The Property Problem

by Tom Knight, guest contributor

Photo: Mr Stephen

A guest contribution to our Library, at the time of publication written by a non-member of the Harmony Party.

One of the common criticisms people level at socialists is that we are just trying to get something for nothing; that we want to take your things and redistribute them equally throughout society. Of course, that isn’t actually the case – but it is a convincing argument on the face of it. If we wanted to take all your stuff and give it out to random people, that’d be pretty terrible!

But when we’re talking about ‘private property’ it all comes back to a fundamental issue that we have with the way the system is currently structured: the idea that it is okay for some people to make money just for owning things, whilst other people have to make their money working for those people.

The people who make the most money from power plants, rail operators, supermarkets and mobile phone networks are not the people running the plants, driving the trains, stocking the shelves or installing and maintaining telephone masts. Instead, the people who own the companies and have very little – if anything – to do with the goods and services provided by them make the most.

We don’t think that’s fair.

When we talk about private property being taken into public ownership, those are what we are interested in, not your personal property. We want to take those things which allow people to make money just by having had money and use them for the good of the people who work with them. By giving the value of that work back to the people who produce it, we will make a more equal, more just, better society.

When the profits of all these different enterprises are given back to the workers it becomes much easier for governments to raise taxes, because nobody is getting the billions of pounds which let them distort the tax system. More people spend that money on the goods and services they need. That in turn means the government can expand the social security net and help provide for the people in our society who, for whatever reason, are unable to work. Everyone gets what they need, because everyone is contributing what they can and being rewarded fairly for doing so.

The only people who lose out under this system are the people who currently make huge profits whilst doing nothing to earn them beyond having had the good fortune to have accumulated wealth.

Socialists believe this is a fair trade as more people are rewarded more fairly for the work that they do.