The author of the phrase "To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability"
Modern young people have already forgotten the phrase “To each, according to his needs, from each, according to his ability,” which at one time felt sick about the citizens of the USSR. For this reason, few people know for certain who the author of this statement is. Let us find out where this expression came from, what it means and why such a beautiful theory has failed in practice.
“From each according to his abilities - to each according to his needs”: the author of the phrase, according to the opinion of the majority
By mistake, quite often this expression, which has become the slogan of socialism, is attributed to the author of Capital, Karl Marx.
It was he who, in 1875, in his last major work, The Critique of the Gothic Program, thinking about the organization of the future communist society, used the expression: “Each according to his ability, each according to his needs”.
Who is actually the author of the sayings
In fact, the great ideologue and philosopher was not the author of the slogan "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Who said this phrase first in reality? The author of this sentence is the French revolutionary Louis Jean Joseph Blanc. And he said it more than 20 years earlier than it appeared in Marx’s work.
The history of the phrase
However, according to researchers, Blanc cannot fully be considered the author of the phrase “To each according to need, from each according to ability,” since he borrowed this idea from another French philosopher of the 18th century. - Etienne-Gabriel Morelli.
This thinker in his work "The Code of Nature" put forward the idea of remuneration for the needs of a member of society, and not because of the amount of work done by him. Soon this principle was called "proportional equality" and was successfully adopted by other socialists, including Marx.
The approximate date of the appearance of the phrase “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is 1847, although some sources refer to 1851.
In any case, it is Louis Blanc who is considered to be the full-fledged author of this slogan, while Karl Marx is its popularizer.
The principle of proportional equality in the Bible
Although this idea was first formulated in the eighteenth century, and it became particularly popular in the second half of the nineteenth century, it is far from new. This practice was one of the first to be described in the New Testament.
The book of the Acts of the Holy Apostles in chapter 4 tells that after the ascension of Jesus Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, the Christian community was organized. All those who believed came into it "and no one called ... his own, but they all had in common." They sold houses and all property and, having entered the community, brought all the money to the Apostles. The same people distributed them among all believers: "... everyone was given what someone had a need for."
Thus, although the phrase “To each according to need, from each according to ability” appeared in the 19th century, the idea itself was tested in practice as early as the 1st century. new era.
So, theoretically, one of the authors of this expression can be considered the Apostle Luke, who wrote The Acts of the Holy Apostles.
“From each according to his abilities - to each according to his needs”: the meaning of the phrase
Having dealt with the authorship of this expression, as well as with the history of its appearance, it is worth finding out what this phrase, which has become winged, means.
The slogan “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” means that every citizen of the society in which this principle operates is obliged to work as carefully and efficiently as possible according to his chosen specialization. In return, he will be able to receive everything necessary for life. Moreover, the resulting will not correspond to the amount of work done (as is customary in a capitalist society), but to what a person currently needs.
How does the principle of proportional equality from the point of view of theory
If we follow the ideas of Blanc, Morelli and Marx, then the introduction in society of calculation according to the principle “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” has the following meaning.
A certain Ivanov, Peter Sidorovich, works as a turner in the factory. He usually works diligently, but this month he fell ill with the flu and was forced to take a week off sick leave, which means he completed a quarter less work than he usually does in a month.
In a capitalist society, he would have to receive a quarter lower salary. However, according to the principle of proportional equality, due to illness, Ivanov’s needs increased, therefore in the month in which he was ill,he receives not less salary, but even more, because in order to restore his normal physical condition, he needs not only medication, but also rest, as well as nutrition enriched with vitamins.
On the other hand, if in another month that Ivanov felt a surge of creative power and did 2 times more work than he usually does, he still gets the same salary that suits his needs (if they did not increase in the given month).
Terms of implementation of this idea
Such an organization of human remuneration looks very attractive. But every sane person will immediately find many flaws in it. That is why its creators set a number of conditions under which the principle of proportional equality can exist.
- First of all, citizens of society should have a high moral development, in particular honesty, which will not allow them to be cunning and trick.
- Secondly, in such a society there must be an abundance of goods and services. Then each person will be able to have a theoretical and practical opportunity to satisfy their needs both at the given moment and in the event of their growth.
- Thirdly, labor should not be imposed on the necessary means of survival, but become desirable for every citizen. It turns out that a person in such a society must want to be constantly realized through the fulfillment of his duties.
- And the last condition should be the presence of clear, adequate leadership, which will monitor a fair and even distribution of benefits.
In addition to all of the above, most of the ideologues of socialism agreed that with such a structure of society, private property should be abolished in it, with the exception of small items that allow people to satisfy their biological needs.
Why this idea has not yet been implemented
No matter how beautiful the theory is, it did not stand the test of practice. And this happened at the beginning of a new era. Indeed, one of the first known attempts to live according to the principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” undertaken by the first Christians, failed. In just a few centuries, on the basis of the communities described in the Acts of the Holy Apostles, the institution of the church was formed, which divided the society into slaves and shepherds for many centuries.Moreover, people who call themselves servants of God and are supposedly acting in His interests, in practice engaged in personal enrichment. For this, they, having trampled upon the commandments of Christ (calling to love their neighbor), sent thousands of innocent people to death, extolling murder and robbery, blessed by them, to the rank of virtue.
The other most famous experiments were the USSR and Fascist Germany.Both of them suffered setbacks, which were accompanied by huge losses.
So why the principle of proportional equality could not be implemented?
- First of all, this was prevented by human nature. As numerous sociological experiments have shown, a person needs an incentive to work. For the majority, unfortunately, only the principle of the carrot and the carrot works, and only a few are able to honestly work out of moral motives.
- Secondly, no matter what the philosophers say about the social nature of man, first of all he is an individualist. This means that private property will certainly be desirable, and on a large scale than a toothbrush, a comb, and two pairs of clothes.
- Thirdly, the needs of the individual tend to grow, and in most cases much faster than their achievements.
- In addition, it was assumed that people will work simply out of gratitude to society and the desire for self-realization. However, what to do with non-prestigious professions such as a toilet cleaner, slaughterhouse worker, garbage man, etc. Who in their right mind would want to physically work hard on a construction site or on a rig in the sea if you can sit at a computer in a comfortable chair in an air-conditioned office?
- Another obstacle has always been the lack of decent leadership. After all, so far no country in the world has ever been able to boast of an absolutely honest governing apparatus, putting at the center not its own needs, but the interests of the nation.
In addition to all of the above, the utopian nature of this idea is a direct consequence of the understanding of the problem by its creators themselves. As a rule, these were people of intelligent professions from wealthy families who, in theory only, represented the life of the proletariat, about which they so loved to philosophize. Morelli was a teacher; Blanc was a nobleman who worked as a journalist; and Karl Marx was the son of a Jewish lawyer and was engaged in intellectual work all his life.
Soviet version of the slogan
The expression “To each - according to need, from each - according to his ability” has a kind of “twin brother”. We are talking about the principle of socialism, which became fundamental to the Constitution of the USSR in 1936: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."
Although at first glance it seems that the meaning of these slogans is identical - this is not at all the case. The first example talks about needs that often exceed the capabilities and benefits brought by a particular person.
At the same time, the second slogan speaks of remuneration corresponding to the work performed. And as often happens, this reward may not be enough to satisfy even the most minimal human needs.
By the way, if you think about it, the Blanc slogan describes the structure of a utopian socialist society, and the Soviet postulate is the capitalist system so hated in the USSR.