The Western Socialist
Vol. 29 - No. 229
No. 5, 1962
In the earlier days of British capitalism elderly members of the working class who were no longer of great use to the owners of the country were placed in work houses.
Just before the old age pension scheme came into being the cost of maintaining old people in the workhouse was 13 shilling and 6 pence monthly.
Old age pensions cut the cost to 5 shillings per month—leaving 8 shillings and 6 pence per head per month in the money bags of the capitalist class, and the worn out wage-workers loose to fend for themselves.
The same formula has been applied to the building of labor-power among those too tender to be profitably exploited yet, the children of society.
An example has been supplied in the case of a 40 year old man in Carshalton, England, whose wife died. He gave up his job as a stoker to stay home and look after his 10 children.
If the children had been placed in foster homes or orphanages it would have cost the government £40 a week to maintain them.
As it is, with the oldest boy working and chipping in £2 a week, with £10 from the National Assistance Board and £3/18 shillings in children's allowances the government saves money. (See Victoria Daily Times, July 6, 1962.)
They save £26/2 weekly in fact, and the objective of operating capitalism as cheaply and efficiently as possible and keeping profits as high as possible remains as the high altar of civilization.
And when children stand in the way of the dictates of capital, they suffer the same fate as anything else related to it — if they can't be used, they are abused.
The killed, wounded and homeless children of the world, victims of the wars of capitalism are evidence enough of this.
The large doses of radio-active iodine concentrated in one area of the U. S. after the last test series threaten damage to the thyroid glands of infants who drank the fresh milk of that locality, (in addition to the damage already done via radio-active strontium 90 in the bones of children today). The scientists suggest that the infants be fed CANNED milk and the cattle, storaged fodder — profits, above all.
J. G. JENKINS