Maoriland Worker, Rōrahi 12, Putanga 254, 14 Hakihea 1921, Page 1
1 s ;! By E. MA-DEN >
in in the first article of thi s series I outlined . the economic structure of society which is known as Guild Socialism, a system in which EVERT BRANCH OF INDUSTRY WOULD BE CARRIED ON BY AN ORGANISA, TION KNOWN AS A GUILD. THE NATIONAL OR LOCAL GUILD CONSIST OF ALL THE WORKERS (technical, professional, acmfnistrative and nanual —ALL the workers!) engaged in that particular branch of farming, mining, teaching, manufacturing, transport, retail distribution or other service. The Guild would be self-governing; but the aetaaj business management would tbft in the hands of a joint Board of /.•. Management consisting of (a) Repre- sen Natives of the workers, the rnem.b_ers of the Guild, and (b) Repre- of the other Guilds and the _*»if*Stual peopl e wn ° are being served — the Consumers or (to use a term which Is more generally understood) the customers and Customer-Guilds. --*. __ In my second article I indicated the . »»method of socialising which I believe .0 be ihe quickest and best one pos„ - sible in New Zealand. I defined the term INVESTED CAPITAL AS . WEARING- "PROPERTY WHICH CONFERS UPON ITS OWNERS *A ,-: r - XEGAL V RIGHT TO ' OBTAIN .UN- H'.f£NEb INCOME"; and tiwm. 1 sun£r* ;44*-llt-»jk, MAY BB r EFFECTED*BY AEOLKfl..** OV A7.L INHERITANCE OF INVESTED CAPITAL. In other words,'not ne- because we recognise the justice of their claim, but simply as a matter of expediency, that we shcn.icf allow those who are now receiving unearned incomes (tx-rst. interest and dividends) to continue to receive them during their own lifetime —but tliat on the death of each registered holder of 'Invested Capital, his holding should lapse. This would not affect the inheritance of personal property which is not used as * means of exploitation—the house which a man owns and which he actually lives in himself; the piece of land which he himself is farming; big furniture, book:-', bicycle and so forth. It would apply—l cannot i state the fact too plainly or too often, for the other side is bound to misrepresent it! —it would apply only to "property which confers upon its owner the legal right to obtain unearned income." * And even in that case, I would allow the iaps c to be postponed during the widowhood of a dependent widow or during the minority of dependent children.
Mow It Would Operate
In the present economic system of New Zealand we have five principal kinds of ownership and organisation. Let us see how each of these would he affected by the Abolition of Inner- j itance of Invested Capital, and how in each case a national or local Guild would evolve. First there is the Joint Stock (Limited) Company. Most of our industries and services (except the State service and farming) are carried on by Limited Companies; and th e conversion of a Limited Company into a Guild is—given the Abolition of Inheritance of all Invested' Capita —a very simple matter. In mining, shipping, manufacturing and other companies, the conts-ol !g exercised by a Board of Directors elected by the shareholders. We want the control to be exercised by a Board of iWjanagement elected jointly by the workers and by the consumers (customers), and it will be as easy for them to elect a Board as it is for the shareholders to do so now. The workers will elect their own representatives through their own the customer- Guilds can elect theirs at an annual meeting (corresponding with the present shareholders' meeting) at which they will have voting-power according to the various amounts they have taken of the products of the "firm."; As for th e present shareholders^—chey' Will "die off," and that will be the end: $f Sheml [While they live they should^
|'be treated as debenture holders are j treated now—that is, as secured credj itors of tlg "firm." Two other (points! First, as regards the workj ers* members- of the Board, I think ,' that _ne at least should be the special' ' ] representative of th e technical staff. ! Second, the conversion of the Comi ponies into local or national Guilds i would afterwards he accomplished as i rapidly as possible, but it ■would be I only a. matter of amalgamation and j re-organisation. Another kind of undertaking is that lof a State Department— such as the I Railway, Post Office and "Public ! Works/ The conversion of this into j a Guild would be even simpler than I i.hfit of the Limited Company. A Labor Government, for instance, would !.and the railways over to a Railway Gutltl to-morrow. The railwaymen's organisation could easily be extended Lo include the rest of the railway workers —technical, administrative, etc. —and otherwise adapted to its new functions. The Guild could then at once proceed to elect its half of the Board of Management, and the railway users theirs. Thirdly, there are the Farmers' Cooperative Societies. Now in so far as these Societies consist of work, ing fanners, they are obviously air [.most ripe for conversion into Guilds, j The. Railway Guild will consist of the j railway workers; arid ' tie various I Famiing Guilds will consist % ot the I working farmers. I do not , know enough about* the matter to take p#rt in the controversy between those who believe in large-scale farming and those who believe-in co-operative groups of one-man and family farms, in New Zealand, however, we seem, for better or worse, to be committed to the latter system; and undoubtedly It is out of th e Co-operative Society of working farmers that the Farming Guild will develop. And while on this subject, let mc beg my comrades who are wage-workers in the towns and mining centres to realise that they are not the only workers in New Zealand. Apart from the technical and administrative workers, there are th e working farmers; and although they are not yet class-conscious (thanks largely to our own folly in antagonising them) they constitute one of th e most important sections of the workers of this country. We must realise that ourselves, and we must make them realise it. We need the working farmer s to convert their Co-operative j Societies' into Farming Guilds; and j they, like all the rest of the workers, have everything to gain by the abolition of all "legal rights to obtain 'unearned incomes" and by the commg of Guild Socialism. The big farmer-owner. is, however, another kind of person. Unlike the : small working farmer, he lives on j "unearned income"; he is an exploit- j of labor. Well —he'll die, and his property which is of use to Mm only because "it confers upon its owner r.!> e legal right to obtain unearned income" will lapse to the community.
The last and most difßealt case I s that of the small business man, the part-worker, part-«_aployer, owner of a retail* shop or tbe like. It will be necessary for the local distributive services to be carried on eventually by local Guilds; and these local Distributive Guilds will be controlled jointly by the workers' and the J I customers' representatives. The I ideal .vf&y for ihese to be built up jis through (Customers) Co-operative ■ j Stores; but we in New Zealand are ! v*-ery backward with these. The j most practicable plan seems to be I 'a) The use ol "Company' shops— i which will be converted like other i Companies—as the basis for developjment and for the amalgamation of i smaller businesses; and (b) The development o_ municipal undertakjings. to be subsequently treated in j the same way as the undertakings of ' the State —that is, handed over to workers' and customers' ioiut control. • Mow If Can Be Accomplished I realise that these changes can be made only through the medium ' of Parliament; but it would be absurd to concentrate or. political action and ignor c the necessity ol preparing the industrial organisations j ! for their part in the great work. • Each will have its own '"job" to do &KG neither can »ucceed without the effective co-operation of the ©titer. Nor do I for one moment imagine that tbe change can be made by "tbe j industrial wage-workers acting alone, j ~.i can be accomplished only with the j. goodwill and support of the working farmers and of the "salaried." work- : ers, both technical and adminjst«.- j live. But I am convinced that, given ■ sustained and intensive propaganda, j the support of these other sections of j tbQ true working class Qaii be sc- j cured in a very short space.of time, j The keystone of it ail is this: THE ABOLITION OF ALL INHERITANCE OF SUCH PROPERTY AS CONFERS jIIPON ITS OWNER THE LEGAL (RIGHT TO' OBTAIN UNEARNED j INCOME IN RESPECT OF IT. Put [simply and straightforwardly and i definitely like that, I believe that even now a majority of the people would support it.