1920s >> 1921 >> no-205-september-1921

A Discovery

According to the “Daily Chronicle” (30.7.21) the “Labour Joint Committee” have just discovered that the Government figures on the cost of living are inaccurate. To the average worker this has been common knowledge ever since the first figures announcing a reduction in living costs were published. Labour leaders’ all over the country have blindly accepted the Government figures, and advised the workers to agree to wage reductions on the ground that it meant cheaper production and lower .prices. They have been utterly discredited in the actual results. Ever since the reductions in wages commenced, prices of the necessaries of life have been steadily rising.

 

Labour leaders have also repeatedly told the workers that it was their duty to increase production by every means in their power. The Socialist Party, on the contrary, has continuously pointed out that increased production, whether as a result of greater efficiency or labour-saving machinery, can have but one result: an increase of unemployment.

 

In their report the “Labour Joint Committee” make a tardy and incomplete acknowledgment of this indisputable fact. They say that “until the worker has security of tenure in industry, occasions will arise when ca-canny will appear to be the leaser of two evils.” The second evil is, of course, unemployment, and with nearly two million registered unemployed, the worker who would race to finish his job to make one more would be a fool. On the other hand, the capitalist pays his overseer to look after his interests, and if he is too slow to catch the worker who shirks unemployment, he too will find himself numbered among the unemployed. The worker has very little choice in the matter. He must either work hard and get the sack himself, or work hard and get his mate the sack.

 

Ca canny,’’ where it exists, and unemployment are proofs of the rottenness of the capitalist system. Men and women lack the necessaries of life; they are forced to be idle by the capitalist class; yet, given access to the means of wealth production, they could produce the things they require in abundance. Capitalism compels the workers to produce for profits. The workers can only satisfy all their requirements when they make the means of wealth-production common property and produce for use.

 

F. Foan