BY: Scott Hiley| September 28, 2017
QIf the US were communist, would food and necessities be rationed out? If so, how much?
AHi, and thanks for writing in.

The first thing to recognize is that food, housing, education, energy, and health care are already rationed under capitalism. Those necessities, which we consider basic human rights, are rationed according to the ability to pay. You have a right to as much, or as little, of them as you can buy. Capitalists know that people don't like the concept of 'rationing', so they call it 'the market' instead.

Under socialism, basic necessities would be guaranteed.  There are different systems for doing this.  In Cuba, for example, medical care and education are free, housing is guaranteed,  and citizens receive a book of tickets that can be exchanged for food staples (though the ticket system is being phased out).  Here, it is more likely that a system of higher wages, subsidies, price controls, and an expanded public sector would make it possible for everyone to have safe, warm housing, nutritious food, health care and education.

In general, people often think of socialism in terms of what they would have to give up.  Our perspective looks at things from the other end.  We live in the richest, most advanced, and most productive society the world has ever known.  If those resources were controlled and used for the common good, rather than lining the pockets of the lucky few, what couldn't we do for our people?
    Scott Hiley has taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels.  A member of CPUSA since 2010, he is active in struggles against austerity and for education justice and labor rights. His articles have appeared in the People's World (US), the Morning Star (UK), and l'Humanité (France). He lives in a rural town in upstate NY.

Comments (2)

jules | October 18, 2017 at 3:54 AM

beautifully explained Scott…I’m recalling trips behind the Iron Curtain..where peoples needs were provided at low, low prices…. ex: bread 5 cents, rent $12., of course there was childcare and medical provided for all….we know it’s possible…

….thank you for the great article

    Schroeder | December 28, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    Truly, especially those who are low middle class. Housing and basic needs guaranteed,this is a future we can and shall work for. Onward, to victory

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