I’ve argued that a more realistic vision of the kind of socialism we could bring about, without waiting for massive technological progress to solve the logistical problems raised by trying to plan an entire economy, would involve nationalizing the “commanding heights,” taking many important public goods out of the market entirely and bringing the remaining private sector under worker ownership.
These individual elements have all been successfully beta-tested in the real world. But the combination would mean the first society since the agricultural revolution that wouldn’t be divided into a powerful ruling class and a subservient labor force.
If Henry Chinaski Sr had been born into such a society, whatever income he built up couldn’t have been derived from exploitation. That doesn’t mean every penny of it would be his to do with as he liked, since he would still have to pay a significant portion of it in taxes to fund the massive public sector. But he would have a reasonable claim to spend whatever remained however he chose.
Such a society could democratically decide to outlaw individual home ownership, but I have a hard time imagining that. Most working-class people today would be horrified by that suggestion. Nor is this just an eccentricity of American culture: think about Palestinian refugee families who lovingly pass down the deeds to houses that were stolen during the Nakba from parent to child to grandchild, in the hopes that one day the family will be able to return home.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction