Marxists are right about one thing: Capitalism is destructive and cruel, and it must be dismantled.
However, it's a mistake to plan on socialism as an adequate long term solution. Both of these systems - capitalism and socialism - are technocratic systems. They both involve an ever-increasing amount of technological complexity, which is inherently unsustainable. While capitalism drives the expansion of technocracy, socialism relies upon it, and therefore cements our dependence upon it.
Both systems involve hierarchical control by distant organizations. Capitalism puts us at the mercy of corporations, while socialism does the same with bureaucracies. Both systems preclude true independence.
Capitalism and socialism are both non-local, top-down systems of hierarchical control, in which powerful behemoths dominate individuals and dictate our lives. In socialism, the behemoth is a distant, convoluted bureaucracy. In capitalism, it's a distant, greedy corporation.
In both systems, powerful people monopolize the resources that you need in order to survive, and can withhold them from you if you fail to obey their wishes. Either way, you're still dependent on someone - someone you've likely never met, who has no reason to care about you. It's a recipe for oppression.
True independence is the Traditional Economy, which is built around local self sufficiency, community cooperation, and whole-systems thinking, which unites humanity and the natural world in a symbiotic, sustainable relationship.
The Earth Party has a plan to re-organize our economic system - on all levels, from the Village up to the Planet - to restore the traditional economy. It's called the Blueprint for a Mature Civilization.
If you're worried about "social engineering", relax! This isn't about some newfangled experimental system that's never been tried before. It's about returning to the original, the system which humanity has used for 99.9% of our existence. This is your grandparents' system - where most necessities were grown and produced nearby, usually within walking distance, and communities worked together and supported each other in mutual trust and cooperation.
Capitalism destroyed the traditional economy, but we're going to bring it back.
We have been taught, by propaganda, to view the debate as a binary between just two choices. By reducing discussion to just two options (and encouraging vigorous debate between them), the rulers of the status-quo could construct an illusion that "this is all there is", and prevent our awareness of a third option that would truly liberate us. The third option is Local Self-Sufficiency, which is the only system that can allow true independence.
"What about in the meantime?
Won't this re-organization take time?
People are starving, right now!
People are homeless right now!
People can't afford medicine!
What do we do in the short-term, while we're creating the long-term solution?"
That being said, the current system of capitalism has created a number of interlocking emergencies. Vast swaths of the population face economic bankruptcy and destitution, and our planet faces ecological collapse too. The situation is dire, and people are desperate.
Transitioning back to a traditional economy is going to take time, and in that time, socialist policies are necessary to stop the bleeding.
We support temporary (i.e. the next 10 years) socialist policies to guarantee every basic necessity: medicine, housing, food, education, and debt-relief, while we transition back to a traditional economy.
This includes Medicare-for-All, and a Universal Basic Income (UBI) that covers food and housing, as well as publicly funded higher-education and student-loan forgiveness.
However, we should keep in mind that these policies are not permanent fixes, but only bandages to stop the bleeding caused by capitalism. While we use these policies on a temporary basis, we should also be keeping our eyes forward to the future and the true solution, which is the traditional economy.
Socialism is a response to capitalism. Its purpose is to mitigate the extreme hardships caused by capitalism. We do need socialism on an interim basis, but only as long as we have capitalism. Once we dismantle capitalism and return to traditional economics, socialism will no longer be necessary.
Think of socialism as a cast for a broken bone. You need it in place to provide the opportunity for society to heal - but, once the healing has taken place, you no longer need the cast.
"How does socialism - even temporary socialism - conform to the Law of the Earth?
These programs require taxation in order to pay for them. Either a direct tax, or an indirect one in the form of inflation through printing fiat currency. One way or the other, it reduces the amount of wealth that some people have, in order to give it to others.
Isn't that stealing? How do we square this?"
First of all, it's the right thing to do. It's compassion. Civilized societies are built on compassion. A society that values medicine above yachts is more civilized than one that values yachts over medicine.
"I agree with that completely. But isn't stealing still wrong? Isn't it a violation of human rights, to take someone's property by force?
If a government can't have any power that the people don't have, and the people don't have the right to take money from others by force, then how can a government have this right?"
Because it's not stealing, if the person you're taking it from obtained it illegitimately in the first place.
If the wealthy got their wealth by stealing it from workers, then taking it back from them is not theft - it's re-appropriating stolen funds, and returning the wealth to its original owners.
It depends on whom you take it from.
If you're taking it from an average person who makes an honest living, then that would indeed be stealing. For this reason, the taxation to pay for socialist policies should not come from the working class. It should come from the capital class.
Whereas the average person works for what he has, the capital class by definition does not. It gets all its wealth by stealing from regular people.
"What? How so? How do wealthy people "steal" from the working class?"
This video explains the basics quite nicely:
Economist Explains How Your Job Is Screwing You
If you don't feel like watching a video, here it is in a nutshell:
The fact that a business owner makes a profit from your labor means, by definition, that he's not paying you what your labor is actually worth.
For example, let's say you work in a factory, and you produce $30 worth of goods per hour. (And for you sticklers, that's $30 after the expenditures and overhead are accounted for. In other words, you're producing $50 worth of goods, but only $30 of net wealth, due to the costs of raw materials, running the factory, and other expenditures).
If your company were to pay you $30 an hour, there would be no profit for them. So they pay you less. They pay you only $20 an hour. The other $10 goes to the owner of the company, who becomes fabulously rich by skimming $10 per hour off the products of each employee.
Why is this system just?
It's not. It's theft. Or perhaps the more appropriate word would be extortion. You are being forced to surrender a portion of the proceeds of your product, to an "owner." If you refuse this arrangement, you lose your job, and the "owner" simply finds someone else to do it.
"But the owner has the right to do this, as the factory is his property! And if you're a farmer, working on land that someone else owns, it's the same thing! The land is his property! He bought it, and it's his, and he gets to do whatever he wants with it, including charging you rent to use it!"
This begs the question of how the factory, or the land (let's call it the means of production) even became his in the first place. How did he acquire it?
Where did he get the money?
"Probably from previous business ventures."
And how did he acquire enough money from those ventures, to buy an entire factory (or huge piece of land) all for himself?
Which he obtained by skimming off the fruits of the labor of a previous set of workers.
If the workers at Factory #1 produced enough profit to buy a 2nd factory, then why don't they all buy it, collectively, with the collective profit that they themselves produced, and then collectively own that 2nd factory (and its profits), as well as the first?
Why is it just one guy owning everything - especially when he didn't even do any of the work?
Why do the people who actually do the work not own the products of that work, while the one guy who didn't do any work, gets to own everything like a dictator?
Do you see how this system constitutes theft?
This is why the capital class (the people who "own" the factories and farms that you and the rest of the working class work on/in) didn't really "earn" that ownership. You own it, because you produced it, along with other workers. You all collectively deserve ownership of the fruits of your labor. The capital class has swindled you out of it.
And by taxing the capital class to pay for social programs, we are re-appropriating stolen funds.
Capitalism created a society-wide emergency of economically insecure people who are just one mistake, illness, or job loss away form being homeless or bankrupt.
Since the capital class created these circumstances, capitalism owes its victims compensation. And it can do that by funding social programs to stop the bleeding.
People are suffering, it's not their fault- it's because of the system created by capitalism = and it didn't need to be that way. This world could have had plenty for everyone, if it weren't for this system. The system screwed things up, and so it owes us a remedy.
We as a society must make sure that we take care of everyone as we transition away from capitalism, back to a healthy traditional economy.
"Why can't socialism be permanent?"
Furthermore, socialism is simply unsustainable, because it requires forceful confiscation of people's belongings. If someone refuses to fund the programs, then we have to go to their house and demand it. If they still refuse, we have to come back with guns. If they still refuse, we have to set an example by shooting them. This is not a stable, sustainable system. This is a system based on violence.
When you take people's things by force, you create resentment, which builds up over time. Eventually it turns into active resistance. And the bigger the resistance gets, the more force the government must apply to quell it. Eventually, it falls apart, as decades of resentment boil over into reactionary movements like what we're seeing now with Brexit, trumpism, and so forth.
Socialism is a technocratic solution. Government is essentially a kind of technology, and if we rely on it too much, we're becoming overly dependent on technology - which amounts to technocracy.
Socialism is using technology to solve a problem when we could instead be making changes to transcend the need for the technology in the first place.
Between any two solutions that accomplish the same goal, the solution that involves less need for technology is the better solution.
Why have a great big complex bureaucracy, when you could have local economic independence instead?
Why rely on numbers and complex analyses when you can just have such abundance with such ease that all that math isn't even necessary?
"How long will we have "temporary" socialism?"
For as long as it takes to transition to the Benign Economy.
A year is all it takes to plant, grow, and harvest a crop.
A few years is all it would take to set up aquaponics units to grow food in every household.
Within a few years, the food assistance programs can be rendered unnecessary.
And a decade is all it would take to set up total local energy-self-sufficiency.
The programs can all be scaled down and eliminated, as the Benign Economy takes shape.
"What about health care?"
The dynamics of that issue are different from other economic issues, and we have a separate page for it. See our Health and Healthcare page.
UBI promotes liberty.
You know those bureaucrats you hate? The ones that make your life hellish by their anal-ramrod insistence on meticulous rule-following, even when those rules are draconian and make no sense for the given situation? The ones that are completely impervious to common sense and Reason?
Well, they act that way because the bureaucracy employs them. And if they fail to enforce the rules on you, they can be un-employed. They torture you because they're afraid they'll lose their jobs if they don't. And without a job, they'll face poverty, eviction, health insurance de-coverage, homelessness, and possible starvation of themselves and their families.
UBI makes it safe to risk one's job. When job-loss no longer means destitution, they'll no longer feel such a dire need to torment you to keep their jobs, and it will be much safer for them to start listening to Reason, questioning authority, and doing the right thing.
If your medicine costs astronomical amounts of money, then youre simply using the wrong medicine..