From the June 1923 issue of the Socialist Standard
How many working-class children follow the occupations to which they are adapted, and which would hold their interest? One could almost count them on the fingers of one hand.
One boy is of a mechanical turn of mind and is fond of the working of machinery and contriving crude mechanical toys; he becomes a baker’s boy. Another loves the open air and the things that grow in the fields and hedges; the mechanism of plants and the ways of the bee, the butterfly and the bird are intensely interesting and wonderful to him; he becomes an office boy. The sea and the lands beyond the sea calls yet another; he longs to haunt the lonely spaces of the earth; he becomes a grocer’s boy in a shop in a populous city. Such are the instances that teem around us.
The cause of this maladaptation is the source of the many evils that are constantly with the working class.
The working class child is born into a system that a certain period puts before him the problem of finding a master or starving. He must obtain employment of some kind regardless of his aptitude or desires. The family at home is growing; father’s wages no longer suffice to meet the needs, and consequently the child must accept the first job that offers, and if he is lucky(!) that means following the same trade until industry has sapped all his energy and eventually thrown him out upon the scrapheap to beg or find a place in the workhouse.
The private ownership of wealth, with consequent dependence upon wages of the vast majority of the population, is the cause of this maladaptation.
When wealth becomes common property and is democratically controlled by the whole people there will be such an abundance of workers available that the necessary work of society will not be able to absorb all this energy. It will then be possible for all the members of society to experiment in occupation until they find the one that suits them best.
This will be better for society, as work that is loved is better performed than toil that is hated. It will be better for the members of society because they will be carrying out functions that will be a fruitful means of happiness. It will be better for the generations that follow because the ideas that teem in the minds of millions will have ample opportunity to be put into operation and provide stepping stones for yet greater happiness in the aeons that are to come.
Let us then join together to root out the cause of maladaptation, and bring in the new society that is full of such promise