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Waste In Capitalism


 Many objects! in class society stand as a monument to the foolishness of man. One of these in present society is that infernal machine the Underground Railway.

 At certain times during the day, a surging mass of humanity descends upon this particular means of transport, as it seems to be the quickest way of getting to and from work, speed being the order of the day.

 The first delay that must be taken into consideration in our measurement of time, is the long queue of people who wait for an employee of the London Transport, to present them with a ticket in exchange for money. Then we meet that effigy of wasted labour “The Hole Puncher.” After our ticket has made the acquaintance of his Instrument of Office, we put it into our pocket, for it has nothing to do with the running of the train anyway.

The Waste of Competition

 [From "The Industrial Revolution," by Charles Beard, preface to second edition.]

      While admitting that our present maladjustments are the outcome of the “social form of production and the individual form of appropriation and exchange,” I contend that this system wastes more wealth than it contributes to landlords, capitalists and moneylenders. The statistics are not at present forthcoming to prove this statement, but a few figures will illustrate my point.

Editorial: The Colossal Waste of Capitalism

"The colossal waste of capitalism.”

A phrase that for all its truth has become a cliche of the Socialist case. Words we use so often that they cease to have an impact.

We talk of the ludicrous waste of buying and selling: of the criminal waste of capitalist war and preparations for war: of the useless waste of potentially productive hands lost in clipping tickets, totting up accounts, filling in forms. But only now and again does the utter lunacy of the whole system pull us up short and make us see it as though for the first time. We are again struck with wonder at the way the human race can go on tolerating a world so out of keeping with its real needs and interests.

Editorial: Waste Amidst Want

This is now a world of potential plenty. Yet all but a few are deprived in some way and many starve. At the same time part of the world’s resources are used up in making weapons of war and in training men and women to use these weapons. How is this terrible paradox to be explained ?

The technical basis of modern society is large-scale, mass-producing industry which can only be operated by co-operative labour. By its nature it draws into the work of producing things millions of people the world over. These millions work not on their own; they work together. No man makes anything by himself; he only plays a part in the co-operative labour through which things are today produced. Farms, factories, mines, mills and docks are only geographically separate. Technically they depend on each other as links in a chain. They are only parts of a world-wide productive system. In other words the world is one productive unit.

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