Book Critique: Postcapitalism by Paul Mason

In his renowned reserve of the 1950s, The Affluent Modern society, John Kenneth Galbraith introduced a Utopian watch of the long term in which the will need to get the job done would be diminished to four several hours a day and wealth would be significantly additional similarly shared involving all those who chose to perform and those people who opted for a lifetime of leisure. Now Paul Mason has generated an outline of the course of action by which this may be realised. Extrapolating from latest developments, notably the growing abundance of ‘free stuff’ on the online, and getting full account of the approaching crises of local weather change, population expansion and escalating longevity, he explains how capitalism, like the proverbial outdated soldier, will not die but basically fade away.

Galbraith drew upon the do the job of anthropologists who estimated that primitive guy, residing as a hunter gatherer, required to invest about 4 several hours a working day in search of foods. In the present day age, with growing use of automation, Galbraith foresaw a long term in which male would after once more expend only four hrs in research of his daily bread. Now, soon after the explosive expansion in individual computing and the online, Paul Mason can see more plainly how this transformation may well arrive about. The first action in the process is the universal availability of no cost information through sites these as Wikipedia. Awareness which has value substantially to produce can now be received by all who need it at zero additional expense.

Mason sees a development by which far more and additional information, services and items turn into ample to the stage where their close price decreases to zero. This is described as a non-market place economic system that grows together with a diminishing market financial system. Big enterprises that are based on cheap labour would be compelled by legislation to grow to be ‘high-wage, substantial growth, superior know-how financial types.’ And if this seems way too radical, Mason points to company designs which have been outlawed in the previous these types of as these dependent upon slavery and baby labour.

Mason warns towards the danger of capitalists making monopolies as a defence system towards postcapitalism. The generation of monopolies have to be resisted and principles in opposition to rate repairing strictly enforced. Where by a monopoly might be essential, this sort of as in a company sector, it must be taken into community ownership. He argues that delivering companies such as drinking water, electricity, housing, transport, health care, telecoms infrastructure and education and learning, at cost price, socially, would be a strategic act of redistribution vastly extra productive than raising genuine wages.

Mason follows Galbraith in advocating that everyone ought to be compensated a simple income, although he is relatively much less generous to the unemployed. Galbraith proposed that these who decide on to continue to be unemployed must get about 90 percent of the earnings of those doing the job, whilst Mason advocates a universal simple cash flow of only a person-third of the least wage. So, although Mason plots a practical study course toward Utopia, Galbraith may possibly sense that there was even now some way to go.

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