Working and consumption under anarchism?

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explainthingstome's picture
explainthingstome
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Jun 30 2019 11:42

"[I]t is obvious from your posts that you do believe that [when wage labor is abolished, nothing else will change about the ways in which people engage in creative activity]."

I don't think I would agree with that. Work in general would probably be more enjoyable under communism than now. But I don't know if that means that work would not stop being seen as work. (More on that later.) So the whole paragraph about me being intellectually lazy becomes meaningless in this discussion.

"All the stuff that people do in capitalist society will still have to be done, and then some."

No, I believe that many types of work will be gone. Like advertising, the military, banking etc.
It was someone else who brought up restaurants, I started talking about it without thinking too much about it. But it wasn't really a big part of the discussion.

Then you bring up hunter-gatherer societies, and while I certainly agree that they worked without wages, they didn't have much work to do. I would assume that future communism would be a lot more labour-intensive.

"There will be no division of labor"

But some work demands years of education, like surgery or engineering. Isn't it likely that surgeons , to a great extent atleast, are going to remain in that field and not be mathematicians aswell?
They could do other work aswell, but if I was an engineer I would probably do some other kind of work that didn't require as much knowledge.
I think the division of labour would be less "narrow", but I don't think specializing would dissappear.

"It has not fulfilled all our material needs, but it has developed productive forces to an extent that makes the fulfillment of our needs possible. In fact, it has overdeveloped them. So yes, getting rid of some types of work will be the priority."

That capitalism has developed the productive forces to the extent that we will be able fulfill our needs doesn't say anything about whether or not we have to build a lot more houses.
But maybe I don't understand what "productive forces" means and you're saying that we basically already have enough houses etc, but they're not being used?

"As someone said forty years ago, half of the factories will have to be closed."

That's just a statement without any motivation for it, and so is your Jasper Berens quote.

"Maybe. Maybe it will just require some of the work already done in those fields to be done in other places instead."

I don't fully understand what you mean here. Do you mean that the same amount of labour will be required under communism as under today, and we just have to move that labour to some other location?

"Other than that, the notion that communism is somehow tied to great feats of construction seems to be an anachronistic echo of the 1930s Stalinist industrialization drive."

Come on, that's just guilt by association. I can do the same to you and make a link between you and other people who don't want the people living in carboard boxes to get better housing.

"My anarchism is a response to the conditions of my daily life"

Many other working people in your part of the world aren't anarchists but adherents to the present system.
Just like how anarchists and anti-socialists are formed under similar social conditions, I believe that there will be working people and slackers who grow up under communism. The activity of slacking off just doesn't appear strange to me, limited only to capitalist society.

"A wish to remain permanently inactive would not be a response to the conditions of daily life in communist society."

I'm not just talking about people who want to remain "permanently inactive" or people who identify "inactivity as happiness", I'm also talking about people who might do two hours of work a week, and then engage in activities that do not in general produce any product to society, such as cycling, baking a cake for themselves, watching TV etc. Which kind of brings me to the question of "work will be like leisure time".
Do you spend your whole days washing the dishes, cleaning your apartment, picking up garbage in the street etc? These are not wage labour activities, so do you not see any difference between doing these things and any activity that you would describe as "fun"?

"[That] people would undergo the ‘lazybones testing’, means a preliminary selection panel."

I guess so. Membership of the panel could rotate around the population.

"Backed with positive reinforcement, it’s a better carrot, than a kick in the butt. [...] Genuine ‘indifference’ is I would suggest very rare."

And with positive reinforcement you mean showing gratitude, smiling at them etc? I don't know if I believe that that's enough for a minor but nevertheless significant part of the population.

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Jul 5 2019 01:19

Explainthingstome: To what extent are you convinced of the position that you're arguing here? Are these just doubts and uncertainties you have? Or are they things you are quite firmly convinced of? Or are you just frustrated by the level of optimism here and thus playing "devil's advocate"? (Not to equate your position with the devil, but you know what I mean!)

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explainthingstome
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Jul 5 2019 07:21

I don't know if I would say that I am extremely convinced of what I say in this thread. But I do kind of believe in most of what I've said. I'm open to changing my mind, as that would make things less complicated for me. However...

I feel that a lot of the answers that have been given here aren't convincing enough to make me change my views. One example is the answer that labour will be like leisure just because wage labour will dissappear. My answer to that is that people do non-wage work today (taking out the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the room etc) and are often not particurarily thrilled about doing it. How would you respond to this argument?

zugzwang
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Jul 5 2019 08:29
explainthingstome wrote:
I don't know if I would say that I am extremely convinced of what I say in this thread. But I do kind of believe in most of what I've said. I'm open to changing my mind, as that would make things less complicated for me. However...

I feel that a lot of the answers that have been given here aren't convincing enough to make me change my views. One example is the answer that labour will be like leisure just because wage labour will dissappear. My answer to that is that people do non-wage work today (taking out the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the room etc) and are often not particurarily thrilled about doing it. How would you respond to this argument?

There are people who actually derive pleasure from doing things like landscaping, gardening etc., not to mention people for example who enjoy writing code in their leisure. I'd imagine people might enjoy tending to their lawn even more without all the stresses/worries of capitalism, coming home from work exhausted etc.

Mike Harman
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Jul 5 2019 08:35
Jef Costello wrote:
I am not entirely sure what communist education would be like, but it would be much more intensive in terms of labour, it wouldn't be groups of 30 kids listening to someone at a board. (Incidentally independent learning generally does require a carefully thought out framework, but may not do so under communism, where we won't have bludgeoned out a child's love of learning)

There have been a lot of attempts at transforming schooling in the past century, so we can look at some of them as examples:

Since 1976, some nursing homes and nurseries have either officially combined, or organise regular visits: https://www.ageukmobility.co.uk/mobility-news/article/intergenerational-...

This obviously massively increases the adult to child ratio for interaction, and also the interaction that the residents get.

Summerhill is a school in Suffolk that used to have 100% optional lessons, restorative justice etc. it's still going but I don't think it's like that any more. Also while it was internally very radical it was obviously a private school where generally well off families sent 'difficult' kids who weren't handling regular schooling, but this doesn't mean there's not lots to learn from the internal stuff.
https://libcom.org/library/summerhill-education-versus-standard-educatio...

Going back further Franciso Ferrer and the Modern School.

Also stuff like outdoor nurseries: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/09/the-school-in-the-wood...

Then there's the whole system of extra-curricular activities - martial arts, sports, dance lessons and groups, music lessons, orchestras, drama clubs and similar, that are able to run without any kind of disciplinary system because the kids generally want to be there. There's various problems with these as well (not least cost, although that's one that wouldn't exist with wage labour abolished).

Also sort of at the other extreme but relevant to the cleaning discussion. In Japanese schools they have 'cleaning time' every day, where kids clean their classrooms, the hallway floors and windows collectively with the teachers right from 6-7 years old into secondary school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLo0phnh-kA. They still have actual janitors, not sure how much difference the kids cleaning actually makes although probably a bit.

Part of it is creating situations where kids can pick things up naturally, part of it is making it a participatory experience for adults rather than simply 'teaching' so it's enjoyable for them too.

Also for basics like reading, the current system works against this. Kids tend to learn vocabulary best from actually reading books with family and similar, but if you spend almost the entire time they're awake out at work, while they're looked after in under-staffed day care, there's not much time for that. Then schools end up trying to compensate for this by having supervised reading classes or 'embedding' literacy and numeracy all the way up to post-16. So just having less time in work and formal education would allow this sort of one-to-one interaction to happen more rather than less.

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Jul 5 2019 08:41

Certainly I take pleasure in doing some unpaid work, simply because I know it needs to be done, or that some sort advantageous outcome can be achieved for myself or others. I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that.

Quote:
ne example is the answer that labour will be like leisure just because wage labour will dissappear. My answer to that is that people do non-wage work today (taking out the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the room etc) and are often not particurarily thrilled about doing it. How would you respond to this argument?

Well, I’d agree that I don’t think labour and leisure will become universally indistinguishable, but I also think there will often be a blurred line between them and sometimes the indistinguishability will be complete. Hell, I’ve even experienced that in a wage labour so I’m sure it will be reasonably common in communism.
I understand your viewpoint but I think you lean too far into pessimism. You know doubt think that me and others are too optimistic which is fair enough. To some degree at least we’re only going to be able to answer such questions once the culture is being established. I dare say it will vary from area to area and it will probably be the case that in different areas both our perspectives will be prove to be the most realistic. However, whatever the reality, I feel sure that trying to set out some sort of meritocratic framework that guides the distribution of goods would be a bad thing in both principle and praxis.

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Jul 6 2019 09:31

I agree that a lot of people very much enjoy some kind of leisure-activity that demands labour. In fact I think this applies to most if not all people. But I don't think that this means that communism would mean that all or even most of the types of work that's currently wage labour would be as enjoyable as todays leisure activities. It's therefore a risk that most people will do work but not enough of it to fulfill societies needs, and there's also a risk that a minority of lazy people will find work almost as boring as they do now.

"Certainly I take pleasure in doing some unpaid work, simply because I know it needs to be done, or that some sort advantageous outcome can be achieved for myself or others. I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that."

But have you ever been in a situation where you felt that you had to do an unfair amount of work because a flatmate or whatever wasn't making an effort? If so, didn't that make your labour feel a lot less enjoyable?

"To some degree at least we’re only going to be able to answer such questions once the culture is being established."

Isn't that a bit of a pig in a poke? I mean if it's the case that the amount of work done isn't enough then we're pretty screwed, assuming that no meritocratic framework is possible or good?

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Jul 6 2019 10:47
Quote:
But I don't think that this means that communism would mean that all or even most of the types of work that's currently wage labour would be as enjoyable as todays leisure activities.

I agree with this statement, where we probably differ is in how important a consideration we think this is

Quote:
But have you ever been in a situation where you felt that you had to do an unfair amount of work because a flatmate or whatever wasn't making an effort? If so, didn't that make your labour feel a lot less enjoyable?

Yes, I’ve been in that situation, but whilst it was very annoying, it didn’t make doing the dishes less enjoyable - I never enjoyed doing the dishes in the first place! However, I can still derive pleasure from it, the pleasure of knowing something that needed to be done, has been done. The pleasure of having a clean, tidy environment to prepare a meal in. The pleasure of knowing that I have done something for the common good. Maybe some people would let their resentment guide their actions? If so, yes, that could be a problem, my view is only conjecture, as is yours, both highly subjective - I have very little to go on apart from my own experience, which is that the vast majority of people are willing to do their bit. I think that in a non coercive culture, that willingness will be increased.
I’m kind of neutral to washing dishes but I actually hate sweeping the yard - it’s large and the surface is uneven, it takes around an hour to do and I always need to take a shower after coz I’m filthy dirty. Fuck knows where all the dust comes from! I hate doing this but nobody else in the household is prepared to do it and I know it needs to be done so every week or so I get on with it. So I hate doing it, nobody will help me, yet I consistently do this work and of all the work I do, both paid and unpaid, it’s the work that, once completed, gives me by far the greatest satisfaction. I’m so glad it’s done, the yard looks lovely and clean, and I know that for a few days at least, me and my family can sit out there at the table and enjoy the clean environment. This pleasure/satisfaction is not insignificant, and I’m sure will apply to broader societal relations too.

Quote:
Isn't that a bit of a pig in a poke? I mean if it's the case that the amount of work done isn't enough then we're pretty screwed, assuming that no meritocratic framework is possible or good?

Not sure what a ‘pig in a poke’ is but it doesn’t sound very vegan so I hope I haven’t created one! Seriously though, we’re supposed to be dismantling hierarchies aren’t we, not creating new ones? We don’t know if a labour shortage will occur due to laziness or whatever, and if the problem did develop we don’t know if a meritocratic framework would be effective. Why build somethings don’t know will be effective, for a problem that we don’t know will occur?
If this problem did occur then we can apply directly contextualised thought to the matter and see what solutions we can create. Surely if we’ve managed to create a revolution, we can manage to find other solutions to this issue than deprivation fuelled coercion?

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Jul 6 2019 14:12

"I think that in a non coercive culture, that willingness [to do their bit] will be increased."

What argument makes you the most convinced of this?

"I’m so glad it’s done, the yard looks lovely and clean, and I know that for a few days at least, me and my family can sit out there at the table and enjoy the clean environment. This pleasure/satisfaction is not insignificant, and I’m sure will apply to broader societal relations too.

This made me think of another thing. Cleaning the yard gives you the possibility to "consume" the yard. Your work activity had a clear link to your own consumption. But working in a computer factory might not have the same satisfaction, assuming that you don't need all the computers that you help produce. So in that situation, you're producing something that you don't consume.
Do you think that this situation would be common under communism, and if so, do you think it would decrease the willingness to work?

"Not sure what a ‘pig in a poke’ is"

A pig in a poke is a thing that is bought without first being inspected, and thus of unknown authenticity or quality. The pig in this case is communism.
You ask "why build something [that we] don't know will be effective, for a problem that we don’t know will occur?" But what would you say to the generic anti-communist who says "why establish a society that we don't know will work properly?"
My answer to such a question would perhaps be that it's very likely that we would be able to produce the bare minimum for a decent life under communism without having to have labour vouchers or something similar.
Such a society, while having a more limited supply of products, would probably be workable since only producing what is necessary and maybe a bit more (books and footballs etc) would probably not require that much work by everyone compared to having a lot of the "luxurious" items that we have today (such as cars).

zugzwang
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Jul 6 2019 16:25
explainthingstome wrote:
"I think that in a non coercive culture, that willingness [to do their bit] will be increased."

What argument makes you the most convinced of this?

"I’m so glad it’s done, the yard looks lovely and clean, and I know that for a few days at least, me and my family can sit out there at the table and enjoy the clean environment. This pleasure/satisfaction is not insignificant, and I’m sure will apply to broader societal relations too.

This made me think of another thing. Cleaning the yard gives you the possibility to "consume" the yard. Your work activity had a clear link to your own consumption. But working in a computer factory might not have the same satisfaction, assuming that you don't need all the computers that you help produce. So in that situation, you're producing something that you don't consume.
Do you think that this situation would be common under communism, and if so, do you think it would decrease the willingness to work?

People would get together and decide whether they wanted to produce electronic devices like laptop computers or not, which involves more than just a single factory; it also involves digging up the geological material that goes into a computer, transporting it, processing it etc. (We don't really need to worry about people writing software because people already do that in their leisure today, free and open source software e.g.) My hunch is that there also wouldn't be all the competing brands (and waste of resources) of laptops, but maybe a few rational designs.The character of this type of work would also be different. The capitalist division of labour where one worker today might spend their entire workday tending to one machine or tightening screws would not exist in a communist society (because that's not enjoyable), and also, as mentioned, technology could be used to make work lighter and eliminate certain work altogether (as they're already discussing now in Foxconn factories through automation, not to the benefit of workers of course). I think it also goes without saying that Nike sweatshops and fastfood restaurants wouldn't just 'continue existing' in a communist society.

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Jul 6 2019 16:34
Quote:
What argument makes you the most convinced of this?

No argument as such, just a lifetime of experience.

Quote:
This made me think of another thing. Cleaning the yard gives you the possibility to "consume" the yard. Your work activity had a clear link to your own consumption. But working in a computer factory might not have the same satisfaction, assuming that you don't need all the computers that you help produce. So in that situation, you're producing something that you don't consume.
Do you think that this situation would be common under communism, and if so, do you think it would decrease the willingness to work?

The situation in a wider social setting seems to me to be analogous with the situation I described in my household. Yes, I ‘consume’ the clean dishes and the tidy yard, but in a broader context I would consume computers and I would consume public spaces, I mean fuck man, I would even consume sewers! The fact that I don’t need all of the computers doesn’t make it nonsensical for me to play a part in producing a number of computers, one of which I will use. Anyways, why would I not want to contribute to the production of a range of goods and services? I’ve no personal use for a wheelchair, yet I’d be very happy to build them, I don’t like certain fruits but I’d be happy to pick them.
Maybe you think that people are too selfish and lazy to contribute to anything beyond their immediate needs and surroundings? If so, there’s not much I can do about it except tell you that I don’t agree.
Maybe I’m an silly optimistic utopian, maybe you’re a negative minded misery guts? Hell, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure you’re as frustrated with my position as I am with yours, right?
Essentially, we’re repeating our disagreement in different scenarios. You: people are selfish assholes. Me: People are willing to contribute and may be more willing still in communism. Probably best to leave it at that. Or maybe we should meet up and discuss it over a cup of coffee. Would you make us both a cup of coffee though? Or would you only make one for yourself? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have to make my own coffee!

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Jul 6 2019 16:53

Maybe take a look at this...

https://libcom.org/library/mutual-aid-peter-kropotkin

Or even dig up Darwin’s views on the tendency for humans to cooperate and it’s relation to evolution.

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Jul 6 2019 21:15
explainthingstome wrote:

What argument makes you the most convinced of this?

...

You ask "why build something [that we] don't know will be effective, for a problem that we don’t know will occur?" But what would you say to the generic anti-communist who says "why establish a society that we don't know will work properly?"

People perform unpaid labour every single day in spite of living in a system that degrades such labour. Honestly I worry if men wil be the problem, because women shoulder a larger proportion of this labour.

We want to establish a society that we do know will work, we just don't know exactly how the details will work. What is certain is that we are barreling towards environmental collapse. Capitalism has shown itself unable to deal with that problem. The mental and physical toll that this system takes is too high, why should we be angry and stressed because we are doing useless things for people who don't need them? Why should workers die from industrial accidents? Why should our healthcare systems enrich some and leave millions to die?

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Jul 7 2019 12:21

This is a bit random, hope it makes some sense.

Taking up Noah’s point about examples from everyday life - there is several activities I don’t like. An example - it has been many years since I’ve ironed any clothes, I buy drip dry.

A general principle I try and live by, is not to ask, or expect, anyone to do anything I would not do myself.

Being a bit claustrophobic I am not prepared to go down a mine, etc. Many people probably do not feel the same way – good, if it is thought essential, let them do the work. If no one wishes to, then we’ll all adapt.

I have always been amazed that there is no shortage of volunteers to be coastguards* or mountain rescuers. I have had the privilege of knowing a good number workers who took pride in doing their tasks diligently. I had an operation a few years ago and it was obvious the pride and satisfaction these people took in their work. Again this work is not for everyone. I’ve had friends who loved to exercise their mechanical engineering skills. One was working on repairing his taxi only hours before he died of a long term illness.

Perhaps there are some poor individuals, who will find no place in a free communist world, and can only exist by being parasites. Well I do not agree with Jane Austin who wrote that:

“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”

However if it’s true then how wasteful to spend time fretting over some sad people to whom the idea of mutual aid must be a mystery.

It is in part a question of power, who is entitled to force/coerce another to act against their will? No one. (The exception is having to intercede to protect oneself or others.)

*Edit
Meant to write lifeboat volunteers not coastguards.

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Jul 7 2019 13:01
Quote:
Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”

However if it’s true then how wasteful to spend time fretting over some sad people to whom the idea of mutual aid must be a mystery.

I don’t agree with Jane in that the selfish most certainly can change and if fact after some sort of epiphany the most selfish of people can become the most selfless, However, it’s not uncommon for some people to be uncooperative and self seeking their entire lives. My feelings are that such people are more to be pitied than censured. For the lack of a little effort and consideration they miss out on the very stuff that brings so much gratification and meaning to life.

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Jul 7 2019 17:25

My own opinion is that I think there should be a lot of things like free access, rationing, "universal basic income", even for able-bodied people who supposedly are choosing not to work out of laziness. But I also think that people who go to work should maybe get to buy a few more nonessential consumer items, and that people who work less desirable jobs should maybe be paid more as a reward.

Here are some thoughts I have on this thread if anyone is interested. Sorry for the length:

1. I think it's good to tell people that libertarian communists have a bunch of different ideas about how we could handle these issues and don't always agree. That way people don't feel that in order to be a libertarian communist they need to agree with us on everything.

2. Libertarian communism should be possible with or without scarcity and so we should be prepared for both.

There's an article called "not by politics alone" by Andrew Kliman written a few years ago where he states that if we equally distributed the total world income it would only be 22% of the average US income. This is before doing things that would likely lower productivity such as decreasing work hours, improving work conditions and lessening our ecological impact.

Maybe we'll be lucky and libertarian communism will be 6 times more efficient than capitalism and people will want less nonessential consumer items. This would be great but it doesn't mean scarcity couldn't sometimes be an issue.

We as a society might even want to limit consumption of things that can be abundantly produced. Maybe we want to make sure that people who need them most have the most access, to lower ecological damage, or because we don't really need them and would rather spend more resources on more important things like medical research.

Economic coordination is still important. I think we need to measure how much labour-time (plus other costs) it generally takes to produce different goods and services and how much of those things should be available over a certain period. Then we could compare those numbers to how fast we are consuming those things or how fast we predict they will be used up.

This would be really helpful even in a completely free access society. Imagine a cafeteria that offers free food but still take stock of how fast pizzas were being consumed compared to how fast they were being made. They could also compare this statistic to other foods.

This could then be used to inform food producers about shortages and give them information of how many more pizzas they need to produce compared to other foods. Other cafeterias that had an oversupply of pizza could send theirs to that cafeteria as well. This could also be something that would come up in community and workplace council meetings.

Cafeterias could also use this information to inform customers about availability of different foods. This way people could know there was only enough pizza slices for one per person or something.

If people wanted they could make it so this wasn't a rule people had to follow but just a suggestion. If food producers decide they would rather make a product that was in low demand rather than more pizzas because it made them happier then this could be allowed. People could choose to take more than one pizza slice if they felt they needed it or if there was extra.

I personally think economic decisions should be made democratically by federations of workplace and/or community councils. Credits wouldn't become private property of one workplace or another but would only be used as a statistic for us to democratically monitor supply and demand.

3. A lot of people choosing not to work probably have something wrong going on in their lives like a mental health issue.

I have to imagine there have been depressed people who stopped going to work, got fired and ran out of money and ended up committing suicide or became homeless or something.

Others that choose not to work are recluses who have low self-esteem or anxiety problems who probably feel really bad about the way they live and want to change. Even if someone is just struggling to motivate themselves, I don't think cutting them off and giving them tough love is necessarily the only way of helping them.

Plus many people can just fall through the cracks. A lot of homeless people can't get services, or end up having issues with homeless shelters and stuff like that. Other people don't qualify for services just because they're on the borderline. Sometimes people have hidden disabilities or needs. I also just think there are some people who for whatever reason are incapable of holding down a job, even if they might overcome that problem in the future.

I just think it's kind of sketchy to be deciding whether someone eats based on whether they have a job or not when you don't always know what's going on with them, or because they almost qualify to get some benefit but they're just over the borderline.

Maybe some people can't work as many hours as others can as well.

Having a society where a person can go to a restaurant and get a free meal or get a free place to stay would make all of these peoples' lives easier and prevent them from falling through the cracks. We can still deal with their other issues while making sure they're taken care of.

In addition free access (as well as rations, universal basic income, etc.) means we all have a stake in those things and we therefore have an incentive plus the awareness to make sure those goods and services are decent enough for everybody.

Maybe it could help improve self esteem and include people who don't work, making them feel a part of the community.

If there are people don't work solely because they're selfish and are otherwise normal, happy individuals with social lives I still think you can argue it's a bit harsh to let them starve. Most sane people believe even murderers deserve food, shelter even entertainment. Many leftists don't even think murderers should be kept in jail. Maybe this is an unfair comparison because someone could always go to work the next day but what if they still don't?

Even if it's a crazy number like literally 1 in 10 people choosing not to work at all it's only 11% more work for the other 9 people. That's significant and a problem but it doesn't mean it's no longer worth it for us to have a society based on compassion and solidarity. I'd rather live in a society where maybe some slackers than one in which there are multi-billionaires ordering us around while others live on less than a dollar a day.

I think a most people will be motivated to work because they care about others, don't want to upset their peers and/or find their jobs fulfilling. There's also the fact that going to work is in most people's self-interest as it adds to the total amount of wealth they can consume, even if some people are slacking off. If people stop going to work because others don't then everyone starves and no one benefits lol.

I think a bigger issue in today's society is the fact that a lot of people don't take benefits they're entitled to because capitalist society has made them feel they don't deserve them because they're not a "job creator" or whatever.

4. I think there should be at least some amount of free access, equal rationing and rationing based on need.

I also think we should use a method kind of like universal basic income that anarchist collectives in Spain used where each person was entitled to a certain amount of credits which they could then exchange for different goods.

This way if people had a choice on how to spend their rations of things in low supply. If someone didn't need a sweater but needed a second pair of shoes they could choose to take a second pair of shoes instead of everyone getting one sweater and one pair of shoes.

The amount of credits people get could be based on need- for example a mother should probably get extra credit because they have to take care of their kids.

5. There are many ways a libertarian-communist society could deal with questions like how we could allocate labour and how we would fairly deal with the fact that some jobs are more desirable than others. I think we could maybe use all of them together or perhaps people could be given a choice.

a) We could just choose to not consume things that require difficult work, or consume less.

b) We could do those things ourselves (ie. think of people shovelling their driveways or picking up litter around their community).

c) We could spend resources or find new methods to improve the conditions of jobs that are less desirable.

d) We could give people who do those jobs more vacation time.

e) We could rotate jobs. This could be done where everyone has to say be a janitor for a month or you could use something like Parecon's "Balanced Job Complex" where we give different jobs ratings based on desirability. We would then all agree to try to make sure we worked a similar amount of good, bad and/or average rated jobs.

f) We could also entitle people who work less desirable jobs to receive more credits or other goods and services.

g) We could praise people who worked less desirable jobs and maybe give out awards or something. Maybe knowing that others will appreciate them would motivate people to take on these jobs.

h) Maybe people would like to do less desirable jobs because they help others. Maybe we could try to create a society that values helping others like this.

6. I'm personally in favour of giving people who do less desirable jobs the option of having more pay than others.

I don't think it's fair if some people are suffering doing bad jobs while everyone else is having fun doing good jobs. I think those of us who have good jobs should make it up to them. I think a lot of people deserve to be paid more than I get because of the physical and mental stress and risk of their jobs. I don't need to be paid the same as a nurse. Even if that nurse finds their job fulfilling I'm glad they can afford to go on one more vacation than I can or something. I feel like a person who does those jobs have a higher need for those things than I do.

I think there should be a limit to this because sometimes it's more important everyone has a good living standard. For example it would be morally wrong if during a famine we prioritized rewarding nurses for their hard work over making sure people had enough to eat.

I'm not sure why some libertarian communists are so against this.

You don't need a "surveillance state" to do this. It could literally be done using the honour system.

I don't think there's a danger of nurses hoarding their credits and then buying up all the necessities and then forcing other people to be their slaves or something to get access to them. You could limit the number of items people can purchase of certain necessities (eg. you can't buy 100 loaves of bread a day as a consumer), You could make it so that extra credits can only purchase non-necessities. I also don't think this is a likely scenario because it would require nurses coordinating with each other to starve themselves hoarding a massive amount of wealth and then spending all their credits to cause a temporary shortage.

One problem could be that because becoming a doctor is hard and requires a certain amount of talent that doctors could then take advantage of this and demand that they be paid higher than they really deserve. Because it isn't easy to just train a bunch of other people to be doctor we might have to acquiesce to their unfair demands. However doctors could just as easily exploit other methods people propose as alternatives to paying people more. For example doctors could demand more vacation time and more resources dedicated to improving their work conditions. Even job rotation could be exploited- Doctors could rate their job as being way less desirable than it really is which would entitle them to rotate to way more enjoyable jobs for longer periods of time than they should. These other proposals also aren't as beneficial to the rest of society- for example maybe doctors can't always be on vacation or rotating jobs because there are lots of sick people who need them. Maybe there is only so much about their work conditions that can be improved. I don't see what the big deal is about society showing its appreciation to these people by letting them buy an extra fancy suit or dress or go on a nice vacation. I think it would make everyone else's life worse, not better if we didn't sometimes use this as an option.

I've heard people concerned there's a potential for inter-generational transfer of wealth to lower opportunities for people from families with low paying jobs which could lead to inequality. Kids growing up in poor families might not have the funds to attend university and instead have to work full time, or even if they can attend university they would also need to work affecting their studying. But you could deal with this by just making university free access and paying kids to go to university, the same way you get paid at a job, or making sure kids that go to university have enough funds to properly study.

I've thought about how it's arguably unfair if some kids grow up in families that haver lower income while others grow up in families with higher income. But I think it could also be unfair if a kid grew up with parents who were stressed out all the time because of their jobs. I still think a kid growing up with a nurse as a parent might still have to deal with some negative things that kids of other parents wouldn't. I also imagine that one of the main incentives to taking a bad job would being able to maybe to use those extra funds for your kids. Kids with parents doing easy jobs would also be free to become nurses themselves in the future. I'm still open to the idea that it's still unfair for kids to grow up in families with lower incomes but it's also the case that a lot of the other ways of dealing with undesirable jobs would cause this same inequality for children. If we praised people for being nurses then this might effect the self esteem of kids of parents who do easy jobs. If we gave nurses more vacation time then this would be more time to spend with their kids.

I've also thought about maybe if there was five generations of nurses then one of their kids might end up would end up having way more wealth than others, which might be unfair. But you could probably deal with this in a number of ways. Maybe society could have some redistributive taxes, inheritance taxes, limits on how much income you can hoard or only allow you to rent some things after which they become property of the community. We could also set a limit on how high people can get paid so you don't end up with crazy wealth differentials. I also don't think it would be possible to hoard enough credits over generations and then try to purchase every good and service or inflate their cost for a long enough period of time that they would be able to force people into slavery or something. Also in a libertarian communist society the community would probably step in and set limits on how much a person could buy.

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Jul 7 2019 22:05
Ugg wrote:
I think it's good to tell people that libertarian communists have a bunch of different ideas about how we could handle these issues and don't always agree.

Indeed we do not. I, for one, think that this idea of "libertarian communism, now with income taxes and people with better jobs getting to buy luxury items!" reflects very poorly on your understanding of what communism even is.

Ugg wrote:
I'm personally in favour of giving people who do less desirable jobs the option of having more pay than others.

Amadeo Bordiga wrote:
Wages, even if they were equal for all, always mean non-socialism. And if they are not leveled or equal, there can be no talk of socialism whatsoever.

Ugg wrote:
I've heard people concerned there's a potential for inter-generational transfer of wealth to lower opportunities for people from families with low paying jobs which could lead to inequality. Kids growing up in poor families might not have the funds to attend university and instead have to work full time, or even if they can attend university they would also need to work affecting their studying.

You sure this is communism you're describing?

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Jul 8 2019 07:58

zugzwang: "I think it also goes without saying that Nike sweatshops and fastfood restaurants wouldn't just 'continue existing' in a communist society."

Hey, I never said that they would!

jef costello: "People perform unpaid labour every single day in spite of living in a system that degrades such labour."

But the amount of unpaid labour would increase compared to today. Not that I think that this means that this means that communism is impossible. I believe that the system would definitely work if we choose to eliminate a lot of the stuff that we produce (and enjoy) today. It's an acceptable sacrifice. As you said, capitalism is killing the planet.

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Jul 8 2019 08:38

Loads of essential activity in this society is done without there being a wages per hour calculation involved. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, also organising social events, home repair, outside cities a lot of growing crops isn't for cash it's for consumption. People do those things. Some people also get away with not doing them and sit around chatting and having a beer while other people do them, those people are usually men. It might be constructive to think about how this stuff works in our current society, it might be even better if all the men on this thread went and cleaned the toilet while they reflected on it.

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Jul 8 2019 09:44

I just went to a big family do and there were loads of babies and one guy was telling everyone he took one (1) day off work when their baby was born but it was ok because his wife's sister came and stayed for a MONTH to help, and he was telling us this while drinking a beer and I was watching the wife's sister running around after the baby while he was saying it. I also suggested I go and introduce myself to the sister and was told it was not necessary as she couldn't speak English. I am still pissed off about this, to explain my pissed off post above.

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Jul 8 2019 13:47
fingers malone wrote:
Loads of essential activity in this society is done without there being a wages per hour calculation involved. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, also organising social events, home repair, outside cities a lot of growing crops isn't for cash it's for consumption. People do those things. Some people also get away with not doing them and sit around chatting and having a beer while other people do them, those people are usually men. It might be constructive to think about how this stuff works in our current society, it might be even better if all the men on this thread went and cleaned the toilet while they reflected on it.

Great post for truth based lols!

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Jul 8 2019 18:15
explainthingstome wrote:
But the amount of unpaid labour would increase compared to today.

Well yes, to 100%

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Jul 8 2019 19:45

fingers malone: "Loads of essential activity in this society is done without there being a wages per hour calculation involved. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, also organising social events, home repair, outside cities a lot of growing crops isn't for cash it's for consumption. People do those things."

Well yes but that doesn't mean that there isn't a limit to the quantity of work people are willing to do for free. So I think some useful but unnecessary products of today might dissappear.

darren p: "Well yes, to 100%"

Haha, well I meant of course a "real" increase and not just a percentual one

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Jul 8 2019 20:17
explainthingstome wrote:

Well yes but that doesn't mean that there isn't a limit to the quantity of work people are willing to do for free..

If wages and money disappear then the distinction between paid work and work for free also disappears.

Unlike a lot of people I think life after the revolution might be a lot harder for many people in a lot of ways, hopefully it will also be better in other ways. This is because we would need to focus a lot of time energy and resources ensuring everyone's basic needs are met, and also drastically reduce emissions, pollution, resource extraction etc. I think these will be the really big questions we will wrestle with, that and the civil war that you usually get alongside a revolution.

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Jul 8 2019 20:38
fingers malone wrote:
Loads of essential activity in this society is done without there being a wages per hour calculation involved. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, also organising social events, home repair, outside cities a lot of growing crops isn't for cash it's for consumption. People do those things. Some people also get away with not doing them and sit around chatting and having a beer while other people do them, those people are usually men. It might be constructive to think about how this stuff works in our current society, it might be even better if all the men on this thread went and cleaned the toilet while they reflected on it.

I think this currently unpaid labour should be compensated for in some way or the work should be shared (within families and/or communities).

I don't think the fact that women typically do more unpaid work than men is a good argument against compensating people in some way for doing less desirable work (including housework, carework,etc.). This is specifically the unfairness that people are concerned about.

In some cases it's possible for us to compensate this by just sharing the labour, but I don't think this is always possible for us to share every single undesirable task society needs. There are probably only a few hundred different tasks a household needs to do vs. the tens of thousands of different jobs that exist in society, many of which require highly skilled labour and coordination of much larger groups of people than households.

Even if we're sharing labour we might want to make this equitable, even if it was an informal thing in our personal lives. For example if you cook dinner the other person should wash the dishes.

You use an example of women spending more time watching kids than men did. How does it benefit women in this situation for them to not tell those men that they just spent 5 hours chasing after kids when they'd rather be sitting down like the men were?

zugzwang
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Jul 8 2019 22:24
Ugg wrote:
fingers malone wrote:
Loads of essential activity in this society is done without there being a wages per hour calculation involved. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, also organising social events, home repair, outside cities a lot of growing crops isn't for cash it's for consumption. People do those things. Some people also get away with not doing them and sit around chatting and having a beer while other people do them, those people are usually men. It might be constructive to think about how this stuff works in our current society, it might be even better if all the men on this thread went and cleaned the toilet while they reflected on it.

I think this currently unpaid labour should be compensated for in some way or the work should be shared (within families and/or communities).

As afp and others have pointed out, a communist society means free access, so there would be no 'compensating', because everyone would be able to satisfy all their needs (unless in special cases where something is scarce etc.) Waged work itself is unpaid labour (the unpaid labour that typically falls on women today is equally essential in capitalist reproduction) in that workers create more value than they're paid in wages.

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Jul 8 2019 21:55
Ugg wrote:

You use an example of women spending more time watching kids than men did. How does it benefit women in this situation for them to not tell those men that they just spent 5 hours chasing after kids when they'd rather be sitting down like the men were?

Hey I definitely think this division of labour is crap, to make that clear.

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Jul 11 2019 17:32

The issue that I think may be the most pressing here isn’t a sociological shift, it’s a psychological one based on sociological influence. I believe emotionally healthy people *like* to work. I think we’re born hardwired to enjoy feeling productive and useful, to feel that in a valuable, personal, understandable way, we’re contributing. Take a three year old who’s been treated kindly, included in his family as a valuable member capable of doing good things for others as well as himself, you’re looking at an enthusiastic little sh1t who wants to be a part of it all.

So the question isn’t so much *should* people be allowed to take before they contribute, with some expectation that no one contributes anything til their height stabilizes, it’s *how* do we shape a society in which contribution is an expected, comfortable norm that feels good to people right from the start. A society in which almost from the moment you're born, you see yourself without any analytical thought about it as a valuable, useful part of the whole. And how do we create that healthy seminal environment for children, that first-shaping environment, when we ourselves don't feel that way about work or family and the norm is to treat children like they're some sort of useless pets (or pests, depending on your family).

I'm not advocating child labor here, just some sort of meaningful participation. How do we create a world, given the mess we’re currently in, where everyone gets to participate and enjoy it, and no one has to look at work like it’s a punishment meagerly rewarded - if they’re lucky - with the marginal gifts of food and shelter.

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Jul 11 2019 17:57

So my very first post I took half an hour to write has been flagged by some algorithm as inappropriate. Great. Let's see if I can rephrase this without setting off the nanny cam.

I think the issue is not whether to allow people to partake before they participate. The issue is that human beings should be seen as participants from they day they're born. Take a toddler who's been included in his family as a valuable participant, you're looking at an enthusiastic little kid who wants to "work". Treating children like useless pets (or pests, depending on your family), the "you must be this tall to ride" social model, takes away people's natural impulse to be valuable participants, as well as the esteem that comes from contributing. The question, really, is how do we re-frame work as a natural part of being and inclusion from the very beginning, a desirable part of life that brings emotional and social reward.

Obviously I'm not advocating exploitative child labor, but I feel early useful participation wires humans to believe in themselves and naturally wish to be participants. Especially given our technological advances that ought to be reducing our overall workload, a few hours of work ought to be enough to provide life's necessary and enjoyable goods, with no slitted eyes throwing daggers at the "slackers".

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Jul 16 2019 20:57

Sorry for another really long post. I don't know what's wrong with me lol sad.

Thanks for reading!

AnythingForProximity wrote:
Indeed we do not. I, for one, think that this idea of "libertarian communism, now with income taxes and people with better jobs getting to buy luxury items!" reflects very poorly on your understanding of what communism even is.

That's fine. To be honest I actually think this might be a useful way for you to explain why someone like me is wrong lol smile.

I've just never got why we should NEVER,EVER use this one method when to me it seems potentially really helpful.


I was arguing that maybe in a libertarian communist society we should consider giving people who do WORSE jobs (not better ones) the option of receiving a few more non-essential items as a way of making it up to them.

To clarify I'm against meritocracy. I don't think just because you're supposedly smarter, more talented or competent in some way that you deserve to be wealthier.

I'm also against workers and workplaces competing to outproduce one another for more reward. For example I think it's morally wrong if in a warehouse a man got paid more because he lifted more boxes than a woman who was physically weaker than him.

I'm opposed to punishing slow factories and rewarding fast ones. I think competition leads to inequality which is why I oppose both capitalism and market socialism.

I also don't support rewarding "effort" like the writers of Parecon argue for or rewarding "according to deed".

My only concern is that some people will be significantly suffering or less happy than others because their job sucks. I know it's not possible to have a perfect society where everyone has an equally great quality of life but that doesn't mean we shouldn't ever try to minimize those differences.

Maybe people in a communist society will do undesirable jobs and sacrifice more than others because they get the satisfaction of helping people. But I don't think this is up for us to decide for them, just like I shouldn't assume all women will be happy doing all the housework.


As far as I know, most libertarian communists are at least open to the idea of making it up those who do undesirable work in some way either formally or informally.

Perhaps we would get together in assemblies or amongst friends and decide that people who do worse jobs should get more time off, shorter working hours, be rotated periodically to more enjoyable jobs or that we as a society should spend more resources improving those jobs.

Alternatively we could be less formal like how free access gift economies are supposed to work. Maybe there would be a cultural norm where if nurses spend 2 hours a day working, it would be nice if you spent 3.

Or maybe people would personally decide solely out of the goodness of their hearts that they would like work longer because they want to make it up to those who do bad jobs. If people see their co-workers working longer just to be kind this might inspire them to do the same. Maybe people knowing they have an easier job one day would go volunteer to work a bad job the next day just to be kind.

Do you agree with any of these methods?

I actually think in many cases these ones would be more ideal because they tackle the source of problem at the very least temporarily if not permanently. For example it's obviously better to make a job less dangerous than to give someone a reward for doing a dangerous job.

I just don't understand how allowing people who have less desirable jobs to get a luxury item is uniquely dangerous compared to any of these other methods.


Giving people luxury items could certainly lead to unjust inequality or be abused. But this is equally true for all of the other methods I mentioned.

To just take one of the methods I mentioned let's say we have a free access economy where we all tell people who have undesirable jobs like nursing to work an hour less than the rest of us do. This doesn't even have to a formal arrangement, but could be a completely voluntary decision we all make.

Workers in this system could still take advantage of this by pretending their job is harder than it is and threatening to withhold their labour or barely work unless others give them more time off or agree to work longer hours themselves. People may be forced to give into their unfair demands if doing these jobs require years of training or require relatively rare natural talents that other people might not have.

This method could also produce intergenerational inequality. If it is unfair for one kid to grow up with a parent that has slightly more luxury items than another kid's parents then it's equally unfair if one kid gets to spend an extra hour a day with their parents. Additionally this could affect the opportunities kids have because a parent that is home earlier can help their kid with homework that will help them get jobs like being a nurse.

Free time could also be hoarded and then used at one time unless we place restrictions on it. For example it would be just as disruptive if a doctor went on vacation for 5 years as it would if someone hoarded luxury credits and spent them all at once. In fact a person spending all their luxury credits at once is only disruptive if luxury goods are perishable and therefore people have more luxury credits available than there are luxury items and they try to spend them all at once. If luxury items have just been stockpiling it isn't disruptive at all. In contrast people saving their vacation time could always be disruptive.

Free time could even be used to increase material inequality. People could go home an hour early and work on their personal garden, build themselves a deck, etc.

Pretty much any method I can think of can be abused or lead to inequality in many of the above ways and in their own different ways as well.


Giving luxury credits would not limit the amount of goods the rest of society could consume compared to other methods. For example telling people who do undesirable jobs to go home an hour earlier could limit the amount of goods available for the rest of society just as much if not more than if we gave those people luxury credits. Even rotating undesirable jobs could lower productivity because the job switching process which could lower the total amount of goods available to consume.

The only way our average consumption would not be limited is if we did nothing to improve the work conditions or mitigate negative aspects of these undesirable jobs, something which I imagine all of us would agree is immoral.


Ultimately if society is bothered by the fact that some people have bad jobs that make them unhappy and are therefore willing to spend extra resources to improve job conditions or to ask them to take more time off, what's the difference between those things and giving them a luxury item if it makes those workers happier?

Why is it fine if society decides nurses should only work 2 hours a day while everyone else works 3 but NOT FINE if nurses say they would like to work 3 hours a day if they could also go on a tropical vacation once every year?

This could be really useful and might even save lives if for example there are a lot of sick people who need nurses who would extremely benefit from their extra hour of labour. It's primarily situations like these that I think giving luxury items could help.


In my opinion trying to improve the happiness and well being of those who do bad jobs is consistent with the idea we should give according to needs.

To me it's similar to the way a single mom could need more consumer items than someone without kids, an older person needing reading glasses, children needing toys to play with when adults don't, etcetera.

What if a community council approved a decision to allow hospitals to give luxury items like stuffed animals and video games to sick or injured kids to cheer them up- are we suddenly in a capitalist dystopian class society where the law of value is in effect?

What would be the difference between giving a sick kid a gameboy vs. also giving the nurses that treat those sick kids a gameboy?

I don't think the needs of people who do bad jobs are nearly as important as any of these other priorities however I don't think they should be discounted.

In contrast meritocracy or competition between workers is NOT consistent with giving according to needs, which is why I don't support them.


I wouldn't be upset if a libertarian-communist society decided against giving luxury items to those who work undesirable jobs. I just think it wouldn't be the end of the world if people discussed it or even applied it when both the people who do these jobs and the rest of society thought it was preferable. This could always be a minimal, limited, voluntary program if people wanted.

Giving luxury items could totally be done by honour system where there is no one stopping people with fun jobs taking as many luxury items as those who have bad jobs.

It might even be socially acceptable for people to do this sometimes. For example maybe if people saw someone they knew had a very fun job take a luxury item they would assume that person had a bad day and deserved it.

I'd even be okay if people who were morally opposed to this could opt out. For example maybe I would be the only one volunteering to stay after work producing luxury items for grief counsellors and sewer cleaners.

Is this still so bad that you would need to prevent me and potentially other volunteers from doing this? Would you strongly discourage it?

Can't any of you guys think of a job you would find extremely hard to bare? For example I imagine being a grief counsellor is a very emotionally painful job, even if it is rewarding.

Would you guys be THAT upset if you were ASKED (not even forced!) to consume ONE less non essential item so that they could go on a relaxing spa vacation or whatever as a way of paying them back for all the pain they go through everyday?

I don't think giving people these things would make them any less compassionate or turn them into greedy people.

I don't think this would be an issue that would come up all the time because many jobs are equally desirable/undesirable.

I also don't think it should be our number one priority- Making sure everyone has a good living standard no matter what is more important than compensating people for having bad jobs (either through luxury items or the other methods I mentioned).

I'd even be in favour of using luxury credits for people with undesirable jobs as a last resort. I only brought them up because there are 3 situations in which I think they could maybe help:

1. Perhaps other methods can't significantly improve the desirability of some bad jobs.

2. Maybe people don't want to rotate jobs, either out of their personal preferences or because they think it would benefit society more for people to spend more time specializing in certain jobs. The option of luxury credits could give people more choice in how they would like to spend their time or could potentially increase the amount of goods and services that would be available for everyone. Even if you strongly disagree with these decisions I still feel like it would be okay for people to discuss this in a libertarian communist society.

3. Maybe there are certain important jobs that require special skills that not everyone can learn or take a very long time to learn. Rotating the people away from doing these jobs could be detrimental to the rest of society. For example having nurses spend all their time on vacation or rotated to fun jobs would be really bad for the patients that need them.

It's okay if you disagree, and maybe I should reconsider my position. But I've tried to think and read a lot about this issue and I've just never understood why doing what I advocated would be so bad and end up hurting people sad

AnythingForProximity wrote:
You sure this is communism you're describing?

I don't understand what you're criticizing- In this paragraph I was literally advocating for universities being free access and students not having to work to support themselves or their families (eg. Free food, free dorms, free books, free courses, free events and places to go, free libraries and rec centres, free everything basically etc.).

I think we should provide the necessities of life free access or rationed to everyone. Most things can be made free access immediately after the revolution even luxury things like going to the movies. Even things today under capitalism can be made free access or already are.

I think my own position on this is more compassionate than libertarian-communists like Anton Pannekoek who personally advocated equal labour-vouchers but that "those who don't work will not eat".

I basically agree with Kropotkin who wrote:

Conquest of Bread Ch. 12 by Peter Kropotkin wrote:
Take, for example, an association stipulating that each of its members should carry out the following contract: "We undertake to give you the use of our houses, stores, streets, means of transport, schools, museums, etc., on condition that, from twenty to forty-five or fifty years of age, you consecrate four or five hours a day to some work recognized as necessary to existence. Choose yourself the producing groups which you wish to join, or organize a new group, provided that it will undertake to produce necessaries. And as for the remainder of your time, combine together with those you like for recreation, art, or science, according to the bent of your taste.

"Twelve or fifteen hundred hours of work a year, in a group producing food, clothes, or houses, or employed in public health, transport, etc., is all we ask of you. For this work we guarantee to you all that these groups produce or will produce. But if not one, of the thousands of groups of our federation, will receive you, whatever be their motive; if you are absolutely incapable of producing anything useful, or if you refuse to do it, then live like an isolated man or like an invalid. If we are rich enough to give you the necessaries of life we shall be delighted to give them to you. You are a man, and you have the right to live.

I just personally think that it would be okay if those who worked, especially those who do undesirable work could within limits receive some extra luxury items, if people who did these jobs and the rest of society thought it made sense.

I agree with many of Kropotkin's criticisms of the wage system.

I don't think we should reward according to deed. Doctors and nurses should not be paid more because of their privileged backgrounds, natural talents and education nor how many patients they've saved or cures they've found.

Even if you could determine how much exactly each person's deeds contributed to society I would still argue rewarding people for their deeds instead of focusing on needs is wrong.

However just because deciding which jobs suck more would be a subjective decision decided by all of us with no perfect answers doesn't mean we should never attempt to do so.

If this were true not only could we not decide to give people luxury items for doing bad jobs, it would also mean that we could never rationally use any of the other methods I mentioned as well. We wouldn't be able to decide which jobs need their working conditions improved or that nurses should work a half hour less each day either since all of these decisions are just as arbitrary and imperfect as saying nurses should receive a fancy coat for having a stressful job.

We would never be able to eliminate undesirable jobs because deciding which jobs are undesirable is subjective.

It would also mean that we as a society or individuals could literally never make decisions regarding human needs at all. Deciding whether or not we should build more hospitals, schools, do more medical research, build playgrounds, etcetera are open-ended questions with only subjective answers.

Kropotkin advocates people should spend a small part of their day performing socially useful labour. But deciding what to do would be impossible as well- How do I decide whether I would be helping others more if I became a farmer, a vet, or a musician? Even if you say that I should just do whatever makes me happy how do I decide just how happy each job makes me? That decision is also completely subjective and can't be answered perfectly.

Just because some things can't be done perfectly doesn't mean we should never try.

***

fingers malone wrote:
Hey I definitely think this division of labour is crap, to make that clear.

lol sorry, I just was worried that something I said came across as if I didn't think those issues were important.

***

zugzwang wrote:
As afp and others have pointed out, a communist society means free access, so there would be no 'compensating', because everyone would be able to satisfy all their needs (unless in special cases where something is scarce etc.) Waged work itself is unpaid labour (the unpaid labour that typically falls on women today is equally essential in capitalist reproduction) in that workers create more value than they're paid in wages.

I was actually meaning compensating in a general sense which could also include things like job rotation, telling others to take time off, etc.

Also when does something become a wage in your opinion? Is a ration of a scarce item a wage? What if a cafeteria notices there are shortages of pizza slices, sandwiches and cups of soup so they decide to give each person a ticket that they can spend on either a pizza slice, sandwich or cup of soup?

In anarchist Spain some of the collectives had systems where each member was entitled to a certain amount of points which could be exchanged for different goods. They used this method instead of rationing because it gave people the choice to spend their rations on what they actually needed. Was this a wage?

Is what Kropotkin is advocating here a wage since it is asking people to work 4 or 5 hours a day to receive all that the community produces?

Conquest of Bread, Ch. 12 by Petr Kropotkin wrote:
Take, for example, an association stipulating that each of its members should carry out the following contract: "We undertake to give you the use of our houses, stores, streets, means of transport, schools, museums, etc., on condition that, from twenty to forty-five or fifty years of age, you consecrate four or five hours a day to some work recognized as necessary to existence. Choose yourself the producing groups which you wish to join, or organize a new group, provided that it will undertake to produce necessaries. And as for the remainder of your time, combine together with those you like for recreation, art, or science, according to the bent of your taste.