115. The ideal socialist plan
1. In its principles, socialism leads to a form of anti-economy because, in order at last to establish equality, it advocates the suppression of private property, which it regards as the primary cause of all the evils of capitalist society. It also attacks all private power involving the management of enterprises, the direction of investments and future planning. For a modern socialist a real economic democracy presupposes the collective appropriation of both the major and minor means of production, capital and land. It also presupposes the management of business by the workers – at all levels, right to the very top – and the management of the national economy by the whole people.
2. Moreover, equality of goods demands a just sharing out of wealth and a continual redistribution of revenues. This new socialist demand should logically lead it to condemn the market and to envisage its radical suppression. As a corollary of this, it should demand the suppression of money and ultimately the extirpation of the very idea of profit from the heart of man. Then men would no longer have the ties of the market between them ; they would no longer be led by selfish interest, but by the sense of collective interest ; the “ convivial society ” (Ivan Illitch), which is the socialist ideal, would appear.
3. Now, the market is the essential structure, money is the fluid element and individual interest is the primary motivator of economic life. If these three elements were suppressed, one would wonder what would be left of the natural and traditional human relationships. If socialism rightly stigmatises capitalism’s radical injustice, capitalism regains its advantage by challenging the socialists to feed the people as well or better than it does. It asks them by what means they can do this.
4. Since Socialism is unable to integrate the market, it is condemned to shine especially in electoral and parliamentary opposition, which is fruitful and without risk. If for a time it takes power, it tries to appear in a good light by distributing and squandering what conservative governments before it had saved. Distant from its political and economic responsibilities and lurking in the Civil Service and trade unions, it feeds on dreams and builds utopian model societies, where men no longer have passions to master or bodies to feed. As for economic structures, production mechanisms and exchange controls, nothing !
5. When Socialism is urged to act, it will call on the State, it necessarily generates state control. It takes on the form of political totalitarianism. It is the logic outcome of an integral democracy, where the people administer their own justice, govern themselves and see to their own administration in every domain through the State they have set up. The State, the emanation of the people, governing on behalf of the people, is the nation’s infallible protector and manager. The error and the crime of the bourgeoisie were to take from the State all economic power, so that it thereafter fell into the hands of the unjust. Socialism restores all power to the State. It is perfectly logical and follows from a democratic blind faith.
6. The justice-dispensing State accedes to the peoples’ demands. It suppresses private property and all private power of economic control. The proprietor State becomes the administrator of public wealth and, as the only social power, it manages all economic activity. The sense of the general interest, which the democratic State possesses by definition, gives it competence and prudence. It is therefore the perfect replacement for the whole delicate mechanism of the free market and its subtle regulation by the capitalist class. No more financial speculation, no more pursuit of the maximum profit, no more free play of supply and demand, no more anarchic competition ! State control is perfect. A bureaucracy of functionaries gathers and classifies information and determines the real needs of the collectivity. A state technocracy fixes the objectives and modes of production by means of a series of plans, which ensure the exact satisfaction of people’s needs, without shortage, without excess and without waste.