1960s >> 1969 >> no-784-december-1969

People or profits?

Under capitalism the land and industry are owned by a small section of society who thus form a privileged class. Modern industry, however, can only be worked by the co-operative labour of society as a whole. It is this conflict between sectional ownership and social production that causes today’s many social problems since it prevents wealth being produced to satisfy human needs.

Only when ownership and production have been brought into harmony —by the establishment of the common ownership and democratic control of the means by which society lives —is there any hope of solving problems like war, world poverty, the colour bar, destitution, bad housing, the transport muddle, poor health and its poor treatment.

These of course are the problems which the other parties promise to solve if only you will elect them to be the government. But they always fail. Why? Because what they are trying to do cannot be done. It is just not possible to solve these problems as long as class ownership is retained. No matter how sincere or efficient a government may be it cannot make capitalism work as if it were a rational system geared to satisfying human needs.

Capitalism runs on profits and can only work as a profit making system for the class that owns the means of production. As this class ownership, in preventing production solely for use, is the cause of these problems any attempt to deal with them within its framework is bound to fail.

So capitalism, as a class system that runs on profits, is constitutionally incapable of serving human needs. Socialism, on the other hand, will provide the framework within which these problems can be solved. With the means of production owned by and under the democratic control of the community, there will be no class privileges to stand in the way of production solely for use. With the abolition of the profit motive society can set about solving these problems with the satisfying of human needs as its guiding principle. For it is not as if enough comfortable houses could not be built or enough food for the whole world could not be grown. It is just that under capitalism it is not profitable to give priority to basic needs like food and shelter.

This is why we say nothing short of Socialism will do.