Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 10. September 20th, 1949
Economics of the 25th Century
Economics of the 25th Century
This is a description of the control of society, more particularly of the method of allocation which may well be available to the people of later centuries. The problem of distribution solved!
Children in this society are kept in an educational institution until they are sixteen. The age is of course, arbitrarily defined, and will in fact be determined by practical considerations: allocation on the behalf of children is made by the adults—the mode of this will become apparent in later discussion. The educational system is prepared in such a way that desires of the children will be directed to those objects of which the society has plentiful supply, and their characters to the forms of culture and morals which have been found best to give a stable society. (In particular the fault of capitalist society in directing desire to the acquisition of money is corrected—for this must in most cases be unsatisfied). It is however, impossible to ensure conformity, and the success of the education is determined at a complete psychological check-up which is made at 16, the record being kept at the Department of Advantages as a basis for future allocation. Every individual is assigned an abnormality coefficient, indicating his deviation from the social normal. (The significance of this coefficient will become apparent shortly.)
The significant basis for the allocation of resources to the adult members of the society is the use of standardised tests which detect the truth of the answers with unerring accuracy. Using these latest techniques, the proportions of desire for specific items out of the total desire of any individual can be determined. Every adult is tested in this way once a month, the results being completed in the form of a scale, e.g.: Per 1000
Food, Type 1
|1.||Present control oves resources, e.g., garden vegetables, funds from the previous month.|
|2.||Position held in the society—with the quantities of poyer, friendship, etc., assigned to it. These quantities will be determined by the Advantages Department, and revised yearly. The quantities will be assigned on the basis of a normal person: for any individual this will be adjusted by use of the abnormality coefficient (which is revised every year with the positions).|
|3.||Home and cultural life: possession of wife, etc., with quantities assigned to his position in society—co. efficients for power, friendship, etc.|
These forms are forwarded to the Economics Department which aggregates the total of these desires (after deducting individual means of satisfaction). Every individual is given the right to satisfaction of his total desire equally with all other members of the society. If at any period the resources are not sufficient which may happen in an early stage), then each person must forgo the same proportion of his total desire.
Distribution of Resources
Each individual's desires are given the same weight and the total demand ascertained by the weighted quantities. The total of resources is also calculated for each month. This includes total position power, teaching strengths, club vacancies, orchestras, etc. Distribution is determined by the simple solution of the mathematical equations obtained from the foregoing analysis. As you may have realised by now, the machine techniques of book-keeping and economic allocation have advanced in step with the social sciences. I would point out also that the scientists of the 25th century are not so naieve as to deduct 10 per cent. arbitrarily from all desires in the case of the ratio of resources available to total desires being only 90 per cent. If this eventually is possible extra columns on the form will show the way in which the 10 per cent. (or 20 per cent., etc.) should be deducted in each case—whether from each desire in proportion, or all from one, etc.
It can be seen that this system provides the panacea against all revolution; for everyone will be as happy as possible, with a minimum of frustration. It must not be thought that humans will become blase: they will have no Idea themselves what their desires really are. When they receive their allocation, this will be a common saying, "Why that's just what I am!" Moreover, this society certainly will not be monotonous: if the power coefficient allocated to your position (adjusted by your abnormality coefficient) is greater than you desire, you will go to a different job; if it less you will go to a different job. Since this balance is not likely to be stable, nearly everyone will change positions monthly. Variety with Security. It may be objected that the system is wasteful because of the high labour turnover: on the contrary, the economy is so advanced [unclear: that] the small loss is of no consequence (technically speaking, below the "minimum sensibile"). Any loss may be considred to be outbalanced by the achievement of variety. A further advantage is obtained by the automatic adjustment of work and leisure-time made by the Economies Department: this is a simple arithmetical operation carried out by comparing the desire for leisure with the desire for things necessitating work.
This system needs no political control: everyone is satisfied, for the whole society is self-run by the members themselves—shades of Marx! This is no idle dream. It could be true, and if the reader manages to live for the next few centuries, he will no doubt become Minister for Controls by virtue of a knowledge of these principles.