Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Fairy Tales of the Future (Short Story 1943)


A Short Story from the May 1943 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Story of Exploitation
Once upon a time there lived in the society of men in the land of Britain a gentleman named Lord Dodo, who was well known and renowned for his prodigal generosity, and in consequence men paid heed to his words and deeds and courted his presence. Fairy Inquisitive asked, “How is it, when there are so many men so poor in society, you are able to be so munificently generous?" The Noble Plutocrat replied, amiably: "What I have done, other men can do; it only needs the talents—Industry, Initiative, Ability and Patience, and to believe in tile Great Institution of Private Property/' A little proly, who heard, wondered and pondered on this and thought, "What a good thing it would be if I could be as he." And as he mused, along came Fairy Understanding. Fairy Understanding, who was an honest little chap, said to proly, "I can't understand without facts, and so you won't understand without them." Proly eagerly cried, "What can I do to get facts?" Understanding answered, "You must search and inquire in the books of men." He and Understanding began the search. After much toil and effort, they came to "Das Kapital," and as proly read with understanding, he murmured, "I have the Key and Facts and Understanding. It is so simple. The workers present themselves to the Noble Lord's Agents, who estimate their skill and potential capacity to do work, and who tell the workers when, where, and as to the conditions they may work under. They have sold their labour-power. In due course they present themselves in the work compound. All times of beginning and, stopping work are carefully recorded. They proceed to spend their mental and physical energy on the materials supplied by the noble Lord, who does not pay for the time spent in feeding, or the food absorbed, in an interval allowed for the purpose, although it is needed to sustain their energy. They cease work, go home, indulge in meals, sleep and recreation to keep them fit. Next morning they are ready for another day of toil. At the end of the week they are paid, not the value of what they have produced, but what it costs to keep themselves and their families for a week—that is the value of their labour- power. This value is less than the value it produces during a week of work. The Noble Lord sells the product of a week's labour at its value, and deducts from the cash he receives. The remainder he keeps as unpaid labour or profits." Proly stopped, then he cried, “There' is a word for it—exploitation—and it is very ugly." But Understanding said, "You forget Facts and the facts are these; he and others have Right, Privilege, Precedence and Legality, and he is an honest, upright and generous individual." "What can I do to alter these things?" said Proly, and Understanding replied, "To change society you must gather the prolys together. When they understand the need for change and when there is a majority of prolys united for the common purpose of overthrowing the Private Property Institution and securing the Common Ownership, they will capture the Wizard of Might (political power) and build society so that the insidiousness of exploitation wilt be no more."

And in time Fairies Fact and Understanding and the prolys came together, abolished the Private Property Institution, secured the Common Ownership, and so we today are free from exploitation and we work only to supply our needs. Web.

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