Editorial from the July 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard
No Government can exist that leaves Britain with slums at the end of this war, declared Mr. Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour, recently.
”We have enough work to keep you going for 30 or 40 years,” he told the building trades at a big meeting in Leicester.—(Daily Herald, June 14th, 1941.)
Mr. Bevin knows, and has often said, that the fact that goods are needed will not itself solve the problem of unemployment. The fact that houses are needed will not prevent unemployment in the building trade if capitalism is left to run its usual course. But if there is anyone who still thinks that the replacement of the houses, factories, machines, etc., destroyed in war will automatically eliminate unemployment, they should remember that just after the last war, and just before the industrial depression of 1921, a former Cabinet Minister risked the forecast that it would take 12 years to make good the destruction and that unemployment, therefore, need not be feared. Under capitalism goods are not produced for use but for sale at a profit, and unless there is the prospect of profit being made production is slowed up and brought to a standstill.