The concept of a global socialist economy is not an abstract speculation. It is a definite necessity based on factors within society. This is hopefully a short and concise post explaining the basic evolution of society.
Society is fundamentally shaped by economic forces; forces relating to production. This is simply because as human beings, our basic needs are met by producing; we first produced food by gathering and hunting, and then as tools advanced we specialized our work to enabled trade and the economy. We cannot live without production.
Goods are produced and sold, wealth is accumulated, and wealth is power in the economy. As the economy develops and changes, social and political structures change in ways compatible with the new economy. Over time, our economy has developed to become larger and more complex, a globalized economy. At times when the economy has undergone major transformations, the social-political system has changed in major structural ways as well. These changes were necessary in order that society continue to produce. The social and political structure has to change along with the mode of production (the type of economy) - for example, when slavery was replaced by industrial production, population-dense cities developed as well as the social atmosphere that accompanies them, a major deviance from the generally rural slave plantations or coastal shipping towns. Changes in the economy and society can happen both gradually or abruptly, depending on the size and speed of the economic shift, and how compatible that is with the existing society. Using the previous example, as factory work expanded in the northeastern United States, slavery impeded the further growth of the industrial economy. Subsequently, slave labor was first constrained, then abolished. The abolitionist movement, an international phenomenon, and it's corollary, secession from the Union, led to the division of the U.S. in the Civil War, a struggle over "state's rights", or more specifically the right to enslave, or the right to spread slavery to new territory in the west. The Civil War was a social and political rupture between those who wanted a to keep the existing social order of slavery and those who opposed slavery in favor of "free labor", which was generally more productive and profitable than slavery. This social clash actually overcame the limits slave-society placed on the developing production, in this case industrialization.
Today, most production is carried out by corporations and overseen by the owners and investors of these corporations, so the fruit of that production is controlled by special interests, the interest in profit. These private corporations use profit for their own benefit, to make more profit. This opposes those who work for and create wealth for companies; the more hours and lower pay a worker can work for, the more the company benefits. Workers have very little power individually, and have historically included groups like peasants, slaves, women, blacks, and other minorities that could be oppressed more easily than the rest of the population. Each of these groups has, at one point, rebelled against the ruling class for better conditions.
As the economy becomes larger and more advanced, the market becomes more competitive, and companies have to continuously find ways to make more profit. This is a problem for anyone whose interests are opposed to private profit; anyone who gets in the way of more profit. This mainly consists of those people who, when paid less, make a company more money.
Over time, companies make less of a "rate of profit", or the profit per money invested. This happens when the investment in machinery and technology is larger in proportion to the investment in labor. Because labor creates value, less new value is added to every commodity produced when more of that commodity is produced by a machine. This is not the same as total profit, which can still increase if a company increases in size. Companies have to make up for this falling rate of profit or else they will not be able to sustain themselves; if the rate of profit reaches zero, no profit will be made.
As machinery and technology advances, less labor is used for the production of each commodity (product in the economy), so the commodity has less value. The value of a commodity comes from the average amount of labor time needed to make something. This is simply because when two commodities are compared as equal in value, there is only one thing they have in common which makes them equal. The only measurable quantity differentiating one commodity from another is the time it takes to produce them. All different types of work are equated in this way because very different commodities made from different type of work are still traded and therefore comparable. The average is taken because we are talking about a market with many producers interacting. A company cannot sell a commodity for a much higher price than the average because people will buy a cheaper one. (If it is thought that people will buy the more expensive one because they think it is better, advertising and branding to make a thing look better is part of the process of making that commodity; part of production, and adds more time necessary to make it, increasing value). As technology increases, less labor is used to make a product, because machines are doing more of the work.
The reason better technology is used in the first place is because it temporarily raises the rate of profit for the company with the technology when other competitors do not have that technology. Because value comes from the average labor time, if one company can make a product in less time, they spend less money on labor while the average company is still using old and less efficient technology; the average labor time of all companies doesn't change much but that one company's labor time does.
Imagine this: in the future, every product is made entirely by machines, without any labor. This means that these can basically run without maintenance, producing infinite amounts of goods, and all that is needed it initial investment to purchase one. Now imagine that these machines are purchased by anyone who wants them, and therefore they can produce everything society needs. Nothing would be bought or sold because everything is made for free without any work. Commodities would not have any value in any market because no labor is necessary to produce it. We are already approaching this world. As automation and computers make production easier and cheaper, there are more goods for everyone to have.
Because the rate of profit does fall, companies have to exploit more workers worse to make up for it. They either have to become larger to make more profit and become more efficient or exploit workers more by paying them less. This is clearly unsustainable, because if technology continues to improve, workers will be more exploited and eventually will not be able to continue surviving. Therefore, a new organization or society and distribution is necessary.
This leads us to a problem when private companies can no longer sustain themselves, people are being exploited more and more, and monopolies grow in size and influence over everyday life.
To overcome this problem, private industry will collapse and public production will reign, socialist production. With working people in control of the wealth created by their labor, society will be able to continue to function, produce, and progress.
- Social organization changes to be compatible with economic forces (production)
- Private production is responsible for private profit, which is fundamentally opposed to working people
- Value comes from labor, commodities can only be compared by average labor time necessary to make them
- Necessary labor time decreases as production is made more efficient by technology
- The rate of profit falls due to the decrease in labor time per commodity; constant capital (technology/machinery) increases, raising the cost to produce the commodity but decreasing the value (price). The value added per commodity becomes less, and so does the value taken as profit.
- To compensate for the falling rate of profit companies become larger and exploit more - monopolies grow and wages fall
- This is unsustainable
- The necessary development of society is one which leaves private production behind and transitions to communal production, because only then will needs be met and the growing contradictions within capitalism be resolved.
"The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production [private production restrains social and economic development], which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralisation of the means of production [monopolies] and socialisation of labour [specialization and technology] at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument [outer layer]. This integument [outer layer] is burst asunder. The knell [final ringing] of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated. [Usurped]"