Socialism and the Well-paid Managers of Industry

Socialism and the Well-paid Managers of Industry

Mr. R. Jessop (Spalding) asks : — ” How will the well-paid managers and supervisors (the working variety) be persuaded to do their job during the period of transition from Capitalism to Socialism?” He adds : —

“Whereas it is quite true that the workers at the present time organise production and distribution, it is, generally speaking, a fact that those in responsible directing, overseering and organising positions are sufficiently well paid as to make their co-operation at .the outset of Socialism, on a basis of equality with their present ‘inferiors’ somewhat problematical. Yet we must have their help to keep the wheels of industry going, until we can train class-conscious Socialists to succeed them.”


Our correspondent finds himself troubled by this question because he attaches too much importance to the size of wages received by managers and supervisors, and because he overlooks other factors.

Although some managers and supervisors do receive wages which are high compared with those of other workers, this is not sufficient to raise them up on to a plane, so that they become immune from the evils of capitalism and from Socialist propaganda. With the development of capitalism, the security of even well-paid managers is made more and more uncertain.

Capitalism is constantly revolutionising its methods of production. The competition for markets, the struggle for profits is always forcing capitalist firms to improve on their methods of producing commodities, and forcing them to cut down the cost of production to the lowest possible level. Consequently, old branches of industry are scrapped as soon as they fail to produce the required profits, and the manager as well as the ordinary working men have to look for fresh jobs.

Then, again, in order to cut down expenses, capitalist firms often amalgamate departments, so that fewer departments do the work that was previously done by more. These changes, too, mean that managers are displaced, so that their true position in society—wage slaves, dependem on the capitalist class for their livelihood—is made clear.

The insecurity of this section of the working class is increased owing to the fact that nowadays capitalism produces more technical specialists than it can use. It is not uncommon to find firms having numbers of workers as well-trained, as well-fitted for the job of manager, as the manager himself. Works do not close down when the manager falls ill or dies; the rest of the staff simply carry on as usual with very little difficulty. When a manager’s post is vacant and advertised, there are many applicants. Because many highly-trained workers cannot obtain the jobs they have been trained for, they will, in time, realise that capitalism is their enemy, and will turn to Socialism. They spend the years of their youth in studying, they (or their parents) pay University fees they can ill afford to pay—for what ? Frequently they leave the University to find they cannot obtain a job: very soon capitalism shatters the dreams of their youth. In this way does capitalism produce its own grave-diggers, for one day such young men will swell the Socialist ranks.

Lastly, the “high wages” of managers and supervisors are not as hard and fast as our correspondent thinks.

The insecurity of the better paid workers persists—and WILL PERSIST AS LONG AS CAPITALISM LASTS. This will eventually be understood by those workers, and this will force them to become Socialists. Should any managers, etc., show themselves to be hostile to Socialism when the working class gains political power, they will be replaceable by other specialists equally well trained.

Other aspects of this question were treated in the SOCIALIST STANDARD March, 1935; Sept., 1933; June, 1923.

C. A.

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