Production for human needs

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The emergence of capitalism was a turning point in the development of humankind. Capitalism rendered production for meeting human needs passé and introduced production aimed at creating profit. In so doing, capitalism has led humankind into an existential cul‐de‐ sac. It has created an economic mechanism, the market economy, which has turned man’s creative potential and his productive practices into the ultimate threat to the survival of humankind.

Capitalism released the productive forces of naturalistic mysticism and localism and put them to work for profit, preventing them from developing any humanist and existentialist criteria. Profit has become the unchallenged measure of the meaning and value of human practice. Through the capitalist economic sphere, the process of the recreation of the world has obtained an irrational and destructive character. Capitalism’s development of the productive forces has turned man’s creative powers and the forces of nature he has captured into the means for his and nature’s annihilation. Instead of a humane and humanized natural world, capitalism has created a „technical world”, with a corresponding technocratic religion, which pins man down to the existing world and destroys any humanist vision of the future.

Capitalism is based on destructive mindlessness. There are no reasonable limits that can restrain the capitalist exploitation of man and nature from reaching destructive proportions. Capitalistically degenerated reason has become the instrument by which an apparent „ratio” of destructive processes is created. Its „regulatory principle” is based on the ruthless fight between capitalist corporations for domination and survival. Capitalist „planning” is nothing but a form in which an instrumentalized and technologized reason has become the means for stabilizing and accelerating capitalist reproduction. By destroying life and reason, capitalism prevents the establishment of a reasonable life and, thus, of any philosophy of freedom as promoted by the thinkers who created the concept of the modern world. Capitalist truth has a mindless and anti‐existential character.

The maniacal pursuit of new records in sport has clearly demonstrated the anti‐existential nature of capitalist progress. From a humanist and existentialist aspect, the record breaking mania, based on the absolutized principle of quantitatively measurable performance (citius, altius, fortius), leads to the destruction of man as a human and natural being. However, since a record reflects the market value of an athlete’s performance and, as such, an authentic expression of the absolutized principle of profit, it cannot be disputed. Its purpose is not to develop human powers and interpersonal relations, but to ensure the progress of capitalism at the cost of destroying man as a human and natural being. Instead of being the beneficiary of competition, man has become simply the means by which new records are achieved.

Capitalism has degenerated authentic human needs, making the need for destruction somehow „primal”. At the same time, the awareness that capitalism might easily destroy the world forces man to confront capitalism and those needs programed into his body and sub‐conscious mind, needs he experiences as vital. The existential neurosis is based on man’s attempts at keeping those ingrained needs from being met, since their fulfillment would lead to the destruction of his human and biological potential, as well as all life on the planet. It is about the suppression of the sub‐conscious based on the mutilated humanness and the elimination of the ambivalence that results in a conflict between desire and the will. By developing a critical mind and fighting for a new world, man can prevent the evil seed planted in him in early childhood from growing so great as to erase all his human qualities. Man will continue to fight the evil within him until the evil in society is eradicated and humanity is allowed to become the singular source of his authenticity.

In light of the lethal consequences of a destructive capitalist irrationality, which is the basis of the capitalist economy and capitalism’s relation to nature and man, the principle of a planned economy, which was affirmed in the October Revolution, takes on a supreme political and existential significance. In the article entitled „Why Socialism?”, originally published in the first issue of the magazine Monthly Review in May 1949, Albert Einstein criticizes capitalism and advocates the establishment of a planned socialist economy, guided by genuine human needs and based on reason and solidarity: „I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate the grave evils (of capitalism), namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow‐men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”

When we speak of a particular historical order, we should bear in mind the unrealized potential of that order in terms of the creation of a future. The specific historical aspect of the „socialist” order is that the development of the productive forces was not based on the market and profit, but on a planned economy, which had a rational character. In the contemporary world, this aspect of „socialism” has taken on a primary importance in contrast to capitalism’s destructive irrationalism. Production aimed at satisfying human needs, directed by rational and social beings (in solidarity with one another), whose relation to nature is aimed at its humanization rather than its devastation, represents the basis for a planned economy. Under the specific historical conditions that existed during the development of the Soviet Union, а planned economy could reach neither its existential nor, more specifically, its emancipatory potential. Today, there are objective conditions in order for the existential and humanist potential of a planned economy to be fully realized. Most importantly, the concrete potential of a planned economy should be perceived in relation to the destructive practices and destructive potential of capitalism. The realization of the emancipatory potential of a planned economy has become the basic prerequisite for ensuring the survival of humanity and life on the planet. The elimination of the „consumer society” and the establishment of rationally based production, which aims at meeting genuine human needs, would bring about the Earth’s ecological revival.

The „participation in the factory management” and the „seizure of factories” by the workers are obsolete tactics in the fight for a future because they are based on a market economy, on the principles of productivism and profit‐making. Workers’ control of the factories does not bring about any substantial change in existential terms if it is not accompanied by the abolition of the market economy and the establishment of production for the meeting of human needs, growing out of a humanized relation to nature as a life‐ creating whole. In a market economy, workers inevitably end up as slaves to managerial groups, which mediate between workers and the market and reduce „workers self‐government“ to a formal principle.

A planned economy is the most important manifestation of the need for a rational world, a fundamental existential principle. However, the concept of a planned economy presents the inherent danger of being reduced to a technical project, with society becoming a technologically perfected labor camp managed by a technocratic „elite”. The genuine potential of a planned economy is realized only if the citizens, as emancipated, rational and political beings, are directly involved in the creation and realization of the process of social reproduction. Without direct democracy, a planned economy can lead to a new totalitarianism.

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