Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Short cuts or dead ends? (1995)

Editorial from the March 1995 issue of the Socialist Standard

The world is still in terrible shape. The politicians can’t do anything about it. The economists haven’t helped. All of the people who have dedicated their time or donated to worthy causes haven’t really made much of a difference. The problems even seem to be getting worse, not better.

The situation is not hopeless unless you expect others to fix everything for you. The solution has four parts and you are a major component of all four.
  • Understand that the problems cannot be solved one by one, they are interconnected. Attempts to solve one problem usually come at the expense of other, equally severe, problems. For example, more money for day care means less money for rape crisis. More money to fight poverty means less money to counter racism. Less money for war means fewer jobs and lower wages.
  • Recognise that the underlying interconnecting cause is the profit system.
  • Educate others.
  • Eliminate the cause. Once the cause is gone, solving the remaining problems will be relatively easy.

Many people seem to think that there are shortcuts that will solve the problems one by one. Over the last hundred years, the short-cuts have failed to eliminate a single major problem. Poverty, war, starvation, and more, remain. Wouldn’t it be better to work for a long-term solution that will succeed, rather than taking short-cuts that don’t? Besides, if everyone working for the short-cuts went to work on a real solution, the long-term would get a lot closer a lot faster.

There are always problems that, it seems, just can’t wait for long-term solutions, so caring, concerned people commit to the short-term approach. But the problems don’t get solved and short-cutters settle for the occasional, unsatisfactory "victory’’. This is not good enough.

The short-cut approach only allows the problems to get worse.

We don’t have time for any more short-cuts. We need a solution. Socialism is the real solution and has never been tried.

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