So, as revolutionary socialists, instead of borrowing at some-significant-cost from the ill-gotten gains of the wealthy, we must face the task of relieving them of this crucial component of all economic life in a modern country, so that it is still available, though no longer as a guaranteed and ample sustainer to a parasitic well-living class, but as an essential social resource for setting up and developing producing and serving organisations.
Now, how do we do that?
Clearly, they will not give up their easy life without a major struggle. If they could see no alternative but to throw themselves off skyscrapers in the 1920s Depression, they will certainly not take the removal of their sustenance by the Working Class lying down. They will fight it determinedly, and expect to win!
And, if they begin to realise that they just might lose, they will hide their wealth away in hidden or defensible areas like the Romans’ Latifundia or even their own private sub-states, be it a Caribbean island or a mountain redoubt. [Where do you think the buried treasure hoards from over a thousand years ago got to be both hidden, but leaving no survivors knowing of their locations? They had clearly both lost the battle and indeed perished]
No, these people will never agree to such a loss. We won’t be able to simply “vote-it-in! Much less of a threat caused the Spanish ruling class to back Franco with his imported Moorish armies, who fought to defeat the elected Republican Government, and their allies.
Clearly, all committed revolutionary socialists must address the necessity of Revolution, and finish with the idealised dreams as seen from a rational high plateau of Stability to be somehow achieved by consensus means. That isn’t this world!
Who decided on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and was their reasons for intervention the truth? Those who determine on a socialist future will certainly have to fight to win their country, and then socialise ALL wealth!
But sadly, most of that wealth is an inflationary myth! Its value within world-wide Capitalism is not merely dependant upon its cost or use-value alone, but also on both the control and the buying power of the wealthy - and, it must be added, upon the ability to borrow: those who have the resources will always trust others of their class with prodigious loans (as long as they will benefit too).
And the hegemony of the dominant capitalist powers inflates what they have at the expense of those worldwide who deliver what they produce at prices determined by those powers. And thus this underwrites the ability of those who now own to make a substantial profit out of them.
A paper dollar backed with armed forces possessing worldwide reach is “worth” vastly more than a mammoth stone ring (as their indicator of wealth) on the island of Yap (how much labour was needed to produce such a “sign-of-wealth” would mean nothing in a capitalist world). Labour may be the original source for the value of all commodities, but convertibility, and a well-heeled market can inflate it prodigiously.
And when such a global parasitic system is no more, real value will surely begin to reassert itself! The resources and effort that has gone into any commodity, along with its clear use-value, will determine its value once again. And those who can, with skill, knowledge and hard work, will be the only contributors of extra real value. Though it has always been the case throughout history, it is only in a classless society that this real relation will regain its actual status once more.
For, such a “revolution” in value is an unavoidable consequence of an actual genuine Socialist Revolution. And it means that not only will the capitalists try to run away with everything that they can carry, but even their supposed wealth, when taken over, will rapidly revert to its “actual-value” – a ten pound note will be worth the paper it is printed on: such agreed wealth will melt away!
Now, the consequences for a Socialist State, on taking over the wealth of the capitalists to re-employ for the public good, will find that much of what they confiscate is of much less value than it was given within Capitalism.
“Is this shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde really worth millions?”
“Is this solid gold compact studied with gems really worth tens of thousands of pounds?”
Clearly, the answer to both these questions has to be “No!”
Such prices require a market equipped with sufficient wealthy individuals to indulge themselves. With no incredibly wealthy people, who will pay £500,000 for a ring for their spouse? Or Buy an £10,000,000 estate as their new stately home?
So, rather than fighting to possess paper money and contracts etc., the new regime will have very different objectives.
Of course, such a return-to-value will not occur immediately. Whatever bolt-holes there will be, even temporarily, for the super rich, their jewels and their gold will buy sustenance and defence for a time.
NOTE: It should be no surprise that the Faberge trinkets of the Russian Czars and their aristocratic penumbra still turn up at Antiques Roadshows. They have been sustaining the escaped aristocracy for generations as they finally declined to nothing.
So, following a Revolution, all their expensive items must be confiscated too – to prevent them using such wealth not only to preserve them (in waiting, so to speak) but also to prevent their funding of opposition to the new Socialist State. And even their paper money and other virtually valued wealth must also be taken from them. They, to survive, will have to do what we have had to do all our lives. They will have only themselves, their hands and their work to provide all their needs. Of course, it is true that most will be entirely ill equipped to do that. The only possible way out of her dead-end life for Mary Queen of Scots, was to plot the overthrow of (to her) a foreign monarch – Queen Elizabeth of England: absolutely nothing else was considered either feasible or even possible. She could not live like a peasant: for she would perish in no time at all!
Now, it isn’t generally realised just how wasteful the old capitalist regimes were, and still are. Without the increasing pressure from below, they would still just turn their ownership into ever-increasing ”possessions” in ever-larger stately homes or mansions.
Though they vigorously pretend otherwise their “charity” and concerned “providing of work” for the lower orders are merely fig leaves covering their real motives. Their main purpose is to sustain themselves and their progeny indefinitely in the state to which they have become accustomed.
The produce of society is constantly transformed into either further encrustations as displays of wealth in the prized palace of the infinitely idle, or as the means to own an ever-larger slice of whatever industry and commerce there is.
Why the things that these parasites collect are considered to be our culture beats me! There is infinitely more real quality in 1 year's work by a great teacher than a lifetime’s display of what wealth can buy – after all they made NONE of it! And the craftsmen who did make it would never spend so much time and effort on things for either themselves or other ordinary mortals. These things were for the Elite! They had to be “over the top” and colossally expensive: they were the badges of their in alienable “rights and privileges”.
Once such parasites are no more, society will turn its imagination, industry and genius to Mankind and Reality at large, and not invest it in a privileged elite. Service will replace Success. And Profit will be as dirty a word, as was Usury in the Middle Ages.
Instead of Technology merely making the rich richer, it will at last do what it has always been promised to do. It will make life easier and work will take up a much smaller part of our lives. We will instead have time to develop ourselves, and pursue ever-widening interests.
Now, the question must be addressed, “Why would a Socialist State need Capital? Is that not a contradiction in terms?” The answer, however, is simple: it is “No!”
The modern world for Mankind is no longer a hunter/gatherer one, neither is it merely that of the farmer. It is a manufacturing existence using ever-developing technology to deliver ever-expanding needs and wants. And you can’t start a viable manufactory on your kitchen table, or live freed from all commitments in a commune in Mid Wales.
Modern Society needs Industry, Commerce, Academic Research, Education and many other very expensive organisations to not only deliver its present needs, but to expand and enrich the lives of all its peoples. Charity has never been enough, and the resources to construct the necessary organisations cannot be achieved by good will alone.
So, the concentration of wealth as a resource for such undertakings will not only continue to be necessary, but will have to grow considerably.
Now, clearly the question is, “Who will hold such resources, and monitor their legitimate use. And who will choose what projects deserve appropriate funding?”
Indeed, all “delivering” types of organisation will aim to make “surpluses”, which will not thereby convert directly into higher wages for that group of workers alone. Some will also go in local projects for the public good, while a proportion will be centralised as “capital” (or more properly “funding”) resources to fund projects and organisations of all kinds. But no one will get rich, and no politician will accrue considerable power, which would be mis-used.
The question of the source of Financial Resources will still be very important, and its repositories and controls, which do NOT exist, at present, will have to be devised and developed.