From the August 1927 issue of the Socialist Standard
Our masters, despite their cant about our improving conditions, well understand the remote possibilities of the workers being able to save from the meagre portion of their product returned in the form of wages. Inviting the workers to become shareholders on the instalment system is a grim joke. A scheme has been introduced by the Southern Railway with this objective :—
“For a workman to secure £10 worth of stock it is necessary for him to pay one instalment of 1/6 and then for 77 weeks 2/6 will be deducted from his pay” (“Daily Chronicle,” May 23, 1927).
Assuming “regular work,” after 15 years’ saving against the rainy day, he will have accumulated sufficient to bring him in at (say) 5 per cent. the sum of 2s. per week. It is to be hoped that, even if he and the job last, he does not encounter a heavy shower, otherwise his “rainy day” savings will be a “wash out.” Some may protest that large numbers of the workers do “get on.” If they do, then why do they not figure as income tax payers? Including the body of professional and other workers who pay income tax as an item in the cost of living :—
“The numbers of liable persons paying income tax in the years in question are estimated at 2,400,000 for 1924-25 and 2,300,000 for 1925-26” (Answer given by Mr. Churchill to a question in the House of Commons—Hansard, April 12, 1927).
Here is evidence of the capitalist myth that wealth is becoming more evenly distributed. It shows two extremes. Out of the ever-increasing wealth produced by the working class alone, the wages system means for them that they can never obtain, as a class, more than that which reproduces their slave condition. We have demonstrated it often enough ; a capitalist Chancellor of the Exchequer lends additional support to our claim.
W. E. MacHaffie