What's the incentive to produce under socialism?


Common Objections to Socialism Answered:
from The People, October 5, 1991, pages 1, 6.

Without the possibility of getting ahead of others and becoming wealthy, what's the incentive to produce under socialism?


The idea that there would be no incentive for workers to be productive in a socialist society is a myth, reinforced by the myth that the Soviet Union is, or was, socialist. In the Soviet Union, the incentive to be a productive member of society was severely damaged by the oppressive, self-serving rule of the bureaucracy. Workers had no assurance that diligent work or improvements in productivity would benefit them in any way. This contributed to the breakdown of that system.

In a genuine socialist society, workers would have strong incentives to work conscientiously and improve the means and methods of production-incentives far stronger than those that exist under either the Soviet system or capitalism.

The moral and social incentive to be a productive and responsible member of society would be cein-forced by the knowledge that one's efforts would truly be benefiting all society, and not merely an idle class of social parasites.

The material incentives to be productive, and to improve productivity, would be strengthened as well. With capitalist exploitation abolished, workers would receive the full social value of their labor. The rewards of their own labor, and of improvements in efficiency, would accrue to them, and not to a separate class of owners. Thus, they would have "the possibility" of becoming well off materially -- a far greater possibility than they have today -- from their own labor. And the more efficiently they produce, the more they could enjoy, with a shorter and shorter workweek.

In sum, workers would have strong incentives to be productive in a socialist society because they would be working for themselves and the social interest, simultaneously. With no ruling class in existence, the workers' interest and the social interest would be one and the same.