No matter how people acquire their living, they depend on the socialized economy for their existence. The days of a pioneer and rural lifestyle eking out a life for an extended family have long disappeared. The socialized economy and our society are what give us life within collectives and as individuals. Fully employed, partially employed, unemployed or as employers, the modern socialized economy is what binds us together as a people. How we relate to one another depends on how we relate to the economy, which means in essence how we acquire our living, and how the economy treats us as individuals and collectives, and how we respond to the economy and society as thinking Canadians.
Being central to our existence as humans, it behooves us to participate in the economy and society not as passive factors but as active factors, both participating in the economy as workers and employers and influencing the economy as thinking conscious beings. This means demanding employment for which we are trained or desire to do, working responsibly, and, importantly, participating with others in directing the economy in a way that favours its consistent development, meets the needs of the people and serves the general interests of society.
The people’s relation with the economy is dynamic. The people work in the economy and in return expect the economy to support their well-being from birth to passing away. Unfortunately, forces that control the economy through ownership of massive social wealth, class privilege and political power do not want working people to participate in directing the economy. Not only do they not want the people to be conscious beings directing the economy in a way that favours them, the ruling capitalist elite unleash their monopoly right on the economy in destructive ways. They manipulate the economy to favour their narrow private interests in contradiction with the natural laws of the socialized economy, the actual producers and the rights of all.
Imposing their monopoly will on the economy leaves gaping wounds that are left to fester and never heal. Throughout 2014, 1.3 million workers were unemployed, while another 500,000 workers were working only part-time but searching for full-time work. Out of a potential workforce of 29 million Canadians, only 19 million declared themselves available to work in the socialized economy, of which almost 2 million could not find any work or only part-time work. The potential value lost from Canadians not working in the socialized economy is enormous. That potential value, if turned into actual value through the conscious mobilization and active participation in work of just half those Canadians now not working in the socialized economy, would go a long way towards solving the country’s social problems including endemic poverty, especially amongst our children.
Such a mass mobilization of Canadians within the socialized economy would demand acts of conscious participation in finding out how a modern socialized economy should function to serve the people and society. This is anathema to the ruling capitalist elite, who declare for self-serving reasons that the economy is something mysterious, unknowable and beyond human direction. Besides, they say, such a mass mobilization of workers producing value would trample on monopoly right.
According to the ruling capitalist elite, who suppress the people’s conscious participation in directing the economy, the economy needs no direction and should be left to the manipulation of an invisible hand or free market. They say the economy is beyond human control and should remain so despite constant crises, unemployment, poverty, uneven development, wild competition leading to war and intractable social problems.
Of course, the ruling elite are blowing hot air because the invisible hand and free market are anything but invisible and free. The economy is under the constant suffocating control of monopoly right and the all-pervasive power of massive private social wealth and class privilege organized within a state dictatorship directed towards defending and growing their monopoly-empires on the backs of working people. The airwaves are full of the constant noise of the ruling elite shouting exactly what they want done: Austerity, balanced budgets, privatization, predatory wars, and the strengthening of their police state to defend class privilege and monopoly right.
Science teaches us that everything in nature, including the economy, is based on knowable natural laws. Conscious participation of humans in directing the economy builds a body of knowledge of the objective economic laws that can be used for the good of humanity, for the good of our economy and society, which are central to our being. Our responsibility as thinking beings demands we participate in directing the economy in an organized fashion with others. How is this to be?
Politics is the concentrated expression of economics. Through organized participation in politics, the people can intervene to defend their rights and the rights of all, which includes the fundamental right to decide those issues that affect their lives, most notably the economy. Through fighting for political renewal in an organized way, people can gain the collective strength to confront and restrict monopoly right in the economy, and use their newfound political power to unleash the enormous strength of the socialized economy to solve society’s problems.
Canadian settlers and First Nations actively participated in their own economic affairs when living in settlements, rural villages or on farms. They recognized instinctively the necessity to defend their rights within the objective conditions and activate themselves within the economy of the day for otherwise they would perish. Today, within an economy that is socialized, where the broad economy and society are central to our being and survival, the necessity to defend our rights and activate ourselves is found in becoming political in an organized way in defence of the rights of all. Through organized political activism in defence of our rights and the rights of all, the people can gain the power necessary to exercise control over the direction of the economy in a way that favours them and the general interests of society.