The guiding principle of wealth production and distribution during the earlier, socialist stage of communist society would be: ‘From each according to their ability, to each according to their contribution’. People’s material reward and status would broadly reflect their contribution to society in terms of the nature of their work, their skills and effort. This will greatly reduce the extreme inequalities promoted under capitalism.
As cooperation, planning and the full application of science and technology begin to produce an abundance of the most important goods and services in society, so the principle in the higher stage of communism – full communism – becomes: ‘From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’.
Wages and money would begin to lose their usefulness, as more of life’s essentials become free or of little cost. Of course, the production, distribution and deployment of society’s economic output will have to be planned to ensure that needs are met and the environment and eco-system are safeguarded.
Without exploitative capitalists and landowners, the division of society into antagonistic social classes will cease to have any material basis. In place of class conflict and social discrimination, social cooperation and equality will predominate.
As the amount of human labour required to produce society’s needs decreases, every citizen will have the time and facilities to develop her or his skills and talents to the full. The basis for many social problems and tensions will be removed, while resources of every kind are devoted to solving or alleviating individual problems and incapacities.
The victory of socialism in other countries will eventually remove the threat of capitalist restoration by outside forces.
As the danger of internal counter-revolution recedes, the role of the state as the coercive force used by one class to suppress another also diminishes.
The collective organisation of working people required to prevent capitalist restoration will be replaced by autonomous, self-governing communities of people. Workers’ self-management of industry and enterprises will be free to develop its full potential. The great majority of people will increasingly understand the need to organise and fulfil essential work as the pre-condition for their freedom and the ability of all to benefit from the expansion of educational, cultural and leisure provision.
Communists do not accept that such a society is impossible to achieve or that there is a ‘human nature’ too negative to allow the development of socialism and communism over time.
So far in history, people’s thoughts and behaviour have been shaped, distorted and exploited by their existence in class-divided societies. Even so, human beings have always displayed an enormous capacity for reason, compassion, cooperation, courage, self-sacrifice, invention and commitment to the creation of fairer and more just human societies. Are these not also characteristics of any such ‘human nature’?
There is no reason why people should not comprehend that we share this Earth in common, that we are interdependent, that the individual good of the vast majority requires the collective good and that cooperation and unity is better than conflict and division.
It is capitalism that seeks to make a virtue of greed, egoism, exploitation and inequality, while claiming that these are the ruling characteristics of ‘human nature’. It is capitalism that creates so much misery, destroys so many lives and now threatens the very future of human existence on this planet.
In a fully communist society, a new morality would characterise the social relations between people: the egotistical individualism of capitalism will be replaced by collective care and concern for every individual and for the full, all-round development of the human personality.
For the sake of humanity, the future is communism.