Guild Socialism is a short essay about a kind of social organization that is run not just for the sake of the well being of the laborer, like many other forms of collectivist political philosophies, but also for the sake of the creative actualization of the laborers imagination. Like many Leftist political thinkers G.D.H. Cole takes the issue of alienation very seriously, but for G.D.H. Cole the solution to this problem isn't more bureaucracy or representational political action but a form of direct decision making. G.D.H. Cole does not see conflict between the labor of the mind and that of the body, these two sides of labor are equally important and can't exist with out eachother, this is way he calls for a politics of collaboration between the division of labor instead of one of conflict. G.D.H. Cole differs from many Marxists in his belief that there is no one size fits all solution that can cross all national and cultural boundaries, instead each social organization must adapt and effect the unique cultural and natural environment in which it arises.
If the world where to adopt this model of production (it needn't be the whole world), we would get a radically varied travel experience. Instead of seeing the same McDonalds everywhere you go, each town and city would have a drastically differentiated look and feel, because the very tools the infrastructure was built out of would be trailered for the particular needs of the locals. Think over the marvels of ancient architecture, the reason archaeologists and modern engineers are so awe stuck by those structures, is because they think of construction in terms of the limitations of our current tools, and technologies. It makes sense for a the technology of the global network to have spread a kind of regularity around the world, but that will continue its current trend in acourdence with the nature of that technology, but localized technologies that work more trailered to local cultural/environmental conditions should be trailered to localities. As environmental information becomes more available through digital/electronic technologies we will want to trailer our tools to our particular cultural/environmental circumstances, thus generalizing technology could lead to particularizing technologies. Perhaps we will be able to use emerging 3d printing technologies to do this, and perhaps the small Socialist Guild will prove the best social organizational structure to do this.
GUILD SOCIALISM an essay by George Douglas Howard Cole.