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Waste In Capitalism

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.

Cooking the Books: Mises is Irrelevant

The 'Weekly Worker' (28 April) carried an interesting article by the Trotskyoid Hillel Ticktin which, unusually for someone from his political background, gave a good description of socialism which (also unusually) he called socialism:

‘A distinguishing mark of socialism is that distribution would operate according to need, rather than input … people will be able to walk into a distribution point and pick up what they need.’

‘In a socialist society you would expect workers to work in the way that they judge is correct. Since a worker’s incentive under socialism is not money, they work as best they can in order that they not only fulfil what they are doing for the collectivity, but for themselves. You would expect that they would work as well as they can, without any need for discipline from outside.’

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