Consider a few facts. We all know there is poverty in every country, and all good-intentioned persons are deeply sorry for this. It is known that food, clothes, shelter, and all other commodities are the direct product of labour, spent upon the raw material provided by nature. It is also known that there is an abundance of raw material to adequately supply the wants of the whole world without any concern, and it is further known that the power of men to produce the requirements of life from this raw material is very much greater than ever before, and yet in every country people die of starvation. It is also known that the land and resources are available. It is further known that machinery is sitting idle, and hundreds of thousands of men are unemployed, such incongruities would be unbelievable if we were not in daily contact with the facts. Is there a solution to this? The abolition of poverty and securing good conditions for all without exception should be our guiding principle.
A socialist is one who, having investigated the causes of present-day social discord, decides that these causes are found in the private ownership of the means of wealth production and who therefore endorses the necessity for co-operative ownership in order to eliminate private or sectional monopoly and secure the advantages for the whole people. By co-operative ownership is meant ownership of the whole people, ie the resource and machinery of production become the property of society; otherwise put socialism, or social democracy, or collectivism, (all of which mean the same), working hours would be regulated according to the amount of work to be done, and the number of people to do it, the workers engaged in the less pleasant kinds of work would probably work fewer hours than those in the more agreeable occupations. It is not an uncommon thing to find persons expressing kindly feeling towards those in poverty, but by no means do they endorse the co-operative ownership and control of the land, mines, machinery and transport, without which no one can be a socialist. Once again then, socialism, involves the transference from present day private ownership to ownership of all those agencies of wealth production necessary for the supply of life’s necessaries by and for the whole people. Private ownership of the means of wealth production fails most lamentably to provide all the people with the means of a decent life.
Karl Marx long ago explained, the capitalist is always after the “surplus” ie that the largest possible amount of the total value produced in the establishment shall come to him as profits, and therefore that the least possible should be absorbed as wages, expenses of management and general upkeep of the establishment.
It necessarily follows that each group of capitalists is continually on the lookout to save wages, and therefore every new device in the way of what is termed labour saving, which is really wages saving machinery is made use of and the result is that there is a constantly diminishing proportion of the total produce of labour going in the form of wages to those who perform the total labour and a constantly increasing proportion of output going as profits to the capitalist. Not a trade can he named but confirms this contention. That is not the worst phase of the matter. It will be seen that with the ever increased power to produce commodities the market is stocked with increasing ease, and by men who have been engaged in producing serviceable commodities producing so very much more than they receive in wages and therefore more than they consume, the markets are glutted, and these same men are thrown into the ranks of the unemployed, not because they have failed to work effectively, but because they have produced so abundantly and consumed so little of it, they are therefore discharged and prevented from getting even a sufficiency upon which to live. This is the direct effect of private ownership of the means of production for the purpose of making profits for the capitalists, instead of working co-operatively in the public interest. We socialists declare that the whole world bears witness to the truth of the statement as to the effects of production for profit for capitalists and that being so we declare the present system stands condemned. The degradation of workers dominates the industrial system by which all must live. A more grossly unfair system than the present could not be devised.