1980s >> 1981 >> no-922-june-1981

Party News

On 8 May at Guildford Branch there was a debate between E. Hardy of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and Arthur Seldon of the Institute for Economic Affairs, on “the Inevitability of Capitalism”. Mr. Seldon explained that we are doomed to wage-slavery for this generation and the next, and that we must therefore “make the best of it”. Our comrade Hardy pointed out that capitalism was merely an historical phase which, like feudalism in its day. had outlived its usefulness.

 

The world market system acts as a barrier to the satisfaction of human needs. When Hardy pointed out that the recommendations of the IEA, such as stopping inflation, reducing state intervention and having free trade, all existed in the nineteenth century and did not prevent mass unemployment, starvation and war, Seldon replied that in 1840, capitalism began to develop nicely for a while. That is. four years before Engels described the terrible poverty which existed then, and in many places still does, in his Condition of the Working Class in England.

 

Seldon gave two types of reason for the n “inevitability of capitalism”. First, instincts such as the “exchange” instinct and the “family” instinct. He gave no scientific proof that such instincts exist. On the contrary, most of us have nearly nothing we could exchange except our poverty and our work. Then he criticised state intervention, high taxation and other ideas which the Socialist Party has never defended.

 

Socialism is not increased state power, but the abolition of the state power. It is not high taxes, but the creation of wealth for direct use without any money system at all. This debate, which about fifty people attended, might not a seem like a great threat to the status quo. But it knocked one more nail into capitalism’s coffin, by making an important point. Capitalism is not inevitable; its replacement by socialism is the start of mankind consciously controlling its own destiny. IEA members who want us to “make the best” of an insane system want us, like them, to hand over our brains, together with our work, to our bosses each week.

 

Clifford Slapper