Reason #179 to be a socialist

Issue 

Picture

Reason #179 to be a socialist

Each weekday morning, several million people around Australia make their way, like zombies, to work. And like zombies, we return home at the end of the day. Some struggle in traffic, others cram into buses or trains.

It doesn't have to be this way. The transport problems we face aren't because there are too many people, or because public transport can never be comfortable, or because people inherently love cars. They exist because the economic system needs it to be this way.

Some of the biggest corporations in the world rely on this situation to maintain their wealth: oil companies make up seven of the richest 11 corporations. With good quality public transport, the need for cars, petrol and roads would fall dramatically, as would the profits and the power of these corporations.

More than 90% of the money invested in developing energy sources is spent on developing coal, nuclear, oil or gas power. Less than 1% is spent on clean, renewable solar and wind energy.

Socialism could change all this. Imagine: the billions upon billions of dollars currently invested in cars, oil and roads could all be used to develop environmentally sensitive transport for everyone in society.

For shorter trips, perhaps bike paths would be the norm. You wouldn't have to lock up "your" bike because you wouldn't own one; bikes would be publicly owned, to be picked up when needed from the nearest holding bay and ridden to wherever you're going. Electric trains, powered by solar energy, would probably be the major transportation to and from work. The trains could have cinemas and internet access.

I don't know exactly what public transport would be like under socialism because that won't be my decision; it will be decided by the majority according to their needs. But what I can say is that socialism will open up enormous opportunities for us to liberate ourselves from the "zombie" state of today.

By Paul Benedek