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+[[!meta title="Post-Scarcity Anarchism"]]
+* Murray Bookchin.
+* Working Classic Series.
+* AK Press - 2004.
+## Towards a Liberatory Technology
+ The year 1848 stands out as a turning point in the history of modern revolutions.
+ This was the year when Marxism made its debut as a distinct ideology in the pages
+ of de Communist Manifesto, and when the proletariat, represented by the Parisian
+ workers, made its debut as a distinct political force on the barricades of June.
+ It could also be said that 1948, a year close to the halfway mark of the nineteenth
+ century, represents the culmination of the traditional steam-powered technology
+ initiated by the Newcomen engine a century and a half earlier.
+ -- 43
+ I have reviewed these technological developments because both their promise and
+ their limitations excercised a profound influence on nineteenth century revolutionary
+ thought. The innovations in textile and iron-making technology provided a new sense
+ of promise, indeed a new stimulus, to socialist and utopian thought. It seemed to the
+ revolutionary theorist that for the first time in history he could anchor his dream
+ of a liberatory society in the visible prospect of material abundance and increased
+ leisure for the mass of humanity. Socialism, the theorists argued, could be based
+ on self-interest rather than on man's dubious nobility of mind and spirit. Technological
+ innovation had transmuted the socialist ideal from a vague humanitarian hope into a
+ practical program.
+ The newly acquired practicality compelled many socialist theorists, particularly Marx
+ and Engels, to grapple with the technological limitations of their time. They were faced
+ with a strategic issue: in all previous revolutions, technology had not yet developed to
+ a level where men could be freed from material want, toil and the struggle over the
+ necessities of life. However glowing and lofty were the revolutionary ideals of the past,
+ the vas majority of the people, burdened by material want, had to leave the stage
+ of history after the revolution, return to work, and deliver the management of society
+ to a new leisured class of exploiters. Indeed, any attempt to equalize the wealth of
+ society at a low level of technological development would not have eliminated want, but
+ would have merely made it into a general feature of society as a whole, thereby recreating
+ all the conditions for a new struggle over the material things of life, for new forms of
+ property, and eventually for a new system of class domination.
+ [...]
+ Virtually all the utopias, theories and revolutionary programs of the early nineteenth
+ century were faced with problems of necessity -- of how to allocate labor and material
+ goods at a relatively low level of technological development.
+ [...]
+ The fact that men would have to devote a substantial portion of their time to toil,
+ for which they would get scant returns, formed a major premise of all socialist ideology
+ -- authoritarian and liberarian, utopian and scientific, Marxist and anarchist.
+ Implicit in the Marxist notion of a planned economy was the fact, incontestably clear
+ in the Marx's day, that socialism would still be burdened by relatively scarce resources.
+ Men would have to plan -- in effect -- to restrict -- the distribution of goods and would
+ have to rationalize -- in effect, to intensify -- the use of labor.
+ -- 44-45
+ The problem of dealing with want and work -- and age-old problem perpetuated by the early
+ Industrial Revolution -- produced the great divergence in revolutionary ideas between
+ socialism and anarchism. Freedom would still be circunscribed by necessity in the event
+ of a revolution. How was this world of necessity to be "administered"? How could the
+ allocation of goods and duties be decided? Marx left this decision to a state power,
+ a transitional "proletarian" state power, to be sure, but nevertheless a coercive body,
+ established above society. According to Marx, the state "wither away" as technology
+ developed and enlarged the domain of freedom, granting humanity material plenty and the
+ leisure to control its affairs directly. This strange calculus, in which necessity
+ and freedom were mediated by the state, differed very little politically from the common
+ run of bourgeois democratic radical opinion in the last century. The anarchist hope for
+ the abolition of the state, on the other hand, rested largely on a belief in the viability
+ of man's social instincts. Bakunin, for example, thought custom would compel any individuals
+ with antisocial proclivities to abide by collectivist values and nedds without obliging
+ society to use coercion. Kropotkin, who exercised more influence among anachists in this
+ area of speculation, invoked man's propensity for mutual aid -- essentially a social instinct
+ -- as the guarantor of solidarity in an anarchist community (a concept which he derived from
+ his study of animal and social evolution).
+ The fact remains, however, that in both cases -- the Marxist and anarchist -- the answer
+ to the problem of want and work was shot through with ambiguity. [...] but given the
+ limited technological development of the last century, [...] both schools depended on
+ an act of faith to cope with the problem of want and work. Anarchists could argue against
+ the Marxists that any transitional state, however revolutionary its rethoric and democratic
+ its structure, would be self-perpetuating; it would tend to become an end in itself and
+ to preserve the very material and social conditions it had been created to remove. For
+ such a state to "wither away" (that is, to promote its own dissolution) would require
+ its leaders and bureaucracy to be people of superhuman moral qualities. The Marxists,
+ in turn, could invoke history to show that custom and mutualistic propensities were never
+ effective barriers to the pressures of material need, or to the onslaught of property,
+ or to the development of exploitation and class domination. Accordingly, they dismissed
+ anarchism as an ethical doctrine which revived the mystique of the natural man and his
+ inborn social virtues.
+ -- 46-47
+ That the socialist notions of the last generation now seem to be anachronisms is not
+ due to any superior insights that prevail today. The last three decades, particularly
+ the years of the late 1950's, mark a turning point in the techological development,
+ a technological revolution that negates all the values, political schemes and social
+ perspectives held by mankind throughout all previous recorded history. [...] As we shall
+ see, a new technology has developed that could largely replace the realm of necessity
+ by the realm of freedom.
+ -- 48
+ Almost every account of applied automation today must be regarded as
+ provisional: as soon as one describes a partially automated industry,
+ technological advances make the description obsolete.
+ -- 56