50 Years Ago: The Crisis – The Planners’ Swansong
Capitalism we know and have long endured. Socialism we could have and will have when a majority understands the need for it. But is there a half-way house, something that has ceased to be Capitalism but is not Socialism? Socialists know that there can be no such thing, but many people both in the Labour Party and outside thought that it was possible and desirable. Not that the Labour supporters of planned capitalism called it that. Indeed they said precisely the opposite—“there is no half-way house between a society based on private ownership in the means of production, with the profit of the few as the measure of success, and a society where public ownership of those means deliberately planned for attaining the maximum of general well-being.” (“For Socialism and Peace,” Labour Party). Yet that is just what the Labour Party has been trying to do and in the experiment it received the support of many who knew quite well what they were seeking was to keep capitalism but rid it of its chaotic features and subject it to planning and controls.