Signs of the Times
While the Capitalists control political power the Workers will receive the quantity and quality of education that it suits their Masters for their own purposes to give them. To them the Workers’ Children are no more than potential wealth-producing units and in educating them their sole consideration is “Does it Pay?” Sir Austen Chamberlain truly speaks his Masters’ voice when he says we must have more “if our commerce and our education are to hold their own against a host of active rivals” (“Daily Chronicle,” 19-12-25). and that in brief is the reasorr for our “education.”
Modern methods of wealth production have made a higher education necessary in all directions, and as is usual among the lower grades of workers, a supply much in excess of any demand now affects the once better educated and privileged workers in their efforts to obtain a livelihood. The parent of a University graduate writes complaining to the “Times Educational Supplement” (12-11-25) as follows:
“Boys and girls who are kept at secondary schools until they are 16 or 18 years of age find on leaving that there is no vacant job of the nature for which they have been trained and either they are compelled to undertake work which they could have done equally well— possibly better—without secondary and University education or join the army of the unemployed.”
So much for the security in life of the educated. Neither does that other very respectable section of the Working Class known as the Professional, escape the vicissitudes of a Worker’s life to-day. Writing of Architects in the “Journal of Careers” (Dec.) this magazine says : “At least as many men are entering the profession as the profession can at the present time absorb,” and of women who qualify it states further that “they are not meeting a dearth or supplying a long felt want.” Further comment says : “There are more pharmacists seeking situations than there are situations available; more students are entering pharmacy each year than ever before and it is not easy to visualise how these students will be absorbed.” It is the same story in other professions, Actors, Doctors, Journalists, etc., all struggling to live. Despite the snobbery and conceit of such people the development of Capitalism will disillusion them and compel them to realise their common servitude with the rest of the Working Class.
The Capitalists have not educated the Workers’ children from philanthropic motives, but such education will enable them to interest themselves in our propaganda in growing numbers as they reach the Working age. To extend the intelligence displayed and exercised in the production of wealth to that which will see the need for social change, requires the patient and persistent application of Socialist teachings. The growing difficulty of our Masters and their agents to prove the Capitalist system a beneficent one for the Workers enables us to be assured with no false optimism that time and truth are on our side.
(Socialist Standard, February 1926)