Monday, April 24, 2023

The Lady with the Lamp (1944)

From the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

Nursing as it is To-day
That nursing is a vocation in the religious sense is an assertion surprisingly still made to-day, as witness the film The Lamp Still Burns,” about which something will be said later. Nurses, like Nuns, are supposed to take up their work in response to a mysterious call, but many relinquish its mixed joys on closer acquaintance.

In early times, before the dissolution of the monasteries, the care of the sick was in the hands of the religious houses, remnants of which became the first voluntary hospitals. The Elizabethan Poor Law was the basis of what is now the municipal hospital, first under the Parish overseer, then the Board of Guardians, and lastly the Ministry of Health.

Of nurses and nursing in this country we know little before the nineteenth century, and training was unknown. In military hospitals there were no female nurses, and mortality was high. The lack of organisation went unnoticed until a major war occurred nearer the scale of modern war. War to the general public seemed far away when only a standing army was affected.

In the early nineteenth century there were voluntary hospitals and workhouse infirmaries for the sick poor, looked after by nurses who, if for nothing else, were known for their drunkenness. This was excused on the ground that hospital conditions were so terrible that some stimulant was necessary to enable nurses to carry on. Beds were packed close together, fresh air was practically nil, and surgical cases often died of the dreaded hospital gangrene. The rich were cared for in their own homes, by women of whom Dickens’ Sarah Gamp seems to have been a fair prototype; but at least they were not exposed to the infection of a hospital ward. Any poor ignorant woman who was fitted for nothing else could be a nurse. They worked long hours, did all the domestic work, and usually lived in the hospital, often in the wards themselves.

In the mid and late nineteenth century great reforms came about, mainly through the establishment of training centres, notably Florence Nightingale’s school of nursing and St.Thomas’s Hospital in 1860. Florence Nightingale may be called the founder of modern nursing. Though known sentimentally as the “Lady with the Lamp,” she instituted modern hospital planning and hygiene, and spread much knowledge of sanitation. It is interesting to notice a little of her career. Being of the propertied class, her wish to be a nurse was resisted by her parents on the ground that a gentlewoman could not associate on equal terms with working women, often drunken and immoral, and, even if chaste, still working women. After much resistance she obtained what training she could at Kaiserworth in Germany in 1851 and with the Sisters of Charity in Paris in 1853.

In 1853 the Crimean War commenced, and in this major campaign great perturbation was caused by the deaths of the wounded British from negligence. Nearly 50 per cent. died. People became incensed as they learned that preparations and precautions were practically nil. The French ally, by contrast, had reasonably well organised medical services, and had taken 50 Sisters of Charity to act as nurses.

Florence Nightingale was asked by the Government to take a party of nurses to remedy matters. We have seen that the British Army had no female nurses, and this intrusion was energetically resisted by many of the medical officers, who saw in it criticism of themselves. The medical profession to-day likewise resists any apparent encroachment on their privileges. We know by Florence Nightingale’s reorganisation of the hospitals at Scutari and in the Crimea that she did not lack energy and initiative.

Following the Crimean War, strenuous efforts were made to reorganise hospitals in this country, and trainees of Florence Nightingale started nursing schools at many hospitals, and the status of nursing became raised.

Just before the turn of the century, great improvement were made in this and other Western countries. Efforts were made to check infectious diseases by isolating and notifying. Great strides in medicine, such as the technique of antiseptic surgery, introduction of anaesthetics, discoveries of the causes of hitherto baffling diseases were made. County councils with medical officers of health were set up, and sanitation at last received some attention.

Florence Nightingale’s reforms in nursing had their way because all this was in the air. The discoveries in medicine made the more intelligent nursing of the sick essential. It was not something which just happened out of the blue by the goodness of one woman, but because at this time it became necessary to transform the Sarah Gamp into a trained knowledgeable worker in the art of nursing, into a woman who could carry out important observations, and many special treatments—in a word, to change the unskilled into the skilled worker.

In 1902 the Midwives Act was passed—”an Act secure the better training of midwives.” Efforts were made to secure as nurses girls of better education, at least secondary school standard. But the shortage of suitable recruits has usually been acute except at the best teaching hospitals —e.g., the London voluntary Hospitals. Girls of better education have wanted better rewards than nursing can give. The lure of the vocation, the life of satisfying work for suffering humanity, etc., ad nauseum, have all been tried. The bait has never been good conditions, reasonable hours and adequate pay for an efficient worker. But the dope has never been completely successful. The municipal hospitals and smaller voluntary hospitals have had to recruit from the elementary schools. This makes it difficult for the recruit, who has probably left school at 14 years and worked in a shop, office or factory, to go back to school again at 18 years. Particularly is this the case now that many high schools run pre-nursing courses, thus relieving the student nurse of much study in her first difficult year of hospital life.

A student has much to learn of a scientific character, and a knowledge of chemistry and mathematics is a great help to the prospective nurse. As always, the good background of education makes all the difference between taking a job in one’s stride or making it a very hard grind. Many fall by the wayside and never become State registered. They then become the assistant nurses, or, shall we say, the labourers of the present nursing world.

What has been the reward for the hard grind ? Until the Rushcliffe scale of salaries was introduced recently, the best salary paid to a student nurse was £20 in the first year, £30 in the second, and £40 in the third, together with board and lodging. The answer to complaints on this score has always been that training was being given free during this period, whilst other trainees—e.g. doctors, teachers, architects, etc.—have to pay for theirs. Such students, however, do not have to work 10-12 hours day or night, often at an exhausting pace, and then attend lectures afterwards. In the writer's experience of commencing training only 11 years ago night duty commenced at 7.30 p.m. and finished at 8 a.m. Often the entire night was worked without a break even for a meal, and then lectures had to be attended at either 9 a.m. or 6 p.m. At 9 a.m. the lecturer received scant attention. A hard school, indeed, and the one night off per week was often spent in sleeping the clock round. The Horder Committee report on nursing reconstruction, recently published, recommends that the nurse should be a student paying for her training, and not an hospital employee responsible for the work of the hospital. They suggest she should be helped by Government grants.

Conditions, however, are improving, in order to attract recruits of what are termed the better kind. Parents are not willing to allow their daughters to undergo an interesting but vigorous training at the cost of their health. “Hard work never killed anyone,” still say some members of the old school. Perhaps not, but health may be impaired, and vitality and energy for outside interests may be completely sapped. We do not, generally speaking, find nurses interested in political questions and world affairs. Why? Because the hospital is its own little world in which one may work and take no notice of the greater world. This may be thought a good thing. Florence Nightingale would have considered that completely absorbing work in the service of others was so. Facts belie it. A nurse so living becomes narrow and harsh, and finally is quite unable to understand the youngest recruits. Certain hospitals in this country now allow their trained staff to live out. This has, on the whole, been extremely successful, and these hospitals have had less difficulty in obtaining staff.

What are the nurse’s expectations when finally she is trained, passes her exams, and can put those long-coveted letters S.R.N. behind her name? She may remain in a general hospital as a staff nurse to do surgical or medical nursing, and after a few years of experience become a Sister and direct the ward. She may take further training in some other branch of. nursing—e.g., midwifery, fevers, children, district, public health or industrial nursing. Many fields of interest are now open to the trained nurse. The latest of these is that of industrial nursing.

The Government has recommended that factories employ a trained nurse and establish a first-aid and welfare department. This department was not established out of the kindness of the employer’s heart. Absenteeism through sickness is considerably reduced: prompt treatment of accidents saves weeks of disability, and reduces compensation;—the worker with a wound has his dressing done by the factory nurse, thus preventing him taking a day off to visit his local hospital or his panel doctor.

Public health and district work is popular, as here the nurse works with greater freedom than her hospital colleague, and she lives out. These nurses regard their work as important and socially useful; their hours are reasonable, and their scale of salary has just been raised through the recommendations of the Rushcliffe Committee. It is not, however, princely, as the maximum salary for a superintendent of health visitors, a post only reached after years of experience, is £55O per year.

The Rushcliffe yearly salaries for the trained nurse are £90, for the ward sister £130, and for a sister tutor £200 rising to £350. These are exclusive of emoluments. The student nurse is to be paid at the rate of £10 first year. £45 second year, £50 third year, and £60 fourth year. These are mentioned in detail as they were supposed to constitute a wonderful improvement.

Previous to the war nurses who married were expected to leave. Since the war they have been permitted—nay, implored—to remain. Florence Nightingale was harsh with nurses who married; she considered that they should devote their whole lives to their work.

The clock cannot be put back despite frantic efforts to do so. The production at this time of the film “The Lamp Still Burns” shows a desire to do so. The heroine, Hilary, foregoes her private life to serve her calling. Few would be willing to make such an unnatural sacrifice Why should such an anachronism be expected? Under modern conditions the nurse may work, for example, for eight hours efficiently and then leave hospital, district or clinic for her home or her own interests and relaxation. The nurse in training may live in for convenience, but should have her lectures in her “on duty” time.

Reorganisation is required and had to some small extent been carried out in England before the war, but more widely in America. Under better conditions nursing could be a most satisfying kind of work. Indeed, it provides an answer to those who state that workers must have bosses. Many nurses, working without supervision, voluntarily exceed their hours of duty for their patients’ welfare.

Efforts are required by nurses themselves to improve their conditions. Hitherto they have been too exhausted to do much in that direction, plus, of course, the play on the vocational side.

The nurse has now become a skilled worker, but do not whisper this to her, as she is taught to regard herself as belonging to the professional class, whom it would appear are a race apart. This snobbery has been a bar to trade-union activity, which has, generally speaking, been resisted by hospital matrons.

Apart from the apathetic state of nurses, three main obstructions to progress exist : The attitude of the working class, who ignorantly look on her as an angel of mercy or despise her as part of what they regard as the racket of medicine; the medical profession, who wish the nurse to be the Cinderella to their own great glory; lastly, from those who as nurses wish the vocational idea to continue.

Many of the diseases and accidents which can be directly traced to the needless hazards of industry or to the poverty of the workers, as well as the more dramatic casualties of war, will die with the death of capitalism. Only under a form of society in which the health and happiness of people, rather than the production of commodities, is the aim can nursing come into its own, with its infinite possibilities of satisfying work.
W. P.

Editorial: Fabian Fallacies, or the Sorrows of Bernard Shaw (1944)

Editorial from the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

Fresh from a vain attempt to show that our Transatlantic comrades of the “Western Socialist” do not understand Socialism, Mr. G. B. Shaw has enlivened the columns of the Times (February 1, 1944) with a letter teaching the Chancellor of the Exchequer how not to suck the financial eggs of capitalism, and the Foreign Secretary the A.B.C. of using Quislings to run the new European governments to be set up at the heels of the departing Germans. Though the connection may not be obvious, the two pieces of advice are based on the same old Fabian principle that you cannot destroy an existing system unless you already have experts and machinery to operate a new one.

Mr. Shaw has raised the flag of revolt on behalf of the downtrodden dukes of England, the impoverished millionaires, and the payers of Excess Profit Tax. He and other rich men are being ruined by excessive taxation. So he implores the Chancellor to exempt from surtax “all legitimately earned incomes exceeding £20,000,” re-introduce the income tax three-years average system to meet the hard case of “the wretch who makes £21,000 in one year, and a bare subsistence in the years preceding and following,” and “abolish the Excess Profits Tax root and branch.” So long as we have pampered rich, he says, “we must pamper them for all they are worth, and far from crying that nobody must profit commercially by war, make war the most profitable of all businesses until it ends in victory.”

A paragraph from Mr. Shaw’s letter will make his argument clear, especially if read in conjunction with a statement made by him in a further letter to the Evening Standard : —
“It may be finally desirable to get, rid of landlordism; but while we have landlords let us have rich ones, and encourage them to be richer, rather than poor and persecuted ones. And what applies to private farming enterprise applies to all enterprises.” (Times, February 1).

“The question at issue is whether private factories are to be closed and private farmers evicted before the Government is ready to carry on the work they are doing without a day’s intermission. I say no.” (Evening Standard, February 10).
His advice to the Foreign Secretary is based on the same principle, that when governments are overthrown on the Continent new ones will not be able to function unless they retain the services of the trained functionaries who have served the previous German-controlled governments. Shaw has in mind men like the late Admiral Darlan, “the citizen who will obey and faithfully serve the established government of his country, no matter how often it changes.”

It is not our concern to enter into discussion about Shaw’s advice to the Cabinet—probably they appreciate the force of his arguments as well as he does. What we are concerned with is a deeper issue, one that Shaw ignores.

On the surface, the Fabian Society has been a superb success. Its ideas moulded the Labour Party and I.L.P., and some of its leading men reached high office and wielded great influence in the Labour Party and in Liberal and Labour Governments. It has claimed that those who rejected Fabian theories have never made any headway. What, then, were the theories .of the Fabian Society? They are well stated in “The History of the Fabian Society,” by Mr. E. R. Pease, its secretary for 25 years (published in 1916 by A. C. Fifield). Professing Socialism as its aim, the Fabians rejected the view “Make Socialists and you will make Socialism” (the view held by the S.P.G.B.), and declared instead that Socialism was a principle already in part embodied in the constitution of capitalist society. As Fabians and Fabian ideas permeated other parties, this Socialist principle would, they said, gradually be extended. Mr. H. G. Wells, who quarrelled with them over this, defined their attitude fairly enough when he said that they believed “the world may be manoeuvred into Socialism without knowing it” and that “society is to keep like it is … and yet Socialism will be soaking through it all, changing without a sign.”

Mr. Pease says in his “History,” “The work of the Fabian Society has been not to make Socialists, but to make Socialism” (p. 255).

Then the Fabians believed in government by the expert —”what it demanded was partly, indeed, a more efficient and expert central government . . . but primarily an expert local civil service in close touch with and under the control of a really democratic municipal government” (p. 248). Critics of the Society used to charge their largely civil service membership with being concerned with creating careers for themselves. As one leading member once said, “The government of the future will be by experts, and we, naturally, want to be the experts” (Mr. H. Snell, quoted in the Socialist Standard, February, 1907).

It will be noticed that Mr. Shaw is still worried about having somebody, the experts, to carry on in place of factory owners, landlords, farmers and government officials, and this brings us to the utter failure of 60 years of Fabianism. They were going to smooth the road to complete Socialism. Writing in 1889, Mr. Shaw declared that the transfer of private property to the nation had already been in progress for 15 years (“Fabian Essays,” p. 180), yet now, after a further 55 years, making a round century in all, we are told in effect that we are helpless to do anything because the propertied men in control are still indispensable. Shaw’s slogan now is “Dukes are better landlords than needy freeholders” (Times, February 1, 1944).

The Fabian experts half a century ago, like their Labour Party imitators afterwards, had a vision of municipal and state enterprises extending everywhere under their guiding hand and driving private concerns out of business. Wages of workers in the nationalised undertakings would rise, and landlords and capitalists would disappear. Mr. Shaw airily rounded it off thus in his “Transition” (Fabian Essays, 1889, p. 199) : —
“It is not necessary to go further into the economic detail of the process of the extinction of private property. Much of that process as sketched here may he anticipated by sections of the proprietary class successively capitulating, as the net closes about their special interests, on such terms as they may be able to stand out for before their power is entirely broken.”
We shall not be accused of exaggeration if we say that something seems to have gone wrong with the time-table. This has not escaped the notice of the Fabians, and Mr. Pease and Mr. Shaw have both had their say about the actual results of Fabianism. Mr. Pease wrote, in 1916 : “It must be confessed that we have made but little progress along the main road of Socialism. Private ownership of capital and land flourishes almost as vigorously as it did 30 years ago. Its grosser cruelties have been checked, but the thing itself has barely been touched” (p. 241).

That is as true now as it was in 1916, and note, too, that whereas in 1889 it was the Fabians who were very cleverly—as they thought—permeating the Liberal and Radical parties with their reform programmes, now the boot is on the other foot, and it is the Liberal Sir William Beveridge who is permeating the Labour Party with his scheme for removing a new batch of grosser cruelties in the campaign to make the world safe for capitalism.

Mr. Shaw lias been just as frank as Mr. Pease. In reply to the question whether Socialism had made progress during his lifetime, he replied to the News-Chronicle (January 6, 1936) : —
“Yes; but it is the capitalists who exploit it for their own profit everywhere except in Russia . . . The Socialists here broke down the old capitalist policy of laissez-faire, and showed that State help was indispensable in modern industry. Accordingly, the capitalists now will not build a Queen Mary unless the State helps them out; and mines are registered as Public Utility Societies instead of private ventures. Excellent Socialism for capitalists; but the sailors and miners get nothing out of it.”
So after half a century of building “Socialism for capitalists” but without making Socialists, we find that things are very much as they were. Vital change is still impossible because there is something lacking. We must, says Mr. Shaw, bolster up our dukes and landlords, pamper the rich, and depend on Continental Quislings to keep capitalism going. There is something lacking; Socialists are lacking. The Fabians never held with making Socialists, yet it is surely obvious that if the enormous effort devoted to advising the capitalists how to adapt their system to the changing circumstances of the past half-century had been devoted to making Socialists here and abroad, Mr. Shaw’s twin problem would be non-existent and his advice superfluous.

The early Fabians, the I.L.P. and the Labour Party were wrong, and the S.P.G.B. was right. The problem was not, and is not, one of extending state and municipal capitalism—(incidentally the present drift is towards monopolistic public utility corporations under some sort of state supervision, not towards state operated enterprises)—-nor is it one of finding experts and superior brains. There is no lack of able and experienced workers in industry, farming and the civil service to carry on, nor was there 60 years ago. All that is lacking is a Socialist working class to give orders to its delegates in Parliament and on the local councils for the ending of the private property basis of society. Socialism is still not here, but that is only because the workers are still not Socialists. What society needs now, as when the Fabians began their slow march to nowhere, is not Fabian experts to show the capitalists what changes are necessary to keep capitalism going, but a majority who understand Socialism and are determined to achieve it, through gaining control of the machinery of government.

Letter: Marx’s Economic Theories (1944)

Letter to the Editors from the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard


Editorial Committee, the Socialist Standard.

Dear Sirs,

In thanking you for your courtesy in publishing my letter on Marx, I would ask your permission to make the following answer to “H.’s” reply.

My critic states : (1) that the authorities I quoted are, with one exception, not economists, and (2) that they do not always agree with one another.

In reply to this I would say that they are all men who have devoted a lifetime to the study of political and economic questions, and that no one can expect them to agree with one another on every point.

In what branch of science are all the authorities agreed on everything?

As for the statement that they are not “political economists,” if by this term is meant those who are professors of the subject in our universities, I would ask what professor of political economy in any university in the world to-day, outside Russia, does endorse Marx’s theory of value? I have never been able to find the name of anyone who does, though I have questioned many of my Marxian friends on the subject. And it will not do to say that they refrain from doing so from fear of victimisation by the university authorities. In this revolutionary age anyone who came forward as an open champion of Marx would probably make a fortune from the sale of his books. The Dean of Canterbury was not put out of the Church for championing Russia, and his uncritical works (so thoroughly exposed in the Socialist Standard) are circulated by the million.

Moreover, the fact that one authority builds upon the theory of another (another point made by your contributor) does not invalidate his testimony. Sir Arthur Keith stood upon the shoulders of Darwin, but his testimony to the truth of evolution is no less valuable for that. Even Marx was indebted to his predecessors.

I scarcely think it necessary to dwell on Shaw’s remarks on Mallock. As a humorist, Shaw is at times superb, at others just a little tiresome. But surely no one takes him seriously on economic science. His criticism of Mallock is typical-—a man whose shoes, intellectually speaking, he was, in my opinion, never fit to clean.

The authorities I quoted gave reasons for their belief that Marx was wrong, but “H.” has not refuted them. In my opinion, their arguments cannot be disproved.

In his second article your contributor says, “Our critic obviously misunderstands the Marxian theory of value.” If this is so, I err in good company. After a careful, analysis of Marx’s teaching, Prof. Hearnshaw says : “The absurdity of the labour theory of value, stated thus succinctly, is so patent and so appalling that Marx himself was compelled to conceal its naked monstrosity by clouds of Hegelian vapour. He plays upon the word ‘commodity’ until it loses all recognisable features. He juggles with the word ‘labour’—abstract labour, concrete labour, skilled labour, unskilled labour, manual labour, mental labour, human labour, homogeneous labour, socially necessary labour, average labour, general labour, and so on indefinitely—-until the most devoted and most diligent Marxians (e.g,, Kautsky and Trotsky) tear one another to pieces in contradictory assertions as to what Marx means. ‘It is possible,’ said one despairing Socialist—and probably many more than one—’to prove anything from Marx.’ ”

I think my illustration of the fishing boat was quite appropriate, for if the Marxian teaching that rent, interest, and profit are three forms of robbery is true, it should apply not in certain cases but in all cases. The fact that modern industry is run on the joint stock principle does not alter the fact that capital so contributed is as necessary as labour in the production of wealth, and is entitled to an adequate (though not an excessive) return.

The way in which I see the matter is this : A ship requires £10,000 to build. I, as a worker, earn £200 per year—that is to say, I produce £200 worth of consumable goods and receive tickets in the form of money entitling me to draw upon the common store to that extent. I choose to spend only £100, however (that is to say, I draw upon the common store to the extent of only half of my contribution to it). The other half I hand to the directors or promoters of a joint stock company. This they pay, at least to the greater extent, in wages, which entitle the workers who receive them to draw upon, or consume, that half of the consumable goods I have produced but have refrained from claiming. The energy in these goods is converted into the energy of human labour, and the energy of human labour is converted eventually into a ship, since I am but one of 300 investors who act in a similar manner. My investment and the investment of my fellow-shareholders was as necessary as any other factor to the result. If we claim a share of the ship’s earnings (it may, to simplify the illustration, be regarded as a trawler), in what respect are we “robbing the workers?” It will not do to say that all transactions are not on such a clear cut basis. If the Marxian view is sound—if, as your contributor implied in his original article, labour is the only factor in production entitled to reward, it must be shown why this is so. And, as I have already said, this argument, should apply, not in one case, but in every ease.

My illustration of one book selling five times better than another—(I accept the amended version of your contributor, which puts the matter in an even clearer light)—I still consider valid, but considerations of space prevent my entering into a lengthy discussion of this. The example, however, serves to illustrate a further point brought out by almost every critic of Marx—namely, his disregard of demand as a determinant of value.

In conclusion; may I say just this : Quite by chance I came across a modern book by a political economist. “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy,” by J. A. Schumpeter, Professor of Economics in Harvard University (published by Allen & Unwin). Mindful of your contributor’s reproach that my authorities were not political economists (though some have spent as long as Marx in study of the subject), I looked up Professor Schumpeter’s view of the matter under discussion, and here it is : “Everybody knows that this theory of value is unsatisfactory” (page 23); “In any case it is dead and buried” (page 25).

But the theory forms the very cornerstone of the Marxian attack on capitalism. Without it, Marxism itself is dead !
Yours faithfully,
H. W. Henderson.

(Our critic’s first letter and our reply appeared in the November and December issues.)

The point has already been made that a dispute about economic theory cannot be settled by an appeal to authorities: if it could, Marx’s own statements are more weighty than those of his critics. The real test is that of experience. Our critic asks what professor of political economy in any university outside Russia endorses Marx’s theory of value. The arbitrary exclusion of Russian economists gives away our critic’s whole case. If economic authorities as such can decide the issue, then the Russian have as much authority as any others. It is a tacit admission by our critic that professors are liable to be influenced by those who control the universities and by the environment in which they make their living. Abundant evidence of this is given in Upton Sinclair’s ‘Goose-step,’ a study of the suppression of opinion in American universities. A typical incident among many is that of the professor who declined an invitation to address a student’s club on Marxian theories—he wanted to keep his job (p. 211). Incidentally, Sinclair quotes Laski on the way pressure makes university professors adopt reactionary ideas in order to get promotion, or makes them keep silent (p. 391). Quite recently (Daily Express, November 28, 1942) it was related how the late Sir Arnold Wilson found himself up against a conspiracy of silence at the universities about the ramifications of the insurance companies. Beveridge explained to him why the London School of Economics, “on grounds of expediency,” ignored the subject.

In addition to pressure, there are other reasons why economists reject Marx. One is that they pick up biased and incorrect views of what Marx’s theories actually are during their own training at universities. Another is that the atmosphere of social snobbery makes them reluctant to accept a theory which identifies their own “intellectual” labour with that of the working class.

Our critic, earlier quoted Laski against Marx. Since 1927, when Laski made that criticism, he has been moving more and more towards accepting Marx’s views, and in Reynolds News (March 7, 1943) he wrote:
“It is important to add that Marxism has never been more living than to-day; as the eminent American economist, Thorstein Veblen, said, his is the only socialism that really matters.”
Our critic says there is no branch of science in which all the authorities are agreed about everything. This may be true, but it follows that where they are disagreed the dispute cannot be settled by an appeal to authorities.

He quotes Sir Arthur Keith as one authority who builds upon the theory of another (Darwin). This has no bearing on our point about various anti-Marxian historians and others who simply passed on, parrot fashion, each other’s opinions about Marxian economics. Keith is himself an independent authority who claims that his anatomical experience and his original studies confirm Darwin’s main conclusions.

Our critic quotes Hearnshaw to show that if he errs he does so in good company. This may bring comfort to our critic, but if he persists in thinking that Marx claimed all labour as value-creating, despite Marx’s repeated statement that he was only referring to “socially necessary labour.” then fifty Hearnshaws won’t make it any different.

On the question of the operation of capitalist undertakings, our critic gives another example of what he thinks happens. We are asked to consider a worker who earns £200 a year (in return for his work which produces £200 worth of consumable goods), and who could draw the whole £200 from the common store, but actually saves £100 and invests it. In support of Ins claim that “capital … is as necessary as labour in the production of wealth,” our critic says, “If we claim a share of the ship’s earnings … in what respect are we robbing the workers?”

Here in a nutshell is the fallacy of the whole argument. Labour and capital are claimed to be equally necessary, yet on the basis of this principle of equal treatment our critic claims that the worker who puts in £200 (through his work) is entitled to draw out £200 and no more; while the investor who puts in £100 is entitled, not only to continue owning his £100 investment, but in addition is to receive “an adequate return.”

It may be asked, too, whence comes the “adequate return,” since, according to our critic, the workers get back as wages all that they producer As the investor, as such, produces nothing but merely allows the workers to use the means of production, and as inanimate capital itself obviously cannot add more than its own value to the product, our critic is asking us to accept the theory that there is no surplus value, yet out of this non-existent surplus the investor receives his profit. Actually it can only come from the unpaid labour of the workers. The workers are working, say, half their time to produce their own cost of subsistence (the value of their labour power, their wages), and the rest of the time to produce the surplus value the capitalist takes.

It should be added that under capitalism as it really is the great bulk of existing capital is not the result of current savings, most of it being inherited; still less is it the result of savings by workers. All their savings together do not and could not amount to more than a trifling part of the whole capital.

The capitalists as such are not producers, nor are they “savers” except in the technical sense that their income is greatly in excess of what they need to spend, and can spend, on their own consumption. They are monopolists who, through their control of the machinery of government, are able to exact toll in the form of surplus value on the wealth produced by the workers who operate the capitalist-owned means of production.

As a late after-thought, our critic charges Marx with disregarding demand as a determinant of value. It is quite unnecessary to go into that charge here, for it will be noticed that our critic likewise disregarded demand. When he explained that a worker produces value by his labour (“£200 worth of consumable goods”), he did so without mentioning this after-thought that not the worker but the demand produced the value.

Last of all, our critic asks us to consider Schumpeter’s opinion that “everybody knows that this theory of value is unsatisfactory,” and that “in any case, it is dead and buried.” They both protest too much. If it is dead and buried, and everybody knows it is unsatisfactory, why are Schumpeter and our critic so anxious to kill it again?
Edgar Hardcastle