Thursday, March 19, 2009


My teenage years took place in a time and place in which the word "revolution" was as alluring to the young as it was forbidden by the elders. Decades later, I wonder what all that mouthing the r-word accomplished. Yet, as I watch a pauperizing worldwide crisis unroll before my eyes, I wonder ... isn't it time for revolution, a worldwide revolution?

Don't get me wrong. Millions of tortured, imprisoned, dead and "disappeared" people have convinced me that merely overthrowing a government accomplishes nothing. Indeed, most governments are not really the problem.

At the source of the economic crisis is a system of money power that serves the greediest few and corrupts the many. That's what needs overthrowing. Let's democratize economic decision-making and take it out of the hands of the tailor-suited financial elite. Profits generated by efficiencies and collective labor should be shared throughout the complex society that makes such profits even possible.

Could ordinary folks do any worse than these MBA geniuses have done? Let's try a few revolutionary steps:
  • Turn for-profit corporations into sectorally organized publicly owned and controlled enterprises, run by specialists serving councils of elected workers and citizens;
  • nationalize Chrysler and GM and turn them into producers of public, low-energy-consuming light and heavy rail and other systems of transportation, eventually making the car unnecessary, to be replaced by bicycles and light motorcycles.
  • Re-establish progressivity of taxation and higher tax brackets;
  • tax all inheritance 100% and put the proceeds into a fund for the education and support of all children and the support of those unable to work;
  • expropriate all capital fleeing the country to avoid revolutionary rules;
  • nationalize the banking system;
  • close all stock exchanges and other markets of speculation, compensating account holders up to $5,000,000 per household;
  • replace insurance companies with public trust funds;
  • merge private and public education into a national free system incentivized through vouchers;
  • abolish private medicine and private health institutions, creating a single health care system open to all.
What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Sembri un vero e proprio socialista -- bravo!


Anonymous said...

Tertullio, my friend, the question is not whether a wordwide revolution should happen - it's already underway. The revolution I mean is post-industrial production, made possible by technology.

It's production without labor. 50 staffers at Skype can accomplish what 50'000 workers at ATT used to do: provide worldwide phone service for all. And as its production doesn't require labor, it's practically free. Software, once written, can be reproduced ("scaled") without limit, and the hardware we need can increasingly be produced by robots.

Post-industrial production is production without labor. This means the END OF THE JOB. Repeat after me: The AGE OF THE JOB is past. The traditional "job", which has determined our consciousness for 300 years, is gone forever. The jobs now being lost will not come back. We don't need the workers anymore.

This means the end of capitalism. Without labor to be exploited, there's no "surplus value" and no accumulation of private capital. The electronic chip and the internet have pulled the rug from under capitalism. But what will replace it is completely open. Certainly it won't be Soviet-style Socialism, as this system, like capitalism, was geared to industrially-organized mass production. The new technology, for the first time in history, makes it possible to construct Communism (we don't have to work anymore, and everything is free!). But how this will come about is completely open. Certainly it will not happen through a Leninist-style revolution based on "cadres" leading the masses. (This kind of revolution was appropriate for 20th-century industrial production, where the work of the masses was directed from above, by the party leaders and their "plan" or the executives acting in the name of the "market".)

It's going to be a new kind of revolution, probably based on "enlightened" individuals. (Yes, my friends, we are past the age of materialism, too). How can YOU help prepare a society without jobs and without money?