Written by Socialist Caucus Activist Chris Law
With need a library economy.
Decommodification and being hyper critical of capitalism is now not only the solution of our time, but the mood of our times.
We face many challenges from the centralized control of capital and resources in terms of rising costs to living, rent, mortgages and in general, an induced inflation to cripple people that work for a living, all for the profit of monopoly economics. In what can best described as people serving the interests of economics instead of economics serving the interests of the people via the current dictatorial methodology and necropolitics of the day.
We see this on our bills and at the checkout lane. From diapers to carrots, it has gotten so bad that even now, relatively high paid union workers such as myself with the IBEW are having to choose between rent, tools, or bread.
Precarious workers are in even more of a dire state with real world inflation hovering between 10% to 15% per year and reaching an insane price gouge of 50% for the irreducible minimums of life since the start of the pandemic, now in its 4th year.
And with talk on the horizon of economic recidivism, further interest hikes and a repeat of capitalism’s inherent repeatedly of crises that would create conditions that make the great depression feel like a Tuesday night at the movies, we need to talk of real practical alternatives and solutions of moneyless systems.
Systems and modes of production and distribution that have been in existence for thousands of years and yet we have not become wise enough to think bigger, bolder and local.
We have had libraries of commons when it comes to books for well over 8,000 years of human history, the most famously destroyed of which was the great Library of Alexandria. It is in our very nature as social beings to share what we value most as a common good, much to the opposite of books like the Lord of The Flies implies.
It is only through relationships of mutual aid that we have cultured a mind that has just started to comprehend the very intricacies of the subatomic nature. It is only through helping one another succeed that we have gone from hairless apes to engineering craft that can approach 0.001% the speed of light in the vastness of space.
Our very human existence is not one built off hyper competition; rather it is in opposition to such things. Much as the space probes mentioned above, it is built directly through the interpersonal experiences and sharing of knowledge.
So why not take that vast tradition stretching back 12,000 years and direct it towards something emancipatory as a library?
Imagine if we took that usership focus and placed it upon any number of hyper commodified items. In a recent talk with an ally from Richmond British Columbia working on reducing poverty, we discussed and hashed out this very simple concept of replacing a monetary value for housing.
Instead of money being the dominant force that decides who gets shelter and who doesn’t, the focus would be on the means of distribution in addition to the means of production. With this library of housing in mind, the affect would be transformative: every individual regardless of income, race, colour, creed, gender, identity or nationality who wishes to have a primary residence would just need to register their usership of said house and be given a key.
That’s it. It’s as simple as a library.