Video Games Made Me a Communist
As one person alone in the world, there isn’t much you can do without relying on other people. You can’t drive a car, because you can’t just find car-ready gasoline lying around in puddles. If you’ve never learned how to build a car, you can’t put the parts of the car together. Unless you’re a talented blacksmith, you can’t make your own car parts. Even if you’re a blacksmith, you’d need your own mine to extract the metal from the earth. Let’s not forget the tires, do you have rubber trees and know the process of forming raw latex into rubber, and that into tires? How about the windows? Can you melt sand into panes of shatter-resistant glass?
It’s silly to think that one person could own enough land to have all those resources available to them, let alone have the various talents to construct an automobile from scratch without any help from any other person.
What about a town? It’s feasible that a town near a mountain could have an iron mine, and while unlikely, it’s possible that they could have rubber trees. In a town of people, many people with various talents can construct the car together. However, unless this is a communal town where property and aid is freely shared, the car will not be built so easily.
If a town of capitalists gets together to build a car, who gets to drive the car? Surely they do not want to share the car, but each will want their own car, so many cars will need to be constructed. Those considering their portion of the construction to be more physically or materially taxing will want to be compensated for their effort, perhaps claiming ownership of the first car to be made. Once their own car is made, perhaps they will then refuse to help build any more cars without being paid. This is assuming they even decide to work together in the first place. It might happen that everyone wants a car, but one of the rich people in town starts buying up the resources to make the car and creates a car factory, resulting in everyone only having the option to buy a car from this one factory or else look to car producers from foreign lands.
If, however, a large commune gets together to build a car, then a different sort of discourse may occur. Why do we need a car? Who needs to use it, and how often? Who will do what in building the car? Does anyone have a tougher task in the construction of this car, and how can we help or compensate them? Will one car suffice for the town, or will a few more be needed? Once the method and production goal are decided, with the materials already owned, the commune can build the required number of cars.
If you’ve ever played a town-builder or colony sim video game like Banished, Rimworld, or Life is Feudal: Forest Village, you already know how communal towns work. It’s about survival. Nobody gets paid — staying alive is their payment. If you don’t produce the necessary resources (and don’t get the opportunity to purchase them, if you even have money), you die. Once the requirements of survival are met (you have produced enough survival capital like permanent shelters and surplus stockpiles of food, materials, tools, and weapons) you can move on to fulfilling less essential needs like developing the sciences, exploring the arts, and building cars if that is an available technology.
The communal town, if expanded can become a communal country. The country will have more mouths to feed, but also more resources with which to feed those mouths. The larger the commune, the less likely you will need to trade with foreign factions to acquire materials, because those materials will be within your borders. A world-wide commune would be able to utilize all of the world’s resources to provide for all of humanity.
This is what the world needs. We don’t need to find cheaper ways of producing things, we need to eliminate private ownership of capital from the equation. Private ownership of land, resources, and production facilities has led to an extremely uneven distribution of resources and billions of humans in need left to fend for themselves. The world has more than enough resources to satisfy everybody’s needs. All that is required is for the people to be asked what is needed and then for the resources to be processed and distributed to the people. No more will people be fighting for survival, but will instead be exploring their interests and passions. Sure, some people might need to have a bigger, better house than everyone else, but the resources of the world can afford it.