One would think that the Editor of Justice had been at the game long enough now to understand something of Marxian economics, yet in the course of an answer to a correspondent in the issue of June 4th, he says: “If, however, through increased output, the value of a ton of coal fell to 15s.,” and later : “So with gold ; as gold, through increased output, or from any cause, falls in value,” and still further on: “Therefore, if the value of gold is depreciated in consequence of increased supply,”

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So many ifs, of course, will carry one a long way in a quibble. One can “if” any impossibility and draw a sane conclusion. All the same, such an instance as this marks the charlatan or the ignoramus

The very basis of Socialist economics is that value is created by socially necessary human labour alone, and that the value of any commodity is governed by the amount of such labour neccessary to produce its like. That is the argument with which we flatten the capitalist claim that they produce value from “machinery, capital, directive ability, etc.” What has “increased output or other causes” to do with the labour entailed in the output. A mine employing 100 men might double its output by employing 200 men, but the labour necessary to produce each ton of coal remaining the same, increased output has no effect on value, however it might modify price.

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Once grant the capitalists that there is any other source of value than human labour, and
you grant that there is some other source of profit than the labourer. But then, of course, confusion in economics is as necessary as air and gargle to reformers. Sound economic knowledge means no reform, no reform means no compromise, no compromise means no S.D.P., no I.L.P., no Labour Party, no Labour fakers, no anything except capitalism on the one hand and the S.P.G.B. on the other.

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The sanctity of the home (of capitalists, for the workers are without most things that make a home in its true sense possiblej is shown by “Mr Dooley” in his description of “Life at Newport.” The American humourist-philosopher also describes the “directing ability” necessary to qualify one for the “pleasures” of that well-known millionaire resort. Hear him:

“But ’tis the millyonaire’s dream to land there. He starts as foreman in a can factory. By an by he larns that wan iv th’ men wurrkin’ fur him has invented a top that ye can open with a pair of scissers, an’ he throws him down an’ takes it away fr’m him.
“He’s a robber, says ye ! He is while he’s got th’ other man down. But whin he gits up, he’s a magnate.
”Thin he sells out his wurrks to a thrust, an’ thin he sells out th’ thrust to th’ thrustful, an begins his weary marrch to Newport.”
“‘Tis there th’ millyonaire meets his wife that was an’ inthrajooces her to his wife that is to be if she can break away fr’m her husband that oughtn’t to’ve been.”

That’s capitalist “industry,” and very often “home life” to a ” T.”

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Who is Earnest Marklew ? I don’t know, and don’t much care, but I find his name footing a couple of columns or so of most incongruous rubbish in the Pioneer (Burnley) for August, and I was wondering if any institution has lost a patient: there are so many lunatics just now shouting “Look at Germany.”

Mr. Markkew has b:een to Germany. Unfortunately he has come back again. If he is any wiser for his visit what must he have been before he went! Here is a sample of his wisdom.

“Germany has fostered its agriculture in a great number and variety of ways. One of the most important is the State ownership of railways and waterways, and the consequent provision of cheap transport, enabling the farmer and the market gardener to dispose of his produce and avoid the swallowing up of his profit by idle railway shareholders.”

That little word which I have italicised comes very well from one who elsewhere says “I yield to no one in the matter of being an out-and-out Revolutionary Socialist . . BUT—.” It trips melodiously from the tongue of one who sees “much more clearly than some one-eyed impossibilist that the only permanent and complete cure for the ills from which the working class suffer is a revolutionary change involving the complete abolition oi capitalism.” It appears very fittingly in a journal emanating from an S.D.P. club. The German workers must be immensely gratified to know that the profit they are forced to yield to the farmers and market gardeners does not find its way into the pockets of idle railway shareholders. Doubtless it would break their hearts to know that the big landlords are able to screw more rent, and the Government more taxes, out of their poor dear masters, than would be the case if idle railway shareholders swallowed up all the bunce.

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Of course the lay of the minstrel is that German reforms have worked wonders for German workers. The German workman, he says, “is a bigger and better man, physically and mentaly, than his British brother-workman.” This Mr. Marklew attributes to “social legislation on lines approximating to the Social-Democrats’ programme of palliatives.” But just previously he had written : “When Germany has had as long an experience of industrial capitalism as we have passed through, one can easily foresee that there will be a different tale to tell about German physique and the general condition of Germen workmen.”

What ! in spite “of social legislation on lines approximating to the Social-Democrats’ programme of palliatives” ? Oh dear ! it might almost be “some one-eyed impossibilist” I am quoting.

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Need we be surprised that Mr. Marklew approves “the prudential wisdom” of Bismarck’s policy of protecting German industry “by a strong tariff wall” which he reminds us was “all the more necessary while industries are young and struggling to plant themselves firmly.” To thoroughly appreciate Bismarck’s policy one must put oneself in Bismarck’s place—a thing the “Revolutionary Socialist—BUT” kind of politician accomplishes with the utmost ease. Bismarck was a “Revolutionary Socialist—BUT” kind of politician himself, and he played the S.D.P. game of trying to side-track the proletariat with a skill and success that was bound to obtain our S.D.P. scribe’s admiration. He even offered Karl Marx the editorship of a “Revolutionary Socialist—BUT” newspaper, and had not Marx been a bit of a “one-eyed impossibilist” himself, he would have seized the opportunity that the S.D.P.-I.L.P. ambition hungers and thirsts after.

But Mr. Marklew thinks it admirable to protect struggling young industries with strong tariff walls—why ? Must we suppose to the end that “when Germany has had as long an experience” of them as we have had there will be a different tale to tell about German physique and the general condition of German workmen ? A worthy object for working-class endeavour, the fostering and protecting of industries which are to lead only to that !

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But the special tit-bit of the whole feast is the following statement:

“Their system of taxation is infinitely preferable to ours. Its principle feature . . . is a graduated income tax. It leaves untouched all incomes under £45 a year, and allows a graduated scale of relief from payments to those with families of more than three children. These exemptions and reliefs would be an immense boon to the poorest of our working class.”

They would, indeed. I’ve always held that the millstone round the neck of the poor devil who is struggling to keep ten kids on 17s. 6d. a week is the income tax ! We want some of that boon and blessing in this country—there might be joy in twins, or even triplets then.

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As a sort of supplement to this attempt to show that the worker in Germany is in so much, better case than his British fellow, there appears on the same page of the same issue of the same thingamebob, this “one-eyed impoesibilist” statement:

“When so much is being said about the conditions of the German and British workman, it is well to point out that whether it be Protectionist France or Germany, or Free Trade England, whilst the present system of production remains, the condition of the workers in all countries alike will, on the whole, be found to be very similar.”

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