SOCIALISM LOOKS FORWARD by John Strachey

SOCIALISM LOOKS FORWARD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A famous Englist economist oversimplifies the place of socialism in England today. I think he could have been more concrete in his illustrations, and more profound in his main thesis -- and he would have had a better book. One has the feeling that he is talking down to his readers -- ""elementary, my dear Watson"" flavor, as he discusses in ABC terms the three classes of society, -- those who work for wages, those who work for themselves because they haven't enough capital to hire others, and those who have the capital to pay others to do the work. He uses round figures to arrive at the conclusion that 6% own 80% of the wealth -- one tenth of Britain's population. War production has proved that the measure of peace production is limited only by the reluctance of capital to yield jot or tittle, to pay more than necessary. What keeps wages down -- what capital gets out of it -- and the human consequences. He grants that wage workers have more -- through the pressure of Unions -- than formerly, that living conditions are improved, but he shows that the amount of wealth produced per worker does not mean profit to the worker. With an insufficient market at home -- with pressure exporting -- imperialism -- wars -- the answer does not lie in high wages because they cut profit. Then he goes on to Part II -- Socialism in the place of a decadent economic system, the hows, whens, and whys -- the answers to a few of the questions as to what a Socialist government in England would do in regard to private property, gradations of earning in relation to contribution, etc. There's meat here, but he doesn't go far enough, nor deep enough; he is satisfied that glib generalities will serve his purpose; he leaves many questions unanswered. And at no point can the reader determine when this book was written -- or whether he is presenting the viewpoint of England's new government or some other phase of Socialism.

Publisher: Philosophical Library