sector in comparison to the manufacturing sector - more and more people are choosing jobs that do not create any new material goods. Another reason is the ever-increasing cost of raw materials (and energy) due to the increasingly lower availability.
In order to understand the scheme better, let us look at the following example. What would happen if every person received one million pounds? Due to the fact that the amount of goods on store shelves (including larger items such as means of transport or buildings) would not change, more people would like and would be able to spend more for the same product. As a result, in a free market scenario, where the seller dictates the price of goods sold, prices would obviously go up.
For example, raising the minimum national wage means that the employer should pay more to the employee, and thus - increase the price of his or her product over time, because as of currently, it costs him or her more to produce it. At the same time, employees spend more to satisfy their basic needs, because stores in which they buy goods also raise their prices. As a result, the pay increase does not bring any factual benefits, because we can still buy more or less the same as could with the previous salary. The regular increase in prices and payments is a side effect of our system and we call it inflation.
To sum up - if there is more money on the market in comparison to the quantity of new goods, prices automatically go up, thus restoring a similar dependence of the price towards the product. Hence, the following conclusion can be drawn- if we really want to ensure the well-being of the society, it is our task to provide such a volume of production to give all citizens of the country a relatively easy and unconditional access to necessary goods adjusted to their needs. The economic development that we often talk about is nothing more than an increase in the volume of production. Poor countries are those, in the case of which production volume (the amount of material goods produced) is too low to satisfy the needs of the citizens.
In the capitalist system, demand is defined by supply. It is a fairly approximate statement, as just as production capabilities are limited and depend on financial inputs, the motivational factors on the side of the producer, external circumstances and other factors, demand is also determined by the financial and existential situation of the consumers. As a result, neither demand nor supply reflects the real state of affairs. It turns out that such a mixture is the basis of our economy and determines its effectiveness.
If the members of a given group cannot get along with each other and they constantly get into conflicts, the only solution not to kill each other is to part ways and take care of one’s own business. This is the main idea of capitalism. Furthermore, that was the idea at the time it was shaped. However, acting individually, we do not have the opportunity of combining our activities for the optimal implementation of our needs. The age of wars has ended, and we are increasingly showing a desire to cooperate, co-create and share, as we are noticing new opportunities.
A high level of coordination, which allows for obtaining maximum efficiency of all the constituents of a given system, is characteristic for each element of nature. Today, the implementation of our needs is entrusted to separated, rather than synchronized entities, which are frequently conflicted (we call it competing). At the same time, we consider income as a priority goal, risking failure and the loss of everything in case we fail. Therefore, it is not surprising that our needs are not fulfilled if we choose such a way of fulfilling them.
The optimal solution that would make it possible to achieve a desired level of production is the so-called centralized (planned, coordinated) economy, or – to be exact – a production sector (incorporating agriculture, breeding, industry, etc.) providing the society with vital goods and public services, as well as ensuring their maximal efficiency. It means a centralized process of managing raw materials and manpower in the production and supply process. It is a logical, maximally optimal next step adjusted to the needs of the rapidly growing population. Today, capitalism entrusts the management of (common) resources to separate companies focused on their own profit.
Capitalism has served us well for many years. It contributed to the reconstruction of countries after the war, motivated to take responsibility for one’s own life, promoted the development of creativity, showed production possibilities, savings, etc. However, it is not able to reach the maximum production level, because for this purpose high coordination of all parts involved in this process is needed.
The automation of the production process is one of the most important conditions for achieving its proper volume and quality. Companies with large capital invest in machines that improve the production process, thereby cutting labour costs. Therefore, in the capitalist system, work automation does not benefit the society, for people lose their source of income and individual companies gather a great amount of capital and raw materials, contributing to the unequal distribution of wealth in society.
A centralized way of management, production and distribution means a coordinated, organized, and synchronized process of obtaining raw materials, processing them and distributing them throughout the country. Today, tools utilized by individual companies (machines, transport, premises, etc.) in the production and distribution process are adjusted to their financial capabilities and their own ingenuity. While operating in the nationwide manner, optimal and unlimited solutions adjusted to the needs of the entire society can be created. At the same time, we will have all means of transport at our disposal, including trains, ships, and planes. What is more, we will have the possibility of creating new, more sophisticated ways of distributing goods.
Until now, everyone has been striving for his or her own "survival". Such a way of managing our individual and common life is contrary to the nature of life itself. As a result, not only do we fail to achieve the proper level of material well-being in the society, but we also experience a strong discomfort in the form of stress, whether in connection with the financial situation (and, consequently, the lack of necessary goods) or because of work which we perform.
The psychological factor is the basic constituent of our lives. It is a measure of its quality and an absolute cause and motivator of our actions. Due to the vastness of the subject, I will only elaborate on it briefly.
Living in a world where everyone takes care of his or her own "survival" (in this case, by earning money, the amount of which determines what one can and cannot afford), we have made our survival and decent life conditional. In addition, we have introduced an element of competition, thus restraining the way to meet our needs to an even greater extent. For this reason, we live with an unconscious, yet strong, belief in the possibility of failure and loss. Said belief is one of the main causes of negative attitudes in society, most often causing stress, including all extreme manifestations thereof, such as depression and suicidal attempts. There is a huge difference in terms of well-being and the effects of fighting on the both sides of the ring (in a figurative and literal sense), between the fight "for life and death" and the fight for fun, pleasure, or good health. The current system does not provide the proper protection and the basis for a positive mood. Therefore, many of us perceive the next day as yet another battle for our own lives.
On top of that, the same conviction is the main reason for crime in the society. Only those who feel threatened and have nothing to lose can consciously threaten others. Only by believing in the possibility of losing what is important to us and experiencing the lack of security, can we find it easy to take something away from others. When we see the threat to our lives in the absence, then the lives of others also do not have a great value for us. It is an absolute feature of our nature, over which we have no control and which determines the condition of our lives, thereby defining and suggesting the direction of our decisions, the focus of which is to avoid similar situations.
The aforementioned direction is to provide the society with the right level of supply in order to exclude the possibility of life threat, loss, and failure. Just as it is in the case of children, who need an unconditional acceptance of a parent for proper psychological development, which is not dependent on their immature actions, we should define the level of material security in our society, below which one cannot go down regardless of one’s actions and earnings. In other words, for the benefit of the individual and the society as a whole, all the material goods necessary for our lives should be available with minimal limitation, just as water and electricity are currently available in our households. This is the next logical step we should take in the current situation. Our survival should not be determined and dependent on our earnings if we want to achieve a positive attitude dominating in our homes.
The quality of life of previous generations was dependent only on how much people earned for themselves, thus making the quality of their lives completely dependent on their earnings, which in turn depended on many, often random, factors. With time, we introduced a system of benefits, the aim of which is to balance the inability to earn the right amount of money necessary to cover the cost of living. This is the first attempt to determine the minimum level for material security. However, the benefits, due to the low productivity of the capitalist system, keep said level too low, below our needs, and continue to depend heavily on our work.
In the case of the current system, it is easier to lose something than to gain something. We maintain a system that follows rules which would be unthinkable in our families, let alone in human’s relations with himself or herself. Without being limited by anything and nobody, we always naturally give ourselves what we need and want.
Material abundance and unrestricted (in the appropriate sense, because even our needs are limited) access to food and non-food products is an unrealistic task for capitalism, although it is fully possible if we coordinate the activities of the whole society and engage sophisticated technologies. Capitalism is not only unable to provide the right volume of production, because the free market determines the quality, volume, and pace of the entire economy, but it also generates great expenses, consuming inadequate amounts of raw materials and generating large amounts of rubbish, thus worsening the state of our environment. The value of the natural environment and raw materials in capitalism is determined only by price.
Technological solutions introduced in recent decades have increased the volume of production and created the possibilities of increasing it even more. The historical industrial revolution is, among others, the result of coordinated actions of large groups of employees, who pursued a common goal under the management of business owners. The next revolution can be perceived as the result of coordinated (and not competitive) activities of all manufacturing companies. In practice, this would mean a complete reorganization of the economy, the creation of large, automated production sites, as well as warehouses that would implement a predetermined plan, which would take into account the needs of all the inhabitants of the country.
The production of goods, including, but not limited to, consumer electronics and household appliances necessary for maintaining a proper comfort of our lives, would probably be the simplest task. At the moment, we have hundreds of producers producing the same type of goods (TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.), but in thousands of available models. The production of various models - the basic and more functional options of one product - costs businesses more than the execution of one, functionally superior, model. However, in the current system, diversity is essential for generating income. In addition, companies are not interested in creating the ideal product, which will be working for next 10 or 20 years, because then the customer will not come back for another one. Therefore, the variety we have today not only consumes huge quantities of additional raw materials (which eventually end up in the trash), but also raises the price of the goods, because costs associated with production diversity are borne by the buyer of the goods.
In a centralized (planned, coordinated) economy, it is enough to produce several models of each type of product tailored to customer's needs, with the most advanced functionality. We would then not only reduce the consumption of raw materials, but reduce the amount of rubbish (because such equipment would be able to serve much longer) and shorten the amount of working time, thereby reducing the price of the product and shortening the average working time of employees.
Providing the needs of the whole society in the aspect of home electronics and home appliances is a relatively easy task, especially is the right strategy is employed. The challenge is to ensure a high level of food production - we need a regular supply of healthy products, while maintaining the efficiency of the soil, so that the quality of the crop will not deteriorate over time. Sophisticated solutions combined with modern technologies can grant us a satisfactory level of food.
The concept of relatively free (easy, at very low cost) access to all material goods contradicts our understanding of the world and the idea of the contemporary system. However, such a solution is not only possible, but it is the next logical step and the optimal solution in our situation, especially while taking into account the conditions we live in and all the biological and psychological factors. There are many nuances in this topic; some of them will be discussed for clarification.
In nature, everything fits together and if you want to get anything from it, you should keep this balance. In the current system, everyone has his own piece of land (in the literal and figurative sense), creating as much as his or her financial resources, his or her own imagination, as well as his or her motivation allows for. Due to the fact that the abundance that each of us needs and desires is conditioned by what we do with our piece of land, we use it to the maximum without taking into account how our actions affect the entire system. Under the threat of loss and failure (if we fail to earn enough to cover the cost of our lives), we make decisions without taking into account the rest of the world, because we naturally give priority to our own needs and preferences. This is one of those moments that undermine the rationality of our actions and the order that we have established.
If capitalism were to ensure the prosperity of all people, then the negative effects of our present activity would be expressed even more strongly and in a shorter period of time. If the rest of the world led such a lifestyle as all developed countries lead, our environment would be under an obvious threat. Thus, in the capitalist system, we do not even try to talk about unlimited access to goods.
Now, let us take a look at it. For the soil, it does not matter if it is the home of grass, weeds, vegetables, or fruits. As long as it is regularly fertilized and cultivated in a way that preserves the balance in nature and does not underestimate the quality of the soil, one can produce any quantity of goods. There is no waste in the harmonized system. Fruits that fall to the ground and are not gathered become a fertilizer for trees and plants. The excess of food can always go back to our fields.
In the capitalist system, we have no control over our waste. We mix together all kinds of rubbish burying them in the ground, because it is cheaper. There are simple solutions that would enable the recycling of almost all of our rubbish. As long as the rubbish does not fall on our heads, the capitalist system will not be motivated to make serious steps to change the situation. Our trash is nothing more than mixed up raw materials - billions of tons of raw materials a year, which we should obtain from our environment, in order to use them and bury them again in a year.
Organic crops would allow for getting unlimited amounts of food products and sophisticated technological solutions would shorten the number of hours that employees require for cultivation and harvesting. As long as each individual works his or her piece of land, there is no possibility of considering such an approach an efficient one in the slightest. In such a scenario, we will provide our needs, but at what level and with what consequences? Can you imagine that during the harvest a group of people working in the same field, instead of doing it together, combining the use of agricultural machinery, and then distributing the crops between themselves, each person harvests for himself or herself, in his or her own way, at his or her own pace, using only the tools he or she can afford? It is quite absurd, but that is the way we are fulfilling our needs today.
A centralized (planned, coordinated) economy is associated with socialism and communism. It is an independent, wide subject, which I discussed in a part in the book. I will mention it briefly here. The socialist economy, of which the majority of us know only thanks to history books, was a consequence of the difficult material situation and extremely negative moods prevailing in society, which in turn, led to the First and Second World Wars. In its initial form (i.e. without protective methods we resort to nowadays), capitalism caused the creation of exceptional material differences between people and that is why the main goal of the socialist movement was to take their wealth and power from the „oppressors”, even though they did not know what to do with them afterwards.
The new economic system referred to here (in the book I have defined it by using the "Coopism" term, derived from the cooperation word), combines the best aspects of previous solutions. The socialist economy was unable to adequately provide for human needs, while at the same time pointing to what should be done and by whom, limiting human freedoms. Capitalism has flooded us with goods, but it makes us pay a high price, receive one thing at the expense of the other, and devote our comfort and time. At the same time, work is frequently done poorly, which results in a low quality product (for the focus is on cutting costs) and the degradation of the environment.
Why are the health service, police, education, and army not privatized? It is caused by the fact that we understand the importance of the quality of services provided within these sectors. By giving decision-making to separate people, the sum of the decisions taken would be contrary to the interests of the whole society. Within these ministries, we demonstrate a centralized and planned approach and need a slight shift in our mentality, so that we can see such a need in the process of production and distribution of basic goods for living as well. This process is paramount when it comes for the quality of human life and is the determinant of the way we value ourselves. The implementation of human needs is a public service and cannot be entrusted to independent, competing companies that offer quality, volume and production speed, their own possibilities and willingness allow for. The free market which, according to the set principles, controls all processes in the capitalist economy, is largely a random market. Ultimately, should the way of satisfying our needs be specified by the market or by our preferences and conscious choices?
Would you like to work for several weeks to save for a washing machine or any other device just to be able to select from several dozen average models you can afford afterwards, or would you rather like to receive a state-of-the-art device covered by a perennial warranty for free? The only condition is as follows – it will be a standard technological solution which will be in advance adjusted to your needs. Do we need choices in every walk of life and do we really want to pay such a high price for them?
All the available goods (required to satisfy our human needs) should be produced and distributed in a prior planned manner under the supervision of experienced entrepreneurs. It would make it possible to satisfy the needs of the society.
Services are of lower importance, but they are important if we want to maintain the comfort of life at a given level. The sector of services (aside from public services) could remain a part of the free market, which would grant more flexibility in terms of choices and creation. How and when a particular service is provided is of marginal importance for our lives and that is why the principles of free market are fully adjusted for regulating the service provision-oriented branch of industry.
When it comes to satisfying our human needs and distributing resources, those aspects cannot be based on solutions which would decrease the efficiency of the entire process. As of currently, we have only a limited control over volume, quality, and pace of production (as they are all specified by the free market – there are numerous random economic correlations occurring). Secondly, we do not have a full control over the proper use of our resources, including fields, as well as over waste processing, which may pose a threat in the long-run. Thirdly, competition always means a fierce fight instead of a mutual support. In a healthy system, there is cooperation and coordination allowing to reach a common good. Competition is like a cancer damaging a healthy organism, which takes advantage of its functions for its own good while at the same time neglecting its other constituents.
The free market, being the core of the capitalist system, is a remarkably good solution. It grants freedom of choice and a lot of space for random events that make our lives much more diversified. In the case of services, which are our secondary needs, the solution seems to be just perfect. However, it is not suitable for regulating processes responsible for supplying goods to the members of the society.
In the process of developing a new solution, human needs and preferences should be ordered in terms of importance. The top of the hierarchy should be excluded from free market-specific regulations and the process of fulfilling such needs should be planned and decentralized. The list of priorities should include the majority of food and non-food products nowadays, as well as public services, including telecommunication, transportation, etc.
All the „production-related” undertakings that are less important for our material needs should also be regulated by free market principles, including: bakeries, animal breeding and meet production facilities, gadget production facilities, decoration and gift manufacturing companies, etc. Each production-oriented undertaking or a company utilizing a greater amount of resources (and generating more waste as a result) should prior receive a proper permit to operate. All socially useful business undertakings should be automated and fully developed.
Innovativeness and creativity are the faces of the new system which would support such aspects, facilitating the development of new ideas and their implementation. It would be also connected with the transformation of the education system, which, similarly to the economy, passes on old-fashioned ideas without providing practical basics. I highly recommend reading the aforementioned book to learn more about education and its possible reforms.
On many occasions, a question has been asked of whether or not capitalism can die out. As it can be concluded basing on available pieces of evidence, said system can function for an unlimited period of time, providing that we regularly fix its flaws. When there is too great a difference between salaries in a given society, we raise taxes for the individuals earning the most and increase the so-called tax allowance for people with lowest incomes. (The aforementioned difference is caused by big producers, who direct a remarkable stream of money their way, for people are required to purchase goods from them to survive). When an increase in unemployment is identified, we introduce educational programs and create more favorable conditions for employers, which in turn motivate them to create more workplaces. (Unemployment occurs, because there is no control over how much goods are produced and what employees are required to perform a given job. That is why in capitalism, there is always surplus or shortage of properly adjusted workforce. Aside from that, competitiveness forces big players to implement new solutions, including innovative technologies that lower the total number of available workplaces and job positions).
Benefits and charities are also types of amendments that make the capitalist system more beneficial for the society. Benefits are a clear indicator of the limited ability of the system to properly distribute goods among the members of the society. Even though benefits are not of capitalist origin, they are utilized due to the fact that we have a specific hierarchy of values that goes far beyond capitalist ideas.
Capitalism will not die out if we keep focusing on addressing constantly developing issues. We can, for example, invest more in environment protection to revert, at least to a certain extent, damages caused to the world we live in as a result of our way of living. Large-scale producers have the possibility of introducing innovative technologies which in turn allow them to become more independent from the standard workforce. What is more, they focus on new directions of their business undertakings and support their remaining businesses, generating more and more profit and quickly overshadowing other players on the market. Small companies have the access to a limited share of capital only and it should therefore not be surprising that so many newly opened businesses go bankrupt so quickly. Behind those statistics, there are individual people with their needs, with their willingness to achieve something more in life, and with their expectations that are not met by the system.
The thing that negatively affects capitalism and lowers its efficiency is the rapidly developing service sector, the pace of growth of which is tremendous, especially while comparing it to the speed of expanding of the production-oriented sector. I would like to remind my readers that the volume of production is the factor that affects the quality of life of the society – the higher it is in relation to the total number of people, the lower the prices and the higher the savings after covering basic expenses (therefore, we can spend more on pursuing our secondary – yet still important – needs and goals). The modern society, which has learned what comfort is, frequently opts for services, including online, entertainment, beauty, and commerce-related ones. It is the answer why even we produce more goods and are capable of making them quicker, we also should work more to provide for ourselves and our families. Factual goods are the things that bring a true value to our lives, directly affecting their quality. If the dominant part of the society is employed in the service provision-related branch of industry, it means that goods production is the responsibility of companies that have remained in the production sector.
The companies that remained compete with one another, trying to lure customers with lowest possible prices. At this point, it can be stated that competition is beneficial for the people, for it stimulates price lowering and increasing product availability. Such a solution is good only within the scope of a distorted system. A similarly good idea would be to force people who have been locked in one room together to avoid communication in order for it not to lead to conflict. Life is not a small room and from a grand perspective, competition creates distortions and lowers the effectiveness of individual actions.
Aside from that, with a remarkable competition and low prices, the biggest possibility of remaining on the market is granted to entities which have automated their production process the most while at the same time cutting costs – which typically refers to big companies. From my personal experience, I know that entering the market with a better, healthier, but at the same time more expensive product is difficult or even impossible, for the price of a given product is the priority for consumers. That is why the society has the access to the cheapest products only that are produced by the biggest players on the market and that are not necessarily of the best quality. Constantly increasing prices of resources and energy combined with low prices offered by large-scale producers make it exceptionally problematic for new firms with a limited capital to enter the production industry. As a result, big producers have the last say when it comes to what we eat and use. It is also the reason behind service sector developing quicker than its production-based counterpart.
An old saying states that those who do not want to work should also not eat. In the current system, even work is not the guarantee of maintaining one’s quality of life at a constant level. There are not enough “chairs” for everyone and when everybody wants to seat at the end of the day, there are not enough places to rest. It is the concept rooted in times that passed and in the experiences of former generations, where there was not much value attached to human life and the limited access to basic goods made said concept seem valid. Today, we know that wealth is achievable and to reach it, we just have to organize our work and resources in a proper manner. What is more, we are more aware of our own worth and the value of our lives than we have ever been.
Regardless of the position we have in the society, each and every person can and should receive what I describe in the book as a „basic packet”, incorporating basic goods vital for survival. There are at least several possible solutions and their details are of no importance as for now. Regardless of the number of hours devoted to work, profession, education, age, etc., each and every citizen of the country should receive a set of basic goods required to survive and a specific amount of money allowing for purchasing a certain amount of food or other key resources. His and her actions and achievement will determine what additional benefits will be granted to a given person, similarly to how it is nowadays. The only difference is that in the new system law would guarantee a specific level of material protection.
Currently, said level is specified by the benefit system, but it is notably too low and depends on a myriad of factors. Protection mentioned above would make it impossible for poverty to develop and for people to lose everything due to some financial difficulties. In capitalism, a decent level of life is not guaranteed. The highest level of protection has been set by benefit system, but it cannot properly secure the entire society, for it operates within the framework of the capitalist system. It is the most effective when it comes to satisfying the needs of children and teenagers till reaching adolescence. By ensuring all mature individuals the access to all key resources, we would reach a new level of social and individual life.
It may be stated that the proposed solution would promote embezzlement. Such situations may in fact happen. However, they occur even nowadays. Therefore, the task should be to create a system that would eliminate the “leaks”. There is no squandering in nature. Fruits that fall to the ground and are not picked, later on become a natural fertilizer for trees and plants. If the produced surplus is then transformed back into useful resources, new goods can be made endlessly without the consequences that can be identified nowadays.
It should be added that the mentality of people would also change with the increasing availability of goods. The willingness to gather items (the pursuit of more goods) and the unwillingness to share with others are typical for the world where there are shortages of resources. We tend to accumulate items when we are not sure if there will be an easy access to them if need be. Gathering more things in the world of surplus is a burden and leads to naturally getting rid of unwanted goods, especially if there is certainty that we will not be short of them in the future. To provide an example, there are many devices that we use from time to time only. In the new system, such items can be borrowed with no cost such as books in a library. There are many new solutions that could be introduced in a new system.
Now, let us touch upon key advantages of the solution discussed above while at the same time expanding on some already introduced motifs.
1. Material well-being is possible thanks to controlling the volume, quality, and pace of production within the borders of the entire country. Such a state of affairs can be achieved by coordinating the work of the entire society and by automation of both the production process and many job positions in other sectors. A simplified access to goods would increase the quality of life of people and secure them against losing most vital resources allowing them for survival.
Economic development that is typically connected with the increase in the quality of life of the members of a given society, is simply the ability of a given country to produce more goods that are necessary for a decent existence, which in turn results in the possibility of purchasing more of them for the average salary of a worker. Poor countries are those, where the salary of their citizens is not enough to purchase basic goods for them and their families, making employees work more to afford vital resources. The tasks that are not done by robots have to be performed by humans, which results in producing less while at the same time wasting more workforce and resources. Similarly to differences in economy efficiency between poor and developed countries, there is an exactly the same difference between economy efficiency of developed countries and the performance of new solutions discussed herein. The current method of satisfying needs is much less efficient, time-consuming, and highly expensive (especially in terms of energy and resources).
The concept of modern business does not favor smaller businesses and the society as such. Thousands of small companies offer average goods and services in every city and town, receiving an average remuneration for that. A much more sensible idea would be to introduce the “common harvest” project basing on cooperatively realizing a set plan by using common tools and then – distribute the fruits of such labor between people. It has to be noted that there has been no mentioning about equal distribution – it is both impossible and unnecessary. There would still be a myriad of material differences, just as it is nowadays. However, the major distinctive feature and benefit of such a solution would be the fact that it would ensure a sensible level of material protection, not allowing the society to descend below a specific well-being level, at the same ensuring that most vital items and resources would be easily accessible.
If the society produces things, they should be made with maximum efficiency, not in an individual manner. Even though small markets and stalls have developed into supermarkets and malls, the mode of production based on averaging rather than maximizing efficiency has remained in force.
Even though it is the most productive solution as of yet, the current capitalist economy does not offer sufficient productivity to ensure the satisfactory quality of life of people (while at the same time satisfying their physical and psychological needs). Let us take a closer look at some reasons behind such a state of affairs. The majority of companies of the market literally wait for their customers. The smaller the company and the fiercer the competition, the longer the period they have to wait for their clients. Small shops, restaurants, cafes, beauty salons, production-oriented firms can be provided as examples, but the list is remarkably long. Aside from that, when any type of manual labor is performed by a person anywhere, it is always performed slower and with a lower accuracy. It directly translates into a low productivity of such businesses and their low utilitarian value for both the society and for individuals being parts of such undertakings. The majority of players on the market still are using a hoe instead of working in a collaborative and organized manner, ensuring the maximum automation of work in the process of satisfying our needs.
The major point of focus being put on capital in the capitalist system is the source of yet another cause of the poor productiveness of the economy. A vast majority of the society focus on nothing else than on transferring money from one place to another.
Let us take a look at an example. A person visits an exchange office to exchange £1000 to euro. Behind him, there is a person willing to exchange 1000 euro for pounds. By purchasing euro, the first client loses some of his money due to an unfavorable exchange rate. Similarly, the second client loses some of his money. The amount they have lost is the income of the exchange office, which makes it possible for its owner to spend the sum in question on purchasing goods for himself and his family. It may be a normal state of affairs in the capitalist system, but is it practical and productive? Both the buyer and the seller have lost some of their assets. Also, how pleasant is it for the exchange office owner or his employee to spend 8 hours a day in a small room for 10 or 20 years of his life?
The entire financial system is based on the same principle. In Great Britain, several million people (approximately 7% of all employment) work in the financial sector (which includes banking, insurances, financial services, investments, etc.). The financial system requires people to “manage” money in circulation, but a significant part of positions in this sector generates artificial workflow only, by executing financial operations based on transferring money from one place to another. That is why the remaining part of the society should work more, in order to ensure a proper level of production capable of satisfying people’s needs in the nationwide manner.
However, the main issue is not with the system, but with our insufficient knowledge in the field. It is important to understand that lacks and limitations with regard to satisfying material needs are predominantly caused by the inefficient organization of work. After coming to such a realization, we have to do something about that. The development of economy is uncontrolled and governmental decisions are just an attempt to give a direction to millions of random economic events. The development of economy is nothing more than the increase of its productiveness indicator with the population size maintained at the same level. New shops and service companies do not improve said indicator. It can be done by new technologies and increased work automation that allows for producing more within the same timeframe. If we want to achieve the maximum economy productiveness, we have to go beyond our current standards and economic concepts.
2. Improvement of the condition of the environment – the entire process of production, including resource utilization and waste management should be planned and centralized, which would allow for the proper protection of the environment that would be more efficient than it is currently. We know what damages have been done and what to do to fix them. However, as long the capital is used to boost the economy, there will be no willingness to fix anything…at least until we experience some environment-specific shortages and until there is the necessity to pay for a „clean” life.
3. Shortening the current workweek. It would be possible thanks to: A. Work automation (including production halls, warehouses, transportation, catering, etc.). B. Decreasing the amount of all the available goods for it to reach a sensible minimum while at the same time focusing on best solutions available. C. Coordinating work of all workers, increasing work efficiency as a result. D. Getting rid of positions that have just been keeping the system alive without granting any factual benefits for the society (the majority of the financial sector, advertising, marketing, commerce, etc.).
The majority of employed individuals perform works that are of negligible importance for the society and for their lives, but that is what the system requires them to do, for only then can they receive money. By resorting to sophisticated technological solutions and coordinating our actions, various works could be performed quicker, better, and with the use of less resources and workforce. Is it truly a sensible idea to divide production into parts and entrust them to various companies following various policies, having various motivations, and characterized by various possibilities and tools to achieve goals set for them? It is a sensible solution only when we want to produce less poorer quality items that are more expensive, while at the same time leaving a real mess behind that will have to be dealt with by many generations to come.
To provide an example, a billion of products that are made a given year in order to satisfy the needs of a particular country could be produced in a more automated manner and by resorting to less workforce. Then, with the amount of goods of the market not changing, prices of products could remain at the same level even after shortening the workweek. If a given country is capable of producing a billion items in an automated manner, than it is achievable to produce a billion more. In the current system, doubling the production would mean doubling the number of hours to be worked per week, which is simply impossible. It has to be borne in mind that the aforementioned additional billion items would help us reach the state of wellbeing.
To be more clear, I will paraphrase my thoughts. No one assumes that his or her life will be worse in the future and hopes that either tomorrow or in a year, he or she will have something to eat and to wear, a house to live in, and a vehicle to commute to work and to go on holiday in. The assumed billion of products will have to be produced to provide clothing and food for everyone. Why not to make it while at the same time engaging less workers, producing the items quicker, using less resources and energy to do so, and generating less waste? Goods production is not that complex and there is no need to divide the production process into several companies. The way we satisfy our needs nowadays leads to many side effects and manifests itself in, among others, the unavailability of some goods, the inadequate use of resources and energy, as well as the degradation of the environment. At the same time, the costs of life are so high that the majority of the society cannot purchase certain goods. They are expensive not because they should be, but rather due to an ineffective work organization. The items that are stored on shop shelves and in warehouses, as well as those which have been disposed of (due to their poor performance), could easily satisfy the needs of the society, even without increasing production volume.
Do we really need people with our remarkable potential to make hamburgers, clean, or pack goods in a factory? Only some companies can afford to automate the workflow. However, in many small companies, automation would simply not be efficient and beneficial. If we decided to replace 100 catering-oriented companies (fast foods, cafés, restaurants, canteens, etc.) with a single large-scale mall, then there would be the possibility of introducing advanced technologies allowing for quickly and efficiently preparing meals thanks to the use of machines, which could service more people than those 100 companies alone, at the same time ensuring full control over ingredients used and waste generated. It is just a singular example out of thousands we could implement to make our lives easier.
4. General social attitude improvement. The possibility of losing something or failing that is strongly highlighted nowadays leads to stress and other negative reactions, especially when things do not go the way we want them to. The certainty that our needs would be satisfied no matter what would result in a peace of mind relating to our future and the future of our beloved ones.
5. Notable decrease of delinquency in the society. People take risks and put the wellbeing and lives of others in danger only when they feel that their own wellbeing and lives are in danger. Ensuring wealth of a given society would also eliminate one of main causes of numerous crimes.
Many of us unconsciously rebel against the current order and the necessity to perform unwanted tasks that do not result in the improvement of our situation or the situation of the society as such. Said tasks simply allow us to survive and we will have to perform them again the next day. It is the manifestation of our human nature which shows us the direction and tells us that we are not going the right way.
Additionally, less prisoners would also mean lower expenses and more efficient economy.
6. Better availability of work. In the case of planned economy, we know in advance what we need and in what quantities we need it, so we are able to specify what workforce is needed to realize the set plan. In production and public service sectors, work would be available for all individuals interested. What is more, there would also be the possibility of planning one’s career and preparing for taking a given position.
There would still be the opportunity of looking for employment or opening a new company operating in the service industries, as well as running a small-scale production facility making products not included in the list of „priority goods”. The key difference while comparing the proposed system with the existing one would be that work would be always ensured and that regardless of what we would do and for how long, we would always be certain that we would receive “the basic packet” ensuring us decent quality of life.
7. Promotion of new solutions that cannot be put into effect in the age of fierce competition. Cooperation, sharing, and co-creation are keywords of the new system. We may not know that yet, but we are heading that way. The Internet, social networks, social projects, new company policies, etc. – they all show our attempts to introduce more effective solutions.
8. Social projects realized basing on societal gain rather than on profitability. Profitability shows relations between the system and a single company, so it should not surprise anyone that currently we are unable to implement many solutions that would be beneficial for the society as such.
9. Improvement of interpersonal relations. When there is nothing to fight for and when the life of an individual is not threatened, we tend to perceive ourselves and others in a more amicable manner. That would surely be yet another step on the way of humankind development.
10. Workforce independence. Capitalism depends on workforce and it is simply impossible to deny it. The beginnings of economy transformation would require the greatest engagement: the construction of halls, machinery, means of transportation, field automation, etc. However, with each and every year, the level of automation in various sectors would improve, increasing the independence of the production process from workforce.
Capitalism is a system that has no future. Just as people try to survive from payment to payment, the system focuses on the present day only, not only not guaranteeing people a brighter future, but also threatening it by inadequate resource exploitation and its harmful impact on the environment. Many of us are not aware of how the way we earn for a living results in the degradation of the environment. It is caused, in part, by the fact that we do not feel that we are capable of doing something about that. Also, we do not see tangible differences in urban areas, where the biggest groups of people live. However, it has to be noted that with time, the Earth becomes a gigantic waste bin, our lakes start resembling sewers, and we pollute air every single day with hazardous gases.
The new system discussed herein would control that and would notably affect our quality of life. In its case, things would only improve with time – every single year, we would explore and implement new solutions, automate the process of working more, and – as a result – make the workweek shorter. We would implement new solutions in the field of transportation, which would allow us to travel around the world quickly and in an inexpensive manner. The key thing is to create a system that would care about the needs of people and the environment, at the same time being independent from workforce (with regard to tasks we do not want to perform ourselves). In the capitalist system, we know that tomorrow we will have to work as hard as today to achieve the same outcome and to survive. Such a system cannot ensure a brighter future.
Development should affect every sphere of life. Every single organism develops, so a system created by humans should develop as well. The pace of development is undoubtedly quicker in individual companies than in the entire system. Individual firms implement new technological solutions, cut costs, increase production volume and speed, enhance management-related schemes, and open new branches or start operating in new sectors. Our system not only develops slowly, but also constantly hinders its capabilities by improperly exploiting resources and negatively affecting the environment. The current system has to be regularly supported by performing the same amount of work to achieve the same result.
8-10 hours of work a day is much more than our body can withstand while at the same time maintaining inner comfort. Even if we perform our favorite task for such a long period, we may have enough of it. However, such a time investment is required to keep the system running. The citizens of poorer countries would have to work even longer to achieve the state of wellbeing we have nowadays. Not only the amount of money we make, but also the work we perform is a decisive factor when it comes to the quality of life. The more mature the person, the more comfortable way of working he or she chooses.
The technical side of introducing a new system incorporates a myriad of factors that will not be discussed here. The aim of this publication is predominantly to educate and inspire. The new solution is a challenge, but we should ask ourselves the following: what is the most important thing in our lives? Do we value our (material) wellbeing, good mood, properly maintained environment, and lots of free time? After answering those questions, we have to look for a solution and other factors would come to place.
The capitalist system is not a sensible solution. It does not truly care about the environment we live in (and we are dependent on), nor does it offer the amount and quality of goods that would satisfy the needs of the society. To start with, we have to agree that it is not a good system in the long run. Sooner or later, changes will turn out to be necessary. We may introduce them sooner – in a reasonable and sensible manner, or later – challenged by consequences and limited by time.
For some, the proposed solution may seem logical, but impossible to put into effect. The truth is that human nature specifies the validity and achievability of things basing on habits. Each and every generation that is brought up in given conditions accustom to them and later on – consider such conditions to be natural and most likely, even if they have to struggle with poverty, war, or illnesses. Our goal is to specify what we want from life and create favorable conditions for that to happen. Then, the next generation will not object. What is more, its representatives will look back shocked, not being able to believe that we could live with such limitations, just as we cannot believe that our grandparents could live in wartime.
Individuals interested with the topic may familiarize themselves with the book entitled „Life after we choose, the way beyond capitalism” and engage in the discussion then. (The book is almost finished and information relating to them will be sent to the reader on his or her request). If you are willing to and can reach other people with this idea, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Now is not the time of implementing changes, but rather the time of considering solutions that would make our lives better. As we are thinking beings, we can and should consider other options and regularly improve our lives. The majority of us know all too well that the efficiency of the current system is marginal, but we cannot do anything while acting on our own. For many centuries, we have not been granted enough opportunities to develop the habit of cooperation, for we have opted for separation and extreme acts of hostility, such as conflicts and wars. Last few decades have changed a lot in that regard, for they have shown our natural willingness to cooperate and support one another.