- What does Nationalisation of Industry, etc. mean?
- Will this prosper better than private owner-ship?
- The Railways, Coal Mines, Iron and steel, the Land.
- What have experiments in Great Britain shown?
The science of Economics deals with rules and systems of wealth, production, and losses in business, and the standards of living which people attain. There are two theories which have been opposing each other for a long time; private ownership versus nationalisation. Under private ownership, as seen mainly in America, private men and firms are allowed to own railway compaines, coal mines, iron works, cotton mills, and private individuals are allowed to own land and work it for a living and for profit. Opponents of this say that those things should not be worked by private persons for profit. They describe this as “Capitalism” and say that, under it, owners become rich and workers are kept working for small wages and remain poor. They say that all should belong to the nation, and that factories, coal and iron, and everything which the country produces, should be worked by the government. Here we have a complete difference of opinion.
In Russia, there is practically no private ownership now. All things belong to the State and are worked by government inspectors and managers. In Great Britain, there was much private ownership until the beginning of the present century. Now the Labour government has taken the railways from the private owners, also the coal mines and the transport companies, and paid them compensation .The Conservatives say that private ownership produces better results. In the case of railways, they say that when they were owned by private companies, they had to compete with each other and offer the best terms possible to the public. Thus the company which offered the cheapest fares and the most comfortable carriages got the business of carrying people. When all is nationalised, there is no competition, and there are many inspectors and managers who are paid high salaries as government inspectors. Government inspectors do not care about pleasing the public; their only interest is to serve the government.
Since the British railways and coal minės passed under State ownership, the cost of railway travel and of coal has more than doubled. As there is no competition, coal mines do not care whether the public are pleased or not, but send out very bad coal which the public have to buy, and which the private owner would not have dared to offer them. Since they now work for government, the miners and railway workers have become very independent. They need not fear dismissal or any kind of discipline, and so they have frequent strikes on very trivial grounds. The industries under the State have not helped the people who want to travel and those who workers in the coal mines and the railways have gained more wages. and shorter hours of labour, but the general public have to pay for this. But the steel industry, which has not been nationalisted and continues to be under private owners, is efficient and able to show : better results. It is obvious that in the British experiment, the workers have gained but the consumers and users, the general public, have lost. heavily.
This need not mean that State control is always wrong. It does mean that any plans for a nation’s industries must take into consideration the good of all, and only of the labouring classes. All those problems have to be settled in other countries as well. If the State does decide to manage the production of coal and iron the transport and the land, then they must work out a scheme which will benefit all the nation. What the British experiment has shown is that good private ownership is better than inefficient and unbusiness-like State control.have to use coal. The