50 Years Ago: Out-of-work Graduates

Like the mass of the working class the products of the higher education must come into the labour market and compete in the merciless struggle that our present social system begets.


  “During the next few months some thousands of young men from Oxford and Cambridge will be looking for work in an inhospitable world. ‘The truth is that there is less and less room in modern life for a liberal education’, said a former undergraduate (who had somehow found a job since coming down last summer) sadly to a Daily News representative yesterday. The most fortunate of these young men — that is, those who have not absolutely got to earn a living at once — will drift to the Bar, with comparatively little prospect of briefs. The less fortunate will become schoolmasters, most of them with neither aptitude nor enthusiasm for their work. And there will still be a lot left over.”

(Daily News 28.6.73)


Perhaps, and more than likely, some unlucky ones will join the ever-growing army of the workers. The capitalists themselves will see that the quantity and quality of so-called educated workers is forthcoming for the purpose of their own profit, and, like the rest of the working class, their supply exceeding the masters’ requirements, their price upon the labour market (salary or wages) consequently falls.


We, too, seek to educate the workers, not as trained machines, producing and distributing wealth for the enjoyment and leisure of others, but to understand their usefulness and importance, using that knowledge to establish society upon a basis that will allow them to enjoy the results of their usefulness in increasing physical and mental comfort.


(From an article by Mac in the Socialist Standard, November 1923)