1950s >> 1958 >> no-642-february-1958

Sound Currency or No Currency

The above title might read a bit “haywire” to the stockbrokers of Throgmorton or Wall Streets, but if such is the case, this is merely because their vision is limited to that of a buying and selling, production for profit system of society. A world of banks and bombs, courts and prisons, parsons and prostitutes, “Official Receivers’ and un-official “receivers,” Merchant-Brokers and broke “merchants”; flood-lit palaces and gas-lit bad alleys, nuclear “progress” on one hand and National Assistance Boards on the other, plus all the rest of the paraphernalia of this “sorry scheme of things.”

Anything outside this crazy world of Capitalism is —to the upholders of that social system—a “flight of fancy.”

A recent account by Tom Stacey (Daily Express) describes a fund formed in America, with donations of the “Almighty Dollar” already flowing in, to complete a sum to present to—Guess Who ?—“Our first visitor from outside space.” This is a classical example of bourgeois mentality. For them it is a foregone conclusion that “filthy lucre” could not fail to be held in esteem by any possible inhabitants of the whole vast Cosmos!

Such reasoning is of course fallacious. Social systems change in relation to changes in the mode of production and distribution. There can be no eternal Capitalism any more than there could have been an eternal Feudalism. The “Embryo” of Socialism has long existed within the aging Capitalism in the form of social production and distribution by the working class in the complicated arrangements required by world markets. It needs but the “midwife” of Socialist knowledge on the part of the working class to complete the “delivery” of the new society. A society wherein the beloved “currency” of the stockbrokers and their ilk will find its historic place as an exhibit in the museums.

This is an historic possibility overlooked by such writers as Frederick Ellis, Daily Express financial columnist, who, having his own ideas on what is “good for us all” offers the following advice in his contribution towards the (doubtful) benefit of suffering humanity:—

“A strong £ is essential to the welfare of the nation—as, a whole. Monkey about with the £ and you monkey about with Britain’s living standards. The bold and politically courageous moves of the Government, unpopular as they may be, are essential for a sound currency, and a sound currency is good for us all.”—(Sunday Express, 3/10/57.)

This statement is typical of the general “run” of these writers who speak for King Capital. In their view, society is made up of nations within whose boundaries exists a total population with identical interests— “happy family” wherein strikes official or unofficial are “bad for us all”; for ever and anon, more work and higher production are “good for us all” with the “Almighty Dollar” as an eternal basis for their financial juggling.

In the first place we take it for granted that Mr. Ellis includes the working class when he talks about the “nation as a whole.” After all where would the “Nation” be without them ! As regards ”monkeying about with the £ and Britain’s living standards”—this advice is rather belated in view of the fact that various Governments since the turn of the Century have been performing tricks in this field, otherwise how explain the vast reduction in volume of commodities bought by the 1957 £ as against its 1900 counterpart? Then again what is Mr. Ellis’ basis for a “living standard”? Is it the “Plimsol line” of the old age pensioners “ standard” or perhaps the “standard” of the habitues of the Dorchester. We have to quote these two extremes because Mr. Ellis is himself continually concerned about what is “good for us all.”

The standard of living of the working class in Britain as elsewhere, is determined by the fact that they are a wage-slave class, dependent on the sale of their bodily energy (labour-power), which precludes their participation in the luxury standard of their masters— the Capitalist ruling class. So long as the working class support politically this state of affairs, their living standard will remain what it is today—A MEAN AND SHODDY EXISTENCE IN RELATION TO THE WEALTH THEY SOCIALLY PRODUCE BUT DO NOT OWN.

To sum up—in a class-divided society like Capitalism, wherein the Capitalist owning class buy the labour-power of the working class at its market value, whether they pay for it with a “strong” £ or a “weak one” (to use their own lingo) makes no difference to the working class.

Furthermore, the Capitalist Class buy this labour power of the working class, not from any benevolent motives, but because of its potentiality for producing a value over and above its cost in wages, i.e., for profit The relationship therefore in this transaction is that of exploiter and exploited; rather an unsound basis, to say file least for Mr. Ellis’ “sound currency” social theories.

Fortunately we are not depending on the confused theories “of financial “experts” to get us out of the social morass of Capitalism. As Socialists we stand for the abolition of the wages system with its “currency madhouse” or “Sound Pounds,” “Almighty Dollars,” State Roubles, Widows’ Mites and Pensioners Pittances.
To replace it—something that will be good for us all—Socialism.

G. R. Russell.

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