Future Socialism— Why Socialism is Sexy Now

In July 2017, the Carbon Majors Report was released, which highlighted that the top 100 companies in the world were responsible for 71% of carbon emissions. This is seriously damaging to the welfare of the planet and is causing climate change. This is often uncharted territory for many, but we must unite with environmentalists – and other pressure groups – to take on yet another threat posed by capitalism. Encouraging recycling and banning fracking is only the tip of the ever-melting iceberg.

Taking account of this, and of the economic catastrophe that neoliberalism has brought upon this world, socialists must dig deep and go back to their roots as utopian visionaries. We need to give people hope and prove that a better future is possible. We must embrace green technology, switch to green energy and create green jobs. This will benefit not only the planet but also our own future and economy – and give people secure, meaningful jobs for the future. Politicians are encouraging the people to do all they can with regard to recycling, but politicians must take on the responsibility of doing something about the environment. They must hold capitalism to account. Multinational corporations are happy to derive profits from this world, but that imposes a collective responsibility on them – just like the rest of us – to deal with this oncoming storm.

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“Just stop talking about philanthropy and start talking about taxes. … We can invite Bono once more, but we’ve got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion,” proclaimed Rutger Bregman. The Dutch historian and writer was speaking to a room full of billionaires at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum – better known as Davos – high in the Swiss mountains. [1]

Let’s be honest, philanthropy and charitable donations are not enough. They have never been enough; they merely provide a passing feel-good factor for the comfortably off. We must go further as a society; we must change the economic lives of all. We must rein in the free market and no-holds-barred capitalists who think they can buy their way out. We must impose restrictions and regulations on capitalism. We must set taxes and environmental targets. The time for playing nice is over – the social democrats had their chance and failed. Now it is the turn of the democratic socialists.

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Climate change is a looming disaster that will affect us all, and the current economic climate is a disaster that is affecting us all right now. The future looks bleak. We must instil hope: we must be the thinkers, the doers and the leaders of the future.

That includes embracing bold ideas to change the stagnant, unequal society that we have today. These include ideas such as a four-day working week for the same pay. Why should people work fifty hours a week with no time for themselves? They need time with friends and family, time to relax, and time to enjoy life. This is a human right. [3]

Furthermore, this can be achieved through the automation of work using robots. Work that puts human lives at risk will be done by robots in the future, but only if we make this happen. We control our future in this respect. We must get machines to work for us, to make our lives easier, rather than letting companies use them to manage us. The micromanaging of productivity, down to monitoring toilet breaks, happens and is inhuman. No one should have to work in these conditions for minimal pay. Robots can improve our working conditions rather than making them worse. [2]

Free money? A universal basic income is the idea that everybody can have a basic standard of living and a basic wage to live on. It’s been researched for years, with positive results, and is not a benefit but a right. A right that says no one should live below the poverty line. Universal basic services are a step before this and make sure that no one is left without help when they need it. Basic free healthcare, public transportation, education for life, and social care if you need it. [3]

A hundred years ago, people were sceptical of free healthcare. Now it represents the standard the world over. Let’s raise those standards again. We are the people who can make the future happen.

This is an extract from my book ” Basic Socialism: Why Socialism is Sexy Now”

Currently available here

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References:

1, L. Elliot, “‘This is about saving capitalism’: the Dutch historian who savaged Davos elite,” The Guardian, 1 Febuary 2019.

2, N. Srnicek and A. Williams, Inventing the Future (revised and updated edition): Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, London: Verso, 2016.

3, J. McDonnell and Various Authors, Economics for the Many, London: Verso, 2018.

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