The 50 Years Ago column from the January 1993 issue of the Socialist Standard
All sorts of people who profess to know the facts go on telling us that the old inequalities have disappeared and the rich are no longer with us. All we can say is that if the rich have gone there are still some people about who are able to spend a lot of money as witness the following headline in the News-Chronicle (December 23. 1942): “Grapes 85/ - a pound; Roses 4/6 each in West End Orgy of Spending”.
But the facts are not really in dispute. The ownership of land, factories, railways, etc, is still predominantly vested in the numerically small capitalist class, and if their profits are being heavily taxed during the war they have no doubt that things will improve for them when the war is over. We have yet to hear of heirs to millionaire estates refusing to accept them because they will be valueless or unnecessary in the new world after the war.
Lord Glanely, 71-year-old shipowner and racehorse owner, recently left estate worth £1,813,625, on which death duties amounted to £860,722 (Daily Telegraph, November 27, 1942). and note the following from the Evening Standard (December 15. 1942):—
The Duke of Westminster's estates have been estimated to be worth about £20,000,000. He has sold portions of them, such as the great family mansion in Park Lane, on the site of which Grosvenor House now stands, and eight acres in Millbank. on which Thames House stands. He still owns 600 acres in Mayfair and Belgravia, in addition to 30,000 in Cheshire, and an estate in Scotland.
The Duke, now 62, lives at Eaton, Cheshire. He was in the Home Guard for a time, but the reduction of the age limit barred him from further service.
[From “Notes by the Way” by “H", Socialist Standard, January 1943.]