We have had to differ from the Daily Express on other occasions, so it will come as no surprise that its remarks on the articles by Messrs. Carnegie and Rockefeller in the Christmas number of The World’s Work should also meet with our disapproval. Its introductory sentence is ominous. “The fallacy of the State ownership of capital, one of the leading Socialist doctrines, is vigorously exposed by the world’s greatest millionaires.” The “leading Socialist doctrine” is, to quote the Declaration of Principles of the Socialist Party, “the conversion into the common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.” That conversion involves, not the “State ownership of capital,” but the abolition of capital. Capital being the means of production used as the agent of exploitation, its conversion into the common property of society will remove its exploiting character, and stop its functioning as the means of robbing the workers of their produce, so that it ceases to be capital at all, and becomes simply the means of production.

Mr. Carnegie is quoted as saying “the State as sole owner of wealth, would use it just as the owners now use all but a fraction of it; that is, invest it in some of the multiform ways leading to the reward of labour.” Certainly, even under Socialism, a proportion of the wealth produced will need be used reproductively, i.e., as means of production, but the resulting wealth being the property of the owners of the means of producing it, the “reward of labour” will not then be wages, the smallest proportion the workers can be driven by competition and the fear of unemployment to accept, but the whole product of wealth-creating activity, which will go to the workers in its entirety.

“Imagine,” says Mr. Carnegie, “every man, woman and child in Britain receiving £70, which is one’s proportion of the national wealth if equally divided.” While it is perfectly in order to imagine any such distribution of wealth, it is absurd to suggest that it would embody “the leading Socialist doctrine.” The fallacy of the equal distribution of wealth is too hoary-headed for us to specifically deal with now, beyond again pointing out that, given the ownership and control by the wealth producers of the means of production, the enjoyment and consumption of that wealth rests in their own hands because the wealth is collectively theirs. Social ownership is something different from individual ownership, although, apparently, neither Mr. Carnegie nor the Daily Express can realise that difference. Social ownership does not mean £70 for each person, but it means that the material resources of society are open to each person, and, as Mr. Carnegie has pointed out that “all that the millionaires can get out of life is superior food, raiment and shelter,” so we may reply that the best of these primary necessaries will be at the disposal of those who produce them when the means of their production are owned by those who use them.

It is interesting, too, to learn that Mr. Carnegie’s view of co-partnership is that “it tends to bring a realising sense of the truth to both labour and capital that their interests, broadly considered,are mutual.” Also that “Mr. Rockefeller’s views coincide with Mr. Carnegie’s.” This should be sufficient to damn Sir Christopher Furness’ scheme.

“Up to the present time no scheme has yet presented itself which seems to afford a better method of handling capital than that of individual ownership.” This is Mr. Rockefeller’s. He seems to be gloriously oblivious of the economic evolution that has made the ownership of capital to be spread over the whole capitalist class by the formation and perfection of such factors as Joint Stock Cos., Syndicates, and Combines, which, while they help to draw the line between the capitalist class and the working class, are, nevertheless, a breaking down of individual ownership of capital and the building up of a collectivist form of capitalism, by consolidating the capitalists as a class, spreading the ownership over the whole class while centering the control in the hands of those magnates who manipulate the corporations.

The one refreshing point which strikes us is the recognition of the fact by Mr. Rockefeller, that State Capitalism is something different from Socialism, because we are told that in neither the one nor the other “do we find any promise . . . that wealth would be administered for the general good more effectively than under the present methods.”

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