What Can Socialism Do About Unemployment?


What Can Socialism Do About Unemployment?
Published by the De Leonist Society of Canada

Capitalism has demonstrated its inability to cope with the problem of unemployment except when it is engaged in a stupendous war. Today this ghastly solution is no longer feasible since a full-scale war today would be a nuclear war that would result in the end of everything. In peacetime, capitalism cannot prevent mass unemployment. It cannot prevent the so-called labor-saving machine from being, in reality, a labor-displacing machine. As a result, the extension of robotics is wiping out jobs at an amazing rate and creating a growing army of millions of permanently unemployed.

But under Socialism there will be no unemployment problem. Since, instead of being owned privately and operated to produce things for sale and profit, the industries will be owned collectively by all the useful producers, and operated to produce things for use, there will be no such thing as involuntary idleness.

Instead of kicking workers out of the industries, robotics will enable us to shorten the work day, work week, and work year, while at the same time it will vastly increase the basis for material well-being. Technological progress will no longer be something for workers to fear, but an unqualified blessing that will insure abundance and leisure for all with a minimum of toil by each.

Nor can there be depressions under Socialism. Production for use, combined with a system under which workers will receive, directly and indirectly, all that they produce, will end forever the social idiocy of want in the midst of plenty.