1F256 A globally renewed social organization and structure of production

A globally renewed social organization and structure of production:

In a Globally Renewed Society, the guarantee of a universal standard of living and the associated provision of the necessary services and goods for the whole population of the planet would be entirely feasible, both as regards the corresponding energy and raw material needs and the requisite labour force. The potential of renewable sources of energy, such as solar radiation, wind and water power, geothermal heat, wave and tidal energy, exceeds many times over any conceivable human energy consumption. Renewable raw materials and biodegradable synthetic materials can already replace any kind of natural raw material (mineral resources) at the current stage of advanced technology. By the same token feeding even a global population of over ten billion people poses no problem – already today more food is produced than is consumed[1] (however, see the problem of overpopulation etc.).

The provision (production and distribution) of services and goods is not the problem. Much more difficult is the precise collection and processing of geographically specific (local) data concerning demand/utilisation or consumption of goods and services. Speedy and error-free data collection calls for the development and programming of corresponding electronic information systems, which would facilitate in turn cybernetically controlled production processes.

In its essentials, the actual (technical) production system and (logistical) distribution system for goods and services in a Globally Renewed Society would not differ fundamentally from their present-day counterparts, namely those of materialistic capitalism. The production of a stool, a pair of spectacles or a PC would not change de facto. Likewise the goods produced would be offered in specialist shops, as at present. So too, services, such as a consultation or rehabilitation therapy following a knee operation, would continue to be offered by the same providers. The fundamental difference from materialistic capitalism, however, is that goods and services assigned to the commons, which thus are part of universal standard of living, no longer have (or can have) a corresponding monetary value, that is, they can no longer be purchased but are provided to human beings for their use or enjoyment (free of charge). The model to be aimed at would also differ markedly from the system that currently prevails regarding working conditions. Strict compliance with appropriate, globally valid social and environmental norms would be the mainstay of all work processes.      

As regards the issue of where production sites should be located – that is, the definition of comparative production advantages of different geographical production locations – it is indispensable, not only for technical reasons of production and on environmental grounds, but also in order to achieve a global social equilibrium and to ensure a universal planetary standard of living through the envisaged commons, to plan and, where necessary, redistribute not only locally but also at the planetary level. This means, for example, that regions threatened by drought or erosion would no longer have to be (or be permitted to be) exploited for agricultural purposes, because the indigenous local population would in any case have access to a universal standard of living (including supply of food) which would be provided by the global society – in this case, for example, through surplus production in other global regions and a corresponding allocation of the necessary goods.    

Of course, this does not exclude that even a modest peasant form of agriculture or other family based small-scale economic pursuits can be socially useful and contribute to the local food security or to other forms of commodity and service production – in that the goods produced are made available on the local (demand) market and thus support the creation of a universal standard of living.

Aside from existential necessities, such as clothing and basic foodstuffs, healthcare and education, the kind and number of goods and services for which there would be a demand in a globally renewed society would be shaped by its priorities, that is its system of values, which would also automatically necessitate a correspondingly oriented structure of production. For example, the forms of packaging and the advertising machinery typical of a classical competitive system are no longer be required and would be replaced by environmentally sustainable protective packaging and objective product information.   

Goods and services of daily or work use, together with those in the recreational sphere, are defined in essence by the commons and mostly belong to the universal standard of living. Indispensable in this regard is a general oversight or registration of the demand and of the corresponding consumption or use. For example, a family with two children could not go into a furniture store and order (or collect) five sofas – no more than a single person could take a five-hour massage in a massage centre or take home fifty books from a bookstore every week.

Through democratic participatory procedures guidelines would be worked out (for example a maximum amount of a good per family), which would guarantee a reasonable (though generous) use of goods and services for all members of society.

Nevertheless it can be assumed that in a globally renewed society based on a new set of values, whose members have in addition developed a collective sense of solidarity through formation and education, and which thus regards material accumulation for one’s own benefit as wrong and harmful, a deliberate misuse of social goods and services (for personal gain) would be quite improbable.

The supply of goods and services will not, as under conditions of materialistic capitalism, be regulated through the interplay between the costs of production and a demand linked to purchase price, purchasing power and an (often artificially generated or induced) need (scarcity/demand), but will orient itself exclusively to the actual social demand and to the feasible production and distribution capacities. Generally speaking, however, the demand for goods and services (of a particular kind and number) will be primarily adjusted to the values accorded highest priority by the globally renewed society (for example, there will be no demand for environmentally destructive cars, weapons, etc.).  

In general, just considering the foreseeable demand in the at present (economically) developed countries, there would be a substantial decline in overall economic production. Superfluous businesses and services which would be rejected on environmental grounds and in the light of the new scale of values – such as the arms and fossil fuels industries, the advertising industry, the banking and insurance sectors, the luxury goods industry – would be shut down and the overproduction of inessential consumer goods would be scaled back to socially and environmentally acceptable levels. In the case of the at present (economically) underdeveloped countries, by contrast, the demand and thus the necessary supply (production/distribution) of goods and services which are assigned to the universal standard of living would undergo a corresponding increase. Factored across the entire planet, in the globally renewed society to be achieved, there will be a substantial overall reduction[2] in the industrial production of goods in particular, which is in keeping with the need for environmental sustainability and a solidarity-based humane (and no longer material consumerist) social order. 

[1] To ensure the stability of market prices (and thus the incomes of producers), the European Union, for example, has for decades pursued an agrarian policy geared to reducing the levels of production of selected goods, including, among other things, the destruction of foodstuffs that have already been produced. In addition: About 50% of food stuff traded in the industrial nations ends up in the garbage; the post-harvest losses in third countries are estimated at 20-35%.

[2] By factoring in the then possible – because now liberated from the diktat of money – increase in efficiency of all production systems, this would also substantially reduce the planetary requirement/demand for energy of the society. (Politics today just focus on how to service/satisfy the constantly rising energy demand. Instead of posing, also in the debate about energy, the fundamental question – whether we indeed want and need this continuously growing avalanche of goods.)