A specter is haunting the world — the specter of Champagne Socialism
How can I be rich and talk so much about the poor? To me it’s simple. I don’t want everyone to be poor. I want everyone to be rich.
How rich? Not destroy the planet rich, not greedy, not the too much it currently takes to have enough. Everyone should be rich enough to buy champagne and not worry about their healthcare or education or housing or material needs. No one should have to work to live. That’s all I mean. I’m a champagne socialist.
I must clarify one very important thing.
When I say champagne I mean Prosecco, sparkling, any sort of bubbly. Which costs about $10 here. No appellations without reparations. Until France at least cancels their onerous debts they can shove a cork up their colonial asses.
What I mean by champagne socialism is simply that everyone should be able to live comfortably and indulge themselves once in a while. Keep it halal, drink Chamdor, whatever you want. But you shouldn’t be worried about clean water. You shouldn’t be worried about seeing a doctor. We have enough for this. We have enough to share.
What does this mean exactly? Well, I live in a Democratic Socialist country that has somehow managed to have good public healthcare and functional primary education (falls apart after there). It is possible with very little money. We somehow did it with almost none. You can look at the robust social services of communist Kerala as well. Basically most of the world has figured this out. It’s actually cheaper. The Dirty South certainly seems better at running public health than the capitalist north.
I also believe that every child should have the same rights as a rich child. The right to eat decently, have shelter, the leisure for education, a safe place to escape, and to never have to work for a living. People act like these are some new unsustainable rights, but this is how rich children live. This is my life. It is extensible. We have enough. The human potential we will unlock will be greater than any measure of GDP.
This is what I mean when I say ‘no one should have to work to live’. Our existence is not based on our usefulness to capital. We are all delightful children of God, or the spaghetti monster, or whatever it takes for you to love your neighbor. I have worked since I was 14, but never to eat. No one should have to worry about this. This is what truly unlocks entrepreneurship and creativity. People not worrying about their next meal.
It is possible to extend these privileges to every child. These are not in fact, privileges, these are rights. Rich benefit from welfare already. It’s called compound interest, low to no tax rates, and endless government bailouts. We just have to redistribute wealth, and make as many services shared as possible. Universal Basic Income and free public resources for many things. No one should go without food, shelter, or care. This is true civilization. We can do this.
In order to do this I also believe in direct democracy. Instead of classes of politician that inevitably become Animal Farm (some animals are more equal than others), select Parliaments randomly. Instead of casting a ballot you just put your own name in the till. You would immediately get 50% women’s representation, minorities represented, and different incomes (right now elected officials are almost all rich). People would say this is disruptive and we need career politicians, but do we? The Venn diagram of career politician and career criminal is pretty tight. How could it be worse?
I also believe in free markets. Which means free labor. If capital can move, so must labor. There is no open market without open borders. Our children are born just as free as yours. Brown, black, and *shudder* Muslim people are free to move and live wherever they want. I am not asking for a new freedom here, I am simply asking for it to not be violently denied. This freedom applies to your children as well. Freedom means freedom for everyone.
Markets are important, which is why they must be socialized. The bifurcation of the stock market and economy has to be stopped before AI buys a few director boards and Skynets us the easy way. The stock market should be socialized. It can go up all it wants. But 40% of the shares will belong to the public and 50% of board seats will belong to the workers.
Finally, the crisis of climate change is not a crisis of population, as rich white people like to say. The top 1% emit more than double as the poorest half. If we’re going to reduce anyone, I’m afraid it’s got to be billionaires. We simply cannot have and do not need these levels of obscene wealth. It is greed that’s killing the world, and that must be pulled back internationally.
We must stop prosecuting minor crime at all and go and find these people and their hoarded wealth and redistribute it. Abolish prisons and police, which are really only for the poor. Treat everyone like they are rich in the eyes of the law, and turn those eyes towards stolen riches for once. Find the offshore accounts and redistribute them. This may require occupying England, the greatest money launderer in the world. Whatever it takes. Billionaires are a cancer upon the Earth.
Champagne only costs $10. You do not need so much to be happy. Hence what I call for is international equality, international solidarity, and international justice. Every child being as free as a rich child today.
You can say this is wildly idealistic, but look at history. It is only change. The only thing certainly wrong is to predict that things will stay the same. So here’s to champagne socialism.