Asked & Answered

F. W. DUNSTAN writes :
“There is a question relating to Socialism which, it seems to me, cannot be answered very favourably for that system of society, which you Socialists say will satisfy all the material needs of every member of trie community provided he does his share of the necessary work of production. How would that society meet the demand for extra labour-power rendered necessary by terrific earthquakes, and also by the opening-up of new lands, entailing the building of new factories, railways, etc., all of which are easily met under capitalism ?

Socialism is advocated as the remedy for the poverty from which the workers suffer. That poverty is caused, not by earthquakes, but by the capitalist monopoly of the essentials of life. We, therefore, do not propose schemes to deal with earthquakes, or such natural catastrohpies. When great seismic disturbances do occur, capitalism does not shine in its treatment of their effects. When St. Martinique and Messina were destroyed, the “great organisers” of to-day merely called upon charity for aid, and Mansion House funds were the order of the day. But there is another side to the earthquake factor. The workers of the Pacific Slope looked upon, the earthquake of San Francisco as a very godsend, because in this anarchistic “system” it meant “work at last.” When men and women under Socialism labour but a fraction of the time now worked, they would be in an infinitely superior position to cope with these “exhibitions of God’s boundless love” ; and the same applies to the question of “opening-up new lands”. Mr. Dunstan says the effects of earthquakes are easily made good, and the demands for developing new lands easily met under capitalism. By whom ? The working class, of course. Then they can as easily do these things for themselves as for profitmongers, especially as those who now “toil not” will be there as workers to lend a hand.


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