Do you see what Cecil, K.C., sees?

Among the many “topics of the moment” may well be included the question of co-partnership, or profit-sharing. The matter has been dealt with in these columns on several occasions, but the appearance of the following paragraph in the Evening News of 12.11.10 makes it opportune to again direct attention to the tricky purpose behind the specious wording of the phrase co-partnership.

“The West London Parliament will meet to-night in the Council Chamber of Marylebone Hall, when Lord Robert Cecil, K.C., will move :
‘That in the opinion of this House, the fair division of the profits of industry, as between capital and labour, is of supreme importance, and can only be secured by the adoption of co-partnership ; that being the only effective alternative form of industrial organisation to Socialism.'”

I do not know the result of the debate, but anyway, that is unimportant. The discerning reader will draw quite a number of conclusions from the paragraph as it stands, but I would ask him more particularly to consider the last few words. The only alternative to Socialism is co-partnership, according to Lord Robert Cecil. Good ! I hope the toilers can see it equally clearly.

Observe there is no hypocritical reference to Socialism destroying family life, religion, initiative, etc.; to it being the “end of all,” the creed of the chronic grumbler, or piffle of that description. With refreshing candour the fact is specifically admitted that Socialism is a form of industrial organisation. Grant that and you have the unique spectacle of one of the Cecils, with a pedigree as long as a poker, inferentially preaching Socialism.

Prove it ? Set your thinking apparatus in motion. Look here, if co-partnership be the only alternative to Socialism, logically the bankruptcy of the former leaves you but one course. In that the noble lord concurs. Co-partnership has been proved in these columns to be a fraud. It has proved to be a failure wherever it has been inflicted upon the workers—notably quite recently in the shipbuilding industry, where it was installed with a nourish of drums and sounding of brasses, but only to demonstrate that the wealth producers would still obtain buta mere fraction of their product.

Out of capitalism nothing but its effect can be expected. The method of wealth making that we call capitalism depends and rests upon the fact that the class that makes all wealth gets only a small portion returned to it in the shape of wages. Any juggling with the proportions of the total product of labour, and calling the process the profit-sharing or bonus system, does not alter the central and fundamental fact that the people who make it do not get it. They only receive a portion of it. And yet there are people who talk of a fair division of wealth between those who make it and those who don’t. K.C.s may be able to see it, but workers cannot —there is a difference.


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