From the April 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard
The assertion that higher productivity is the only solution to the problems facing the working class to-day has been repeated so often by the politician and his numerous henchmen that there is danger of the idea being accepted through the sheer force of constantly reiterated suggestion.
The latest interested party to lend the full weight of his personality as a “someone" in the financial world is Mr. H. Bibby, chairman of Martins Bank. Ltd., who was quoted in the Manchester Guardian of 13th January, 1950, as follows: “The truth is there is greater danger of unemployment if we do not use advanced mechanical aids." He also finds necessary “a willingness to work conscientiously when they [the workers] are at work. Any other course would lead to disaster. . . ."
So we are led to believe that increased efficiency is the all-important thing. Only through harder work and better machinery will we solve our problems.
In case you too have read this statement and are suffering from qualms of conscience, or developing a guilt complex over those stolen minutes in the only place where the foreman cannot follow, perhaps you will not feel too badly about it if you turn over the page of your newspaper and read the small item at the bottom of column three. For those who have mislaid their copies it reads as follows: —
“A further two hundred workers have been dismissed owing to redundancy in the engine division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. This follows the dismissal of two hundred workers between July and November last year, and is described in an official statement issued by the company last night as ‘part of the normal continuous process of strengthening the efficiency of the company’s organisation.' "
And what is efficiency in industry but higher output per man, and how is this achieved but by Mr Bibby's advanced mechanical aids and harder work, and with the same inevitable results as those at the Bristol Aeroplane Company?