Sunday, March 03, 2024

Who will man the lifeboats?


Royal National Lifeboat Institution: ‘Founded in 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, it soon afterwards became the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck under the patronage of King George IV. On 5 October 1854, the institution’s name was changed to its current name (RNLI), and in 1860 was granted a royal charter.Wiki

The Charity Commission’s RNLI report for end of 2022 has 2405 Employee(s), 14 Trustee(s) and 209892 Volunteer(s) involved in the organisation which had an income of almost two hundred and thirty million pounds.

The MailOnline, 3 March, has a headline story detailing dissatisfaction in the ranks of the RNLI. It’s a little he said, she said, but it could be read as a dispute between workers and bosses.

To those who say that without a financial incentive no one will want to ‘work’ in a Socialist society the evidence overwhelmingly disproves that assertion. Within the capitalist system their are millions of volunteers displaying their altruist nature. Manning lifeboats to save lives at sea is one of the more dangerous volunteer activities yet there are many who are prepared to do so.

From the Socialist Standard, February 1982 Who will do the dangerous work?

‘This is a question often asked when we explain that in socialist society the principle "from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his/her needs" will apply. In other words, that people will voluntarily contribute in terms of work what they can in order to produce the abundance of wealth to which they will then have free access according to their individual needs (of which they themselves will be the sole judge).

The assumption behind the "dirty work" objection is that if work were voluntary nobody would choose to do the hard, the dangerous, the boring or the messy work because this would be "against human nature". We don't want to go here into all the scientific arguments which show that there is nothing in the nature of the animal homo sapiens that would prevent them living in a socialist society; quite the reverse in fact, human beings are animals which have evolved and survived only through their capacity to co-operate. All we will do is draw attention to the fact that the objection is not valid even for all work under capitalism.

Work under capitalism mostly takes the form of employment—that is, work for an employer, under his control and for his profit, and it is therefore not surprising that most people consider "work" to be something unpleasant, to be avoided as much as possible. But when it comes to exercising their mental and physical energies—which is equally "working"—in their own time, as in digging their gardens, pursuing their hobbies and the like, it is a different matter. Because people enjoy this kind of work, many are not even prepared to consider such activities as work, to such an extent has capitalism associated work with work for an employer! Socialism, which will abolish employment, will also abolish this false distinction between "work " (unpleasant) and "play" (pleasant), People will be able to organise the necessary productive work in such away that everybody will be able to derive satisfaction from doing it. 

But what about the dirty work? Well, as the Penlee lifeboat disaster recently showed, even under capitalism people can be found to undertake work of the most dangerous kind voluntarily. These lifeboatmen were all volunteers to do a job they knew to be socially necessary. Despite the fuss they made of the disaster, the capitalist class were unable to understand this. "£3 for a start, then, £1 an hour—the price of lifeboat courage" headlined the Daily Telegraph (21/12/81) with the suggestion that lifeboatmen were not being paid enough. But, as any of the lifeboatmen could have told them, this was not the point; money (expenses) was not the motive. In fact, one RNLI official was quoted as saying "some do not bother to claim it".

Then why do they do it, why do they voluntarily undertake such dangerous, dirty work? Why could more than enough volunteers be found from the same village to replace the eight men who died? Because, as we have said, they were aware that there was a socially necessary job to be done. If this can happen under capitalism where the cash nexus has corrupted nearly everything, how can it be imagined that in socialism there will be any problem to find people to undertake any "dirty" jobs that cannot be automated?’

Adam Buick

1 comment:

Xhoug said...

Re: "human beings are animals which have evolved and survived only through their capacity to co-operate"

Yes, but co-operate as WHAT? Certainly NOT as homo sapiens, ie WISE humans, but as INSANE humans ....

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” --- Dresden James

Once you understand that humans are "invisibly" insane (pink elephant people, see cited essay) you'll UNDERSTAND (well, perhaps) why they, especially their alleged experts, perpetually come up with myths and lies about everything ... including about themselves (their nature, their intelligence, their origins, their "supreme" status, etc).